If Meatless Monday is a something you’ve never heard of, it’s an international campaign that encourages people to not eat meat on Mondays to improve their health and the health of the planet. Before you run away – it’s just one day. You don’t have to become a full-time vegetarian, or give up the bacon in your life. I promise. However, there are some crazy health benefits when you do this regularly, plus it helps out the environment.

Health:

The Meatless Monday website goes into more depth about this, but going meatless once a week may reduce your risk of chronic preventable conditions like cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and obesity.

And if you’re worried about protein – don’t. We all kinda need to start eating less meat in general, so going meatless one day out of the week gives you the opportunity to explore plant-based protein like beans and peas, or add more greens such as spinach and kale to your diet.

Environment:

Going meatless once a week can also help reduce our carbon footprint and save precious resources like fossil fuels and fresh water. Let me hit you with a couple quick facts:

    - Approximately 1,850 gallons of water are needed to produce a single pound of beef.
    - Only 39 gallons are needed to produce a pound of vegetables.

     

    Crazy. Also, the meat industry uses so much energy to produce grain for livestock that if we used the grain to feed people following a vegetarian diet instead, it would be enough to feed about 840 million people. So even if you don’t take on a full-vegetarian diet, doing Meatless Monday would still be enough to make a change.

    If that’s not enough to persuade you, Paul McCartney does it.

    On board yet? Here are a few recipes to try out tonight:


    Meatless Stuffed Peppers:

    Ingredients:

    - 4 bell peppers – pick any color
    - 1 TB butter or olive oil
    - ½ cup onion, diced
    - 2 cloves garlic, minced
    - 1 tsp cumin
    - ½ tsp chili powder
    - ½ tsp garlic salt
    - 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
    - ¼ cup cilantro, chopped
    - ¾ cup salsa
    - 1 cup cooked rice
    - 1 cup shredded cheese

    Directions:

      1. Turn that knob to 350 degrees.

      2. Turn on some Jay Z (optional).

      3. Remove tops from peppers and scrape out membranes and seeds and stuff. Set aside.

      4. Melt butter in skillet over medium heat and add onions. Cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add in garlic and cook for about one more minute.

      5. Stir in black beans, cumin, chili powder, and garlic salt. Using the back of a fork, mash up those black beans. Add in cilantro and salsa and cook for 2 more minutes.

      6. Remove from heat and stir in cooked rice.

      7. Evenly fill the four prepared peppers with the rice and black bean mixture and set inside a baking dish.Top each pepper with a ¼ cup (or more, no one it judging you here) of cheese.

      8. Bake in preheated oven for 30-40 minutes until peppers have softened and cheese is melted to perfection.

      9. Pour some wine, because you went all day without eating meat, AND cooked.

      10. Serve. Await applause. Unless you live alone with your dog like most of us.

      Vegan Mushroom Burgers:

      Ingredients:

        - 2 cans black beans, rinsed and drained
        - 1 cup diced mushrooms
        - 3/4 cup shredded, chopped spinach
        - 1 1/4 cup oats, coarsely ground
        - 3/4 cup chopped onion
        - 2 1/2 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
        - 4 tsp. cumin
        - 6 cloves roasted garlic

         

        Directions:

        1. Using a fork, press the beans in a bowl until they are mashed.

        2. Open beverage of choice. Drink.

        3. Mix in mushrooms and oats as well as garlic, onions, Worcestershire sauce, and cumin.

        4. Then mix in the spinach.

        5. Form into patties. Use your best judgement on how many patties you want. Unless the drinks got to you – then try your best to get 8 patties.

        6. Grill or pan fry on medium heat for about 6 minutes on each side. Enjoy on a bun, tomato, and onion.

        7. Instagram your hard work. #meatlessmonday

        8. Get some fries or chips or something and go watch Netflix with your awesome mushroom burgers.

          written for Cliff Original by Shannon Blair