The following is an excerpt from The Earthbound Cook: 250 Recipes for Delicious Food and a Healthy Planet by Myra Goodman (Workman Publishing, 2010). The excerpt is part of chapter 5: Vegetarian Entrées.
While I’m not a vegetarian, my family and I enjoy eating meatless meals on a regular basis. I try to be aware of where my food comes from and its effect on the environment, so during the week I’m mindful of trying to balance our meals with vegetarian options. But to tell you the truth, most of the time I choose a meat-free soup, crêpe, pasta, or salad because I’m craving the delicious taste of that particular dish. I’m not thinking we need to “deprive” ourselves of meat for that meal.
Eating vegetarian is a great way to tread more lightly on the earth. Generally speaking, it takes more than 11 times as much fossil fuel to make 1 calorie of animal protein as it does to make 1 calorie of plant protein. And if every American who eats meat daily committed to eating meat-free one day a week, it would be the CO2-reducing equivalent of taking 8 million cars off the roads!
For me, this kind of food represents wonderful flavors to be shared with family and friends. Eating lower on the food chain does have a powerful impact on the environment, but it’s appetite-appeal that draws me to these dishes. As I look over the recipes in this chapter, I just want to get cooking. Wait till you taste our Springtime Whole Wheat Spaghetti with Fresh Favas, Peas, and Asparagus. Experience the comfort-food satisfaction of autumn-inspired Pumpkins Stuffed with Quinoa, Butternut, and Cranberries, and splurge by treating yourself to the creamy, slightly nutty flavor of the Roasted Cauliflower Tart. And I think you’ll find our Homemade Veggie Burgers deliciously satisfying, with a flavor and texture you just can’t find in frozen ready-made veggie burgers.
So bon appétit . . . without the meat!
This easy vegetarian dish, loaded with tasty vegetables, beautiful colors and varying textures, is a perfect budget-friendly recipe that’s great to remember when you need to make a dish for a potluck or a party. One thing that I especially appreciate about this dish is that it’s great hot, at room temperature, or cold right out of the fridge.
If your mission is to eat more meatless meals, this recipe is a very good starting point. These veggie burgers are bold and satisfying, with a surprisingly complex flavor. Full of super-healthy ingredients like walnuts, bulgur, and pinto beans, and flavored with Middle Eastern spices, the patties have good texture and a dynamic taste.