Each year many people of the world celebrate meatless March – Day Meatless Challenge?  March is also the time of Lent, where in ancient times, fasting was way stricter than today and in some places, all animal products were forbidden–and in other countries, predominantly in the East, only vegan foods are consumed during Lent.

During March, on the 20th to be more specific, is also Meat-Out Day, and Royal Palm Hotel’s Executive Chef, Qhawe Tshabalala provides some tips on how to experiment with meatless meals.  It’s important to have some flexibility in your food choices so you don’t end up despising the experience. 

Use the month of March to clean up your diet, some suggestions include:

·         Track one of the key nutrients you to need to watch. Check in on your calcium levels, plan to boost your iron intake, or ramp up your Omega-3 levels.

·         Take a cooking challenge. If you’re someone who doesn’t like to cook, take this month as a chance to get more comfortable in the kitchen.

·         If you’re new to meatless meals, start small, with just one night a week, and work up to more meals on more days.

·         If you’re someone who says you could never, not eat meat, I’m not going to pressure you to give it up. That’s your decision. However, you could use this month as a chance to eat more vegetables and whole grains.

A tasty recipe to wet your vegetarian appetite below

Roasted Vegetable Salad with Garlic Dressing

Ingredients

·         1 head garlic

·         5 tablespoons olive oil divided

·         1 bunch carrots scrubbed and peeled

·         1 bunch beets scrubbed and trimmed

·         1 bunch spinach 

·         1 tablespoon lemon juice

·         1/4 cup raw pumpkin seeds 

·         sea salt to taste

·         black pepper to taste

Instructions

1.                   Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

2.       Cut the top quarter off the head of garlic and drizzle with ½ tablespoon olive oil. Wrap it in foil and set it in a small oven-proof dish. Bake it for 20 minutes. Remove it from the oven and keep it wrapped to cool. It will continue to cook as it cools.

3.       Turn the oven up to 425 degrees.

4.       While the garlic roasts bring a pot of water to a boil. Blanch the carrots in the boiling water for 2 minutes. Then add the beets and boil for 8 to 10 minutes. Remove them with a slotted spoon and run under cold water. At this point, the skins should easily peel off the beets by using your finger. Use a peeler if needed for tougher skins.

5.       Halve the carrots and quarter the beets. Arrange them on a baking sheet. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Roast for 20 minutes, flipping vegetables halfway through.

6.       Arrange the chard on another baking sheet. Drizzle with ½ tablespoon oil and pinch of salt, and rub it all over the leaves. Roast for 5 minutes, or just until the leaves have softened and become slightly browned.

7.       Next make the dressing. Squeeze the roasted garlic out of its papery skin and into a small mixing bowl. Mix in lemon juice and add a pinch of salt. Next, whisk in the remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil and combine until smooth.

8.       Lastly, toast the pumpkin seeds in a small skillet over medium heat. Cook, while flipping almost constantly for 2 minutes or until they start to pop. Sprinkle with salt.

9.       To serve, toss the carrots and beets with the garlic dressing. On a large platter, layer roasted chard on the bottom, then the carrots and beets, a drizzle more of garlic dressing then sprinkle on the pumpkin seeds, black pepper and more salt if desired.

Below are some vegetarian options that will most certainly excite even the most hard-edged carnivore, and some lifesavers when you are away from home, and there’s no veg-friendly food in sight.

·         Granola bars

·         Cereal with soy or almond milk

·         Nuts and dried fruit

·         Fruit and nut butter (apples and almond butter are a favourite of mine!)

·         Hummus and whole-grain crackers or veggies

·         Salsa and baked chips

·         Smoothies made with fruit and non-dairy milk

·         Sorbet with fruit and granola

·         Smoked tofu slices with crackers or fruit (my version of cheese and crackers)

·         or regular oatmeal

So whether you want to make more healthy life choices, by cutting down on your meat in-take, or you simply want to try and have one night a week meat-free, make March your trial month. Who know what could happen!

 https://www.sparkpeople.com/blog/blog.asp?post=meatless_march_are_you_taking_the_challenge

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