Green Mary News: The environmental benefits of eating vegetarian and vegan meals

An increasing number of people are embracing a vegetarian and vegan diet. With over three million vegetarians in the UK today, vegetarians (people who don’t eat meat) and vegans (people who don’t eat or use animal products) are becoming increasingly common in UK culture.

Apart from being beneficial for our health and animal welfare, going vegetarian or vegan is one of the easiest ways to save our planet. By going vegetarian we can reduce the impact of climate change, rainforest destruction and pollution, while saving water and other scarce resources.

Switching to a vegan diet can reduce your carbon emissions by 50 per cent. Animal agriculture is a huge contributor to climate change; raising animals for meat and dairy creates more carbon emissions than all transportation in the world combined. Cattle digestion and fertilisation of soil produces methane and nitrous oxide, both very powerful greenhouse gases. In addition, a staggering 30 per cent of the Earth’s land is used for raising animals, often contributing to deforestation. Eating vegan meals could save our precious rainforests and free up land to grow fruits and veggies. Furthermore, most of the grain we grow is fed to farmed animals – imagine how many people we could feed if we all went vegan.

Going vegan also saves water, a precious resource. Soy protein is an alternative to beef and takes 15 times less water to produce. Soy protein also requires 13 per cent less fossil fuel to produce than beef. Soy protein provides your body with the same amount of nutrition but uses less than half the resources to produce. Imagine that!

Whether you’re looking to improve your health, protect innocent animals or stop the horrific effects of climate change, there is no better choice than adopting a delicious vegan diet. It can be challenging to go fully vegan, so to start with, you could try going vegan for three days a week or reducing on meat/dairy consumption – baby steps.

Take a look at some of these vegan recipes to start your journey.

 

Recipe 1: Vegan tomato and mushroom pancakes

You can’t beat pancakes for brunch. Try making these as a dairy-free dessert with sliced banana, pecans and vegan ice cream.

Prep time:  5 MINS

Cook time: 30 MINS

Difficulty: Easy

Serves: Two

Ingredients

  • 140g white self-raising flour
  • 1 tsp soya flour
  • 400ml soya milk
  • vegetable oil, for frying

For the topping

  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 250g button mushrooms
  • 250g cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2 tbsp soya cream or soya milk
  • large handful pine nuts
  • Snipped chives, to serve

 

Method

  1. Sift the flours and a pinch of salt into a blender. Add the soya milk and blend to make a smooth batter.
  2. Heat a little oil in a medium non-stick frying pan until very hot. Pour about 3 tbsp of the batter into the pan and cook over a medium heat until bubbles appear on the surface of the pancake. Flip the pancake over with a palette knife and cook the other side until golden brown. Repeat with the remaining batter, keeping the cooked pancakes warm as you go. You will make about 8.
  3. For the topping, heat the oil in a frying pan. Cook the mushrooms until tender, add the tomatoes and cook for a couple of mins. Pour in the soya cream or milk and pine nuts, then gently cook until combined. Divide the pancakes between 2 plates, then spoon over the tomatoes and mushrooms. Scatter with chives.

 

vegan blog 1

Source: BBC Good Food

  

Recipe 2- Mexican Tempeh Quinoa Salad

 Spice up your quinoa salad routine with a Mexican tempeh quinoa salad. At only 350 calories and 17 grams of protein, this filling vegan salad is a winner.

Prep Time: 10 MINS

Cook Time: 35 MINS

Difficulty: Easy

Serves: Four

Ingredients

  • 170 grams quinoa
    480 ml water
    1 tablespoon olive oil
    1/2 onion, chopped
    1 red pepper, diced
    1 (225 gram) package tempeh, diced into bite-size pieces
    260 grams salsa
    Juice from one lime
    1 teaspoon cumin
    1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    1/4 teaspoon pepper
    1 (420 gram) can black beans, drained and rinsed
    175 grams fresh corn (or frozen)
    85 grams cherry tomatoes, halved
    2 tablespoons fresh cilantro
    Salt and pepper, to taste
    1 avocado, diced
  • Method
  1. Place the quinoa and water in a covered pot on high heat. Once it starts to boil, reduce to simmer and cook for 20 minutes or until the water is absorbed and the quinoa is fluffy.
  2. While the quinoa is cooking, prepare the tempeh. Heat the oil in a pan on medium heat, and add the chopped onion. Cook for 5 minutes.
  3. Add the diced red pepper, tempeh, salsa, lime juice, cumin, cayenne pepper, and salt and pepper.
  4. Cook the tempeh mixture, stirring occasionally, for about 15 minutes.
  5. Once the quinoa and tempeh are cooked, pour both into a glass bowl and mix together. Add the beans, corn, tomatoes, cilantro, and a little salt and pepper, and mix well. Serve and top with a few pieces of diced avocado.

vegan blog 2

Source: Popsugar Fitness

 

Recipe 3 – Vegetable vegan biriyani

A meat and dairy-free, Indian-inspired basmati rice dish with cauliflower, French beans, peas, potatoes and homemade curry paste.

Prep Time: 30 MINS

Cook Time: 40 MINS

Difficulty: Easy

Serves: Six

Ingredients

  • 400g basmati rice
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 2 potato, cut into chunks
  • 100g red lentil
  • 100g French bean, trimmed and cut in half
  • handful curry leaves
  • 2 handfuls frozen pea
  • small bunch coriander
  • 50g roasted cashew nuts, roughly chopped
  • poppadoms and naan bread, to serve

For the paste

  • 1 large onion
  • roughly chopped
  • large piece ginger
  • roughly chopped
  • 5 garlic clove
  • 2 tsp curry powder
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 small green chilli

 Method

  1. Soak the rice for 30 mins, then rinse in several changes of water until it runs clear. Cover with about 1 cm water, add the saffron (if using), cover the pan, bring to the boil, stir once, then turn off the heat. Leave for 10 mins, covered, then stir again and leave to stand, covered.
  2. To make the paste, blitz all the ingredients together in a food processor. Heat the oil in a saucepan. Tip in the paste, then add the cauliflower and potatoes. Cook in the paste to colour, then add the lentils and green beans, and cover with about 400ml water. Add the curry leaves, season with salt, cover with a lid and simmer for 20 mins until the lentils and vegetables are tender Add the peas for the last 2 mins to defrost. Stir the rice through the curry until completely mixed and hot, then spoon onto a platter and scatter with coriander and cashews.
  3. Serve the biryani on a large platter with poppadoms for vegans and naan bread for the vegetarians.

vegan blog 3

Source: BBC Good Food

 

 

Written by Kajal Kumar, Student Communications Intern (ECO-mmunicators)

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3 Comments Add yours

  1. I am a proud vegetarian!!:)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Kerry Horvath says:

      Amazing, do you have any meal hints and tips?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. What kind of hints and tips are you looking forward to dear Kerry? I will be happy to help

        Like

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