Meatless meals

“If you eat a little less meat and a little less dairy you’ll drastically reduce the impact of your diet on the environment. Just think, 500g of ground beef uses over 28, 000 cups (or 6, 810 litres) of water to produce – that’s enough to fill 20 bathtubs to the brim, and then some!” – Oxfam’s GROW! Campaign encourages people to eat less meat and less dairy to eat more sustainably for the planet and its people.

My fave meal this week comes from this month’s Delicious magazine – a mushroom vegetarian linguine bolognaise. (We used the mushrooms we grew ourselves in our flat!).

The method is basically use a food processor to finely chop 2 carrots, 1 onion, 2 celery stalks, 1 red capsicum, 150g mushrooms, 2 garlic cloves. Cook in a saucepan with 1/4 cup olive oil for 4 minutes, add 2 tbs chopped herbs (oregano and thyme), 2 tbs sundried tomato pesto (I made my own by whizzing up some sundried tomatoes with a little oil and a few pinenuts), soaked 15g dried porcini mushrooms (we didn’t have any to hand so I just chucked in some extra mushies and some worcestershire sauce). Add 1/2 cup red wine, 1 cup vegie stock and simmer for 2 minutes. Stir through 1/2 cup mascarpone (some cream cheese in my case because I had it in the fridge). Season, serve with cooked linguine, and scatter with grated parmesan.

I particularly liked this because we had the herbs to hand, some sundried tomatoes in the fridge, the mushrooms we had grown, a carrot and some celery in the fridge, and were able to make substitutes with the things I had in the fridge and cupboards. So I bought a capsicum, a carrot and a bottle of red wine by walking down to the local shops – a sustainable meal and yummy too – the full flavour of our mushrooms came to the fore, and it really was like a bolognaise in texture and taste.

We are trying very hard to pre-plan meals, to cook more vegetarian, to use ingredients we can source from shops within walking distance, and to make sure we’re considering the food we have to hand rather than buying every exotic ingredient in a recipe to avoid wastage. Not always easy in practice, but it is much easier on our wallets!

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