Why go meatless?
You don't have to go cold turkey (pun intended) but alternating in a few vegetarian meals a week will improve your overall health and reduce your carbon footprint!
A vegetarian diet is associated with a decreased risk in chronic diseases, specifically our nation's top killer, heart disease. Red meat and processed meat contain high levels of saturated fat which raises our LDL cholesterol (our bad cholesterol). When we consume less meat, not only are we reducing our intake of LDL cholesterol, we often replace them with foods rich in fiber, vitamins and minerals! This also contributes to decreased blood pressure and lower levels of obesity!
Swapping out meat for plant-based meals means less energy and water is required to produce your food. According to the Food and Agricultural Organization, livestock contributes to 18% of greenhouse gas emissions!! Plant sources of protein are much more eco-friendly with a significantly lower footprint!
Protein rich alternatives include beans, lentils, peas, seeds, nuts, peanut butter and whole grains such as quinoa and amaranth. Here's a helpful diagram of how to create a balanced, vegetarian meal.
The benefits speak for themselves! Try going meatless with eco-friendly, meat-free alternatives such as these Cannellini Mushroom Meatless Balls!
Yields 4-6 servings
15 oz white Cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup button mushrooms, chopped
3/4 cup whole wheat breadcrumbs
3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
2 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
salt and pepper to taste
1. Preheat oven to 375 and line 1 large baking sheet with parchment paper
2. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat and sauté onion until translucent (about 5 minutes)
3. During the last two minutes of cooking, add mushrooms and garlic. Cook until tender
4. Add your oregano, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper
5. Add your Cannellini beans and lemon juice
6. Transfer to your blender and pulse for 10-15 seconds
7. Pour in 1/2 cup of your whole wheat breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese and parsley and pulse together
8. Pour remaining breadcrumbs into a small bowl and season with salt and pepper
9. Use a spoon to form small "meatballs" and then roll them into your breadcrumbs before placing them on your baking sheet
10. Bake for 30 minutes
11. Remove tray and bake for another 15-20 minutes
12. Remove from oven and serve with your favorite pasta!