food

Meet Meat-Free Monday

Rice Paper Rolls Image by @ninabarwald

Mondays can be a struggle for the best of us, mourning another weekend gone by full of delicious food, great company and quality sleep-ins. Keeping well-fed and energised throughout the work day is the best thing you can do for your body in preparation for another week of getting it done, like a boss. Why not make Mondays an opportunity to try something new while nourishing your body and doing your part for the environment?

Meat-Free Monday was originally set up as a not-for-profit initiative by Paul McCartney himself, along with two of his daughters, Stella and Mary. It aims to bring awareness to the effects of high meat consumption and the benefits of eating more plants. However, the concept of eating only vegetarian meals each Monday is now being adopted by the wider population, as ordinary people become more conscious of their health and their environmental footprint.

Going meat-free for just one day a week can have a bigger positive impact on the environment than you would think, but it’s also a great way to incorporate more veggies into your diet! Changing it up once a week and giving plants the starring role in your meals can bring all sorts of health benefits. It’s not all just about salads for breakfast, lunch and dinner either. A balanced vegetarian meal can be just as satisfying as your favourite chicken, beef or fish dish, and can be a great opportunity to get a little creative in the kitchen.

Plants are superfoods in themselves, packed with a healthy balance of necessary vitamins, minerals and nutrients. We are so lucky here in Australia to have access to an abundance of fresh produce, making it so easy to create flavoursome and nutritious vegetarian meals, without having to break the bank either. Roast some sweet potato for some filling carbohydrates, add spinach for iron, and beans/lentils to meet your protein needs. Avocados, nuts and seeds are also a great addition to any meal and are filled with ‘good’ fats.

And remember the number one rule to any veggie dish – keep it colourful!


Quesadillas Image by @ninabarwald

Sweet Potato Quesadillas

We love this recipe from Melbourne foodie @ninabarwald – a veggie twist on a Mexican favourite! Make as many as you like and pop them in the sandwich press for a simple lunch or mid-afternoon snack.

Ingredients
3 tortillas (see note)
1 medium/large sweet potato
1 medium avocado
1/2 can chickpeas
Handful of spinach
Squeeze of lemon juice
Nutritional yeast and Sea Salt to season

Method

  1. Place sweet potato in an oven and roast whole for 45 mins until soft inside. Once cooked, roughly chop it into chunks.
  2. While sweet potato is baking, mash avocado and chickpeas together until roughly mashed. Season with lemon juice and sea salt.
  3. To assemble, spread some sweet potato over half of the tortilla and season with nooch (nutritional yeast), then top with avocado and chickpea mash and spinach leaves. Fold the empty half of the tortilla over the filling so it’s like a sandwich, and cook for 1 minute in a flat sandwich press (if you don’t have one, you can dry fry it in a stovetop pan on both sides.

Enjoy!!

Note: I used medium sized tortillas (18cm diameter). If you buy the large ones, the ingredients will make about 1-2 quesadillas.

The possibilities of plants are endless, so don’t be afraid to experiment, get energised and give Monday-itis the boot! To learn more about the Meat-Free Monday initiative, visit the official website. For more delicious vegan recipes (including a mouth-watering Rainbow Buddha Bowl), visit Nina’s blog here.