1. Brown rice patties from "Beauty that Moves." I can imagine these with a great big crunchy salad, or on top of a big bowl of Cuban red beans, or even as a quickie breakfast on the run! Delicious. Made them today, and they're so simple -- crunchy on the outside and warm and almost creamy inside! You could seriously do a hundred variations on these. Roasted garlic with some finely chopped greens. Minced jalapeno and cumin seeds with some cheddar. Shredded apples with the shredded carrot and onion. And on and on!
2. Black bean burgers from allrecipes.com. I made these yesterday (a HUGE batch, from dry beans that I cooked in the Crockie, natch) and froze them. Great for lunches. My little tip -- lightly dust with a mix of cornmeal and flour before you fry these up, and you'll avoid the dreaded Disintegrating Veggie Burger Syndrome.
3. Snobby Joes from "Happy Foody." One of my new favorite food blogs -- this is one awesome vegan, dreadlock-sporting, natural-living Christian mama! Snobby Joes are a vegan variation on sloppy joes, obviously -- made of lentils of all things! This is on the list for this week.
You might notice something about these three recipes. They're all vegetarian! Why? Well, first of all, everyone is feeling the economic pinch these days, and one of the quickest ways to alleviate that pinch is to reduce the amount of meat you consume. Just think of how much money you'd save if you cut out meat, which usually costs between $4 and $10 per pound, from your weeknight meals and substituted whole grains, fresh vegetables, eggs, and legumes, like the recipes above!
Secondly, we in the U.S.just eat way too much meat. We're eating from preference and habit, not need. Did any of y’all ever read the "Little House" books? At one point, Pa says to Ma that one of his goals with farming is to get to the point where they can eat beef once a week. Once a week! And we don’t even have to go back that far to see how much our diets have changed! My grandmother could stretch a pound of hamburger into four meals for four people! But nowadays, most of us eat WAY more (mostly meat-based) protein than we need, while failing to get enough health-boosting fiber, vegetables, and fruit. So, for the sake of health, it would be wise to eat less meat so that we can eat more whole grains, vegetables and fruit, right? Right.
And for the sake of space, I won’t even get into the discussion of how factory farming impacts God’s creation. Suffice it to say, growing plants uses much less of the resources of the land than huge feed lots do. If you’d like more info on this aspect of reducing meat consumption, check out THIS great article, from The Baptist Standard, of all places.
Give it a try, will ya? I'm not saying y'all need to become vegans, like, this week or whatever. But why not replace meat with beans or veggies or whole grains just one meal a week? Wherever you are with meat consumption, take just one step toward a more plant-based diet. Your body, and your wallet, will thank you.