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Meatless Monday ideas that are tasty, healthy

August 13, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently reversed its suggestion to go meatless on Mondays due to pressure from the cattle industry. But many health experts applaud taking a break from animal protein to lower saturated fat intake. We have some tasty ways to pull off a meatless Monday.

Chef and environmentalist Susan Feniger says she likes making one day a week meat-free.

"We try to think about what can we do to protect the environment for, you know, our kids and their kids. So meatless Monday is exactly that," said Feniger. "There is that sort of 80/20 rule, which is sort of right now hip and in, which is like 80 percent, which is plant-based, and 20 percent protein."

Protein is a key component to our diet, but how we get it can vary - far beyond a big slab of meat, chicken or fish. Feniger proves that with her new cookbook, "Susan Feniger's Street Food: Irresistibly Crispy, Creamy, Crunchy, Spicy, Sticky, Sweet Recipes." That bears the name of her restaurant, STREET, as well, reflecting the way many dine globally.

"There's many parts of the world where they get their full protein without having much meat. All the different dals, the different lentils, the mung bean, the chickpea, the black bean dal, that mixed with rice gives you full protein," said Feniger.

For example, there's the Egyptian Bus Stop Kushary made with lentils, rice, tiny macaroni with olive oil and cumin. It is spicy and filling.

There is also the soba noodles with firmed baked tofu coated in seaweed and sesame seeds, with a soy sauce, sesame oil and reduce orange juice sauce.

Brussels sprout lovers will adore one dish where Feniger roasts them with goat cheese, apples, toasted hazelnuts and lemon juice.

Her Varenyky, a little dumpling-like pasta filled with spinach and feta on a sweet, creamy bed of sour cream and lemon marmalade, offers a load of flavor as well.

On those Monday's when you want your meal in minutes, you can turn to some products that can help you get dinner together in a flash. For example, Nate's Meatless Meatballs come in three flavors. They are 90 calories, 0 cholesterol and 4.5 grams of fat for three meat balls, which are made mostly from soy and textured vegetable protein. It's nice option for pasta, a grinder or solo as a savory snack.

Nate's is available at the following retailers in Southern California: Whole Foods, Bristol Farms, Clark's Nutrition, New Frontiers Market, Lazy Acres Market, and more. The meatless meatballs cost around $4.50 for a package.

See photos of meatless dishes and ideas


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