Food / 26.09.2015

7 ways to boost your Meatless Monday dinner

By Roisin Dervish-O'Kane
Break out of the meat-and-two-veg formula, things are about to get interesting

MeatFreeMonday_forwebCutting back on meat is good for your health, wallet, and the planet. It can be damn tasty too. Get creative with our tasty food swaps – satisfying, delicious and 100 per cent meat-free

Veggies: they’ve never been bigger (metaphorically speaking). Even former carnivorous types like Beyoncé and Jennifer Lopez are taking up the ‘vegan lifestyle’ trend that’s currently sweeping Hollywood.

Across the English Channel, French chef Alain Ducasse (the man with the most Michelin stars, ever) has ditched the foie gras and re-opened his restaurant that the luxury Plaza Athénée hotel with a largely meat-free menu. What better proof that less mince doesn’t have to mean mung beans or strange reconstituted proteins!

The best bit about new rules of plant-based eating is that they allow the occasional Sunday morning bacon sandwich as part of a healthy diet, based primarily around vegetables. It’s about cutting down, not out – and making the most of the green stuff. Get involved at the start of every week a with a plant based Meatless Monday supper. Stuck for inspiration? Read on.

1. Crack out the nuts

Add nuts or seeds to make salads more filling and nutritious. Try toasted walnuts with tomatoes or blue cheese; toasted pine nuts with spinach; and pomegranate seeds and hazelnuts with a mix of salad leaves or beetroot.

Read more: Clean and lean vegan fennel, cress and blood orange salad recipe

2. Get savvy with seasons and textures

Experiment with unusual and seasonal ingredients. Try finely slicing radishes or fennel for crunch; shaving ribbons of raw courgette to serve with flakes of Parmesan and extra virgin olive oil; and adding thin wedges of citrus fruits such as grapefruit (delicious with avocado) or orange.

3. Indulge your cheese cravings

Use cheese as a dressing. Crumble feta into a little olive oil and whisk; melt a nugget of goat’s cheese with a few tablespoons of oil; or just crumble a smidgen of stilton or gorgonzola on top. You won’t need a lot to get flavour.

4. Try a spoonful of yoghurt

Use yoghurt to add zing to savoury dishes. Stir in some crushed garlic and dollop on top of a rice pilaf made with chickpeas, frozen beans, pine nuts, sliced spring onions and parsley.

5. Pick up some smoky spices

Smoked paprika will add a rich smokiness to anything from squash stews to poached eggs on toast. Variety is the spice of life, after all.

6. Get your miso on

Add a teaspoon of miso paste to soups and sauces for flavour; stock up on sumac (a deep red, lemony spice), harissa (a fragrant blend of chillies and spices), fresh chillies, ginger, lemongrass and garlic, and use them to perk up salads, noodles, stir-fries and wraps.

Read more: Why fermented foods are one healthy eating trend worth following

7. Freshen things up with healthy herbs

Add fresh herbs like dill, basil and coriander at the end of cooking for a fresh flavour, or thyme, sage and rosemary to give roast vegetables an earthy depth. Herbs are packed full of health benefits too, so experiment to find your favourite flavour.

Got a great veggie recipe you’d like to share? Tweet us @healthymag or post your pics on Instagram – we’re at @healthymagdaily

7 ways to boost your Meatless Monday dinner
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7 ways to boost your Meatless Monday dinner
Cutting back on meat is good for your health, wallet, and the planet. Find out our great ideas for doing Meatless Monday easily and deliciously.
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