Mario Batali is hardly one to shy away from a good prosciutto or a braised veal shank. The celebrity chef has been dubbed “the King of Pancetta.” His father makes artisan sausage and other cured meats. So we paid attention when Batali, the chef, earlier this month embraced the Meatless Monday campaign at all 14 of his restaurants.
The menus at Batali’s eateries will feature at least two vegetarian entrees each Monday. The dishes will be designated with his own Meatless Monday logo.
“The fact is, most people in the U.S. eat way more meat than is good for them or the planet,” says Batali. “Asking everyone to go vegetarian or vegan isn’t a realistic or attainable goal. But we can focus on a more plant-based diet, and support the farmers who raise their animals humanely and sustainably.”
The Meatless Monday campaign aims to encourage the consumption of more plant-based foods and less meat. Among the goals:
- Promoting better personal health by reducing saturated fat consumption
- Helping the planet by shrinking our carbon footprint and conserving resources such as water and fossil fuels
Meatless Monday itself is a nonprofit public health initiative that’s teamed with the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
The movement’s early adopters include Michael Pollan, Al Gore, Sir Paul McCartney, Simon Cowell and Gwyneth Paltrow. Others include: the Baltimore Public School System, nearly 30 college campuses, and eight international programs from Brazil to Taiwan.
We’d like to do our part to promote the campaign. Here are three dishes to consider . . . starting now, or next Monday:
The salad — pictured above — gets added flavor and texture from the pistachios and cranberries. It’s dressed with a sherry vinaigrette. Quinoa is a cereal grain that’s native to the Andes Mountains. It’s super nutritious and packs roughly as much protein as milk. It tastes earthy and nutty. Because the quinoa salad contains scallions, you should omit the shallots in the vinaigrette.
Puree of Fava Beans with Chicory
Last week I wrote about the cuisine of Puglia, located in the heel of Italy’s boot. Puglia is an epicenter for the Mediterranean diet. And this dish, which uses dried fava beans, is a classic cuisine from the region. The cooked fava beans – which are simmered together with potatoes – are pureed in a food mill or sieve. The puree gets a liberal dose of extra virgin olive oil.
The chicory is cooked in boiling salted water. It’s combined with the puree. The dish is finished with a drizzle of EVOO, croutons and, if you want, a thin slice or two of red onion.
Soup makes for a fabulous meal. And depending on where you live, May can be warm some days and loaded with rain or even snow others. Friends in Colorado told me they ate lunch on their deck earlier this month and were then blanketed with snow a few days later. This hearty and healthy soup will suit any weather.
The recipe section of our Web site has plenty more veggie dishes.
Claude S. Weiller
Vice President of Sales & Marketing
California Olive Ranch