Looking For A Healthier Lifestyle? Try These 'Meatless Monday' Recipes

Life & Love | Gerren Keith Gaynor | 05/05/2014 | 10:45 AM EDT

Substituting your meat with more meatless alternatives has its health benefits

If you’re looking for ways to be more healthy, consider adopting a meatless diet into your eating regimen. There are great health benefits to going without meat, even if only one or two days out of the week. The “Meatless Monday” movement encourages Americans to incorporate one day out of week without meat, including reducing the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and in some cases, colon cancer. For your benefit, here are some awesome meatless recipes to try out.


Portobello Tacos


8 cups thinly sliced portobello mushrooms

1 cup thinly sliced onion

1 cup chipotle salsa, divided

3 tablespoons taco seasoning

1/4 cup water

2 tablespoons tomato paste

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1 cup shredded lettuce

1 cup diced tomato

1/2 cup finely diced onion

8 whole taco shells, warmed

Heat large skillet coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat. Add onions and sauté 3 to 4 minutes or until tender. Add mushrooms and sauté until juices have released; about 5 to 7 minutes. Sprinkle mixture with the taco seasoning. Combine water with the tomato paste and pour the mixture over the mushrooms. Reduce heat to low and simmer until the mixture thickens. Warm taco shells according to package directions. Fill with 1/4 to 1/3 mushroom mixture, top with lettuce, tomatoes, onions and cheese. Serve with Spanish rice.


Thai Fresh Spring Rolls With Peanut Dipping Sauce


For the Peanut Sauce:

¼ cup/60 ml peanut butter, salted or unsalted, creamy or crunchy

¼ cup/60 ml very hot water (about 180°F/82°C)

1 tbsp soy sauce

1 tbsp rice vinegar

2 tsp agave nectar

1 tsp fresh lime juice

⅛ tsp salt

Freshly ground black pepper

For the Tofu:

1 tbsp low-sodium soy sauce

1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

⅛ tsp freshly ground black pepper

8 oz/225 g extra-firm tofu, cut into twelve 3-by-1/2-in/7.5-cm-by-12-mm stick

For the Spring Rolls:

1 cup/170 g cooked rice noodles, prepared according to package directions

12 cucumber sticks, 3 by ¼ in/7.5 cm by 6 mm

12 carrot sticks, 3 by ¼ in/7.5 cm by 6 mm

1 cup/85 g packed mung bean sprouts

1 ripe avocado, sliced lengthwise into 12 even pieces

12 pieces heirloom or romaine lettuce, torn into 3-by-3-in/ 7.5-by-7.5-cm pieces

¼ cup/10 g coarsely chopped fresh spearmint

¼ cup/10 g fresh cilantro

Twelve 6-in/15-cm spring roll wrappers


To make the peanut sauce: Stir together peanut butter and hot water in small bowl until smooth. Add soy sauce, vinegar, agave, lime juice, salt, and a pinch of pepper and stir until thoroughly combined. Set aside at room temperature.

To make the tofu: Position rack in middle of oven and preheat it to 375°F/190°C/gas 5. Whisk together soy sauce, oil, and pepper in small bowl. Drain tofu sticks on paper towels to remove excess water. Place tofu on  small rimmed baking sheet or in casserole dish and pour marinade evenly over each piece. Make sure every side is thoroughly coated. Allow tofu to marinate for 10 to 15 minutes before baking. Bake tofu on the middle rack for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven, flip each stick over, then bake for another 15 minutes.

To make the spring rolls: Place noodles, cucumber, carrot, bean sprouts, avocado, lettuce, mint, cilantro, and tofu on individual plates around your work surface. Fill a wide, shallow bowl with warm water. Place one spring roll wrapper in the bowl and let it soak until limp, about 5 seconds. Lay the wrapper down flat on your work surface. In the upper center section of the wrapper, place 1 piece of lettuce. In a compact vertical line, arrange 1 piece each of carrot, cucumber, tofu, and avocado, 1 tbsp each of the bean sprouts and noodles, and 1 tsp each of the mint and cilantro.


Mashed Plantains With Red Beans


1 cup dried red beans, rinsed and soaked overnight

1 onion, diced

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1 teaspoon cumin

salt and pepper, to taste

For the mashed plantains:

2 unripe green plantains, sliced

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 large onion, sliced

2 garlic cloves, diced

2 teaspoons turmeric

1/2 tablespoon vinegar

1/2 cup  water

2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped

salt, to taste

To complete the Mashed Plantain with Red Beans:

1 cup pea shoots


To make the red beans:

Place 3 cups of water in a pressure cooker.

Rinse soaked beans and place in pressure cooker with water. Cook on high until you hear the whistle. Turn heat down to low and cook for 13 minutes more. While beans are cooking, place olive or canola oil in medium skillet. Add onion, garlic and cumin. Sauté for 4-6 minutes, or until the onion has softened and become fragrant. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Turn heat off and let beans sit in pressure cooker, covered, for about 15 minutes, or until the beans are cooked, but still hold their shape. Take off lid and stir in onion garlic mixture. Set aside.

To make the mashed plantains:

Place large pot of water over medium-high heat. Bring to boil. Add unripe plantains and cook for about 20 minutes, or until tender. Drain and place in blender or food processor. Add olive oil, vinegar and water to blender or food processor. Pulse until blended. Season with cilantro and salt to taste. Place a little olive or canola oil in frying pan over medium-high heat. Add onions, garlic and turmeric and sauté for 4-6 minutes, or until onion becomes soft and fragrant. Mix onion garlic mixture into blended plantains.

To complete the Mashed Plantains with Red Beans:

Divide mashed plantains in 4 portions. Top with a quarter of red beans and fresh pea shoots per plate and enjoy.

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