Welcome to Meatless Mondays Australia!
The first month of Spring is here and Mother Nature has been ‘spring cleaning’ the southern states of Australia with lots of much needed rain. Sadly for some this has meant flooding of their homes, farms and businesses and our hearts go out to all those affected. However, it is wonderful to see our dams filling and the thirsty land greening. The beauty and terror of nature all in one and with it the awareness that we must do whatever we can to protect the environment to avoid weather-related disasters in the future. We want to help and for you to help too!
You asked for it, so this week we have another fabulous vegetarian recipe and this one comes to us from TV chef and author, the lovely Janelle Bloom. This will be the last for a while as we’ll be back to vegan recipes next time. We tell you about the health benefits of green beans and also how to get the best from your daily tea or coffee. We ask you to think about the impact on the environment of having uncovered windows in your home and share with you some wise words that remind us that we often treat our beautiful planet with contempt. And finally, we ask you to do your bit for the environment and your health by taking part in National Vegetarian Week that is coming up in a couple of weeks.
Another simple way you can do your bit to help the planet and your health is by making every Monday a meat-free day. Good for you and good for the planet!
Please Make the Pledge by subscribing to our newsletter and join us in our commitment to Meatless Mondays – for the people, for the planet.
Make the Pledge!
Food of the Week
Green beans, also known as string beans, are loaded with nutrients to keep you in good health. Not only are fresh, crisp beans a great source of vitamins, minerals and fibre, they are also wonderfully tasty and low in calories too.
Green beans contain:
- High levels of Vitamins A, C, and K
- B-group vitamins such as folate, riboflavin and thiamin
- Iron, manganese, phosphorus, magnesium, calcium and zinc
- Dietary fibre
Eating green beans regularly has been shown to:
- Maintain strong bones
- Offer cardiovascular benefits, prevent cholesterol build-up and lower blood pressure
- Promote good colon health
- Protect against inflammation in the body
- Help to prevent migraines
- Assist immune function
Green beans are delicious eaten raw in salads, or they can be lightly boiled, steamed or stir-fried. To obtain the most nutrients and to retain that great crispness, make sure you don’t overcook them. When buying, look for beans that are fresh, firm and crisp – preferably organic – vibrant green in colour and free from brown spots. Or try growing them yourself and savour the pleasure of eating a freshly picked bean right off the vine. Yum! You can store fresh beans in the crisper of your fridge where they should stay fresh for about a week.
And don’t forget to look for the locally grown product so you don’t add to your carbon footprint. If your greengrocer or supermarket doesn’t stock locally grown produce, please encourage them to do so.
Recipe of the Week
Janelle Bloom’s Greek-Style Bean Salad with Grilled Haloumi
This recipe has been reprinted from Fab Food for Family and Friends by Janelle Bloom (Random House) with permission from Janelle Bloom.
This week’s recipe comes to us compliments of Janelle Bloom, one of Australia’s most-loved TV chefs and food writers. Her recipes are foolproof, easy-to-follow and use seasonal ingredients that are readily available. This is what Janelle has to say about her yummy vegetarian recipe:
“Meatless Monday is such a great initiative. I strongly believe we need to increase the consumption of fresh fruit and vegetables in our diet, and decrease the amount of packet foods that contain so many preservatives, additives and chemicals. Twice a week our family dinner meal is meatless, it’s important to replace the meat with another good source of protein such as cheese or nuts to help keep you feeling satisfied. This is one of our favourites.”
300g green beans, topped
300g butter beans, topped
1 cup semi-dried tomatoes
1 small red onion, halved, very thinly sliced
3 teaspoons capers, drained
1 cup kalamatta olives
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
250g pkt haloumi cheese, drained, sliced (see tip)
1/4 mint leaves
Crusty bread to serve
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 lemon, rind finely grated, juiced
2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 green onions, finely chopped
1 large fresh red chilli, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
1. Cook the beans in a large saucepan of boiling salted water for 1 minute or until just tender. Drain then rinse under cold water to refresh. Drain well again then carefully pat dry with paper towel. Transfer the beans to a serving platter. Add the tomatoes, onion, capers and olives.
2. For the dressing, combine all the ingredients together in a screw-top jar with freshly ground black pepper and shake until well combined.
3. Heat a char-grill or large non-stick frying pan over high heat until hot. Press a sheet of baking paper onto the hot surface of the pan. Brush both sides of the haloumi well with oil then cook on the baking paper for 3-4 minutes each side or until golden and warmed through.
4. Pour half the dressing over the bean salad and toss to coat. Top with warm haloumi slices and drizzle with remaining dressing. Scatter over the mint and serve with crusty bread.
Tip: Haloumi is a mild white cheese sold in packets in the cheese cabinet at supermarkets. Once opened, store un-used cheese in the brine it comes in an airtight container for up to two weeks. The only way to eat this magic cheese is warm, best char-grilled, pan-fried or barbecues until the cheese warms through so it’s slightly melted and oozy and the outside golden and crisp.
Healthy You Quick Tip
Love a cup of tea or coffee with a meal? Did you know that drinking tea (including green tea) or coffee at mealtimes inhibits your body’s ability to absorb iron and zinc?
So that you don’t risk an iron or zinc deficiency, simply wait for at least one hour after a meal before having your favourite cuppa.
Healthy Planet Quick Tip
The windows in our homes can be responsible for generating unnecessary greenhouse gas emissions. Up to 30% of heat transfer between the inside and outside of our homes occurs through unprotected windows. Reduce your environmental impact and your heating and cooling costs by:
- Preventing draughts and air leaks around windows that allow heat to escape in winter and hot air to enter in summer
- Completely covering your windows on very hot and very cold days with heavy curtains or blinds that are lined with a reflective backing
- Installing awnings on windows that are exposed to direct sunlight in summer to prevent heat entering your home
Wise Words – Alan Watts
“Increasingly, the world around us looks as if we hated it.”
Alan Watts 1915-1973
British philosopher and writer
National Vegetarian Week
27 September – 3 October 2010
National Vegetarian Week is coming up soon with the aim of encouraging Aussies to make positive changes to their eating and lifestyle habits so they can live long and healthy lives.
This year they have teamed up with US author Dan Buettner whose research into the world’s ‘Blue Zones’, i.e. the world’s longest living communities, has highlighted those practices that promote the best health, happiness and longevity. He found that plant-based diets, accompanied by plenty of exercise and close community networks have major benefits to people’s health and wellbeing.
For more info check out National Vegetarian Week. You will find lots of great information about the benefits of a vegetarian diet, healthy eating tips, and more about the vegetarian cooking demonstrations that will be held throughout the week.