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Meatless Mondays

Mar 12, 2012 10:12PM ● By Anonymous

The idea goes back to WWII when the FDA coined the term as part of its efforts to encourage voluntary rationing. But don't worrytoday's Meatless Mondays allow for much more indulgence.

In addition to serving all the moral qualms of ethics-based vegetarians, going meatless (even for just one day) has demonstrated health benefits. It's been shown to limit cancer risk, fight diabetes, reduce heart disease, curb obesity, help people live longer, and improve their diets.

And it helps the environment too. Making a once a week commitment to veggies reduces participants' carbon footprints, helps diminish fossil fuel dependence, and minimizes water usage.

If you're still unconvinced, you can read more about the benefits of Meatless Monday here. If you'd like to hop on board the vegetable train, then read on.

Coming up with a meatless meal can be daunting for a carnivore. So, for your first attempt at a Meatless Monday, try to choose a dinner that's familiar, filling, and carby. This herb risotto fits the bill perfectly.

I know what you're thinking: "Risotto!? Nope. I'm out." But seriously, take a few deep breaths. Okay, now let me tell you the three secrets to risotto:

Patience, stirring, and more liquid than you think you'll need. Since risotto requires a bit of supervision, it's a great dish if you're looking to share some cooking responsibilities.

Below is a recipe for a basic herb risotto, adapted from this version on Feel free to add and take away depending on your personal preferences. Throw a salad alongside, and you've got a great first Meatless Monday dinner.

  • 3 tablespoons canola oil
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup trimmed, diced fennel bulb
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint, divided
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley, divided
  • 1 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary, divided
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest, divided
  • 1 1/2 cups uncooked Arborio rice
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • About 5 cups vegetable stock or broth
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese


  1. Heat oil and butter in a medium heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add fennel, bell pepper, onion, garlic, 1 tablespoons mint, 1 tablespoons parsley, 1/2 tablespoon rosemary and 1 teaspoon lemon zest. Saute, stirring, until vegetables are slightly softened (about 2 to 3 minutes).
  2. Stir in rice and saute, stirring, until rice grains are oil-coated (about 3 minutes). Pour in wine and stock and reduce heat to medium low.
  3. Stir in one-third of the vegetable broth and continue stirring until the rice has absorbed the liquid and turned creamy. Repeat this process twice more, stirring constantly. Stirring in the broth should take about 30 minutes in all. When finished, the rice should be tender, yet slightly firm.
  4. Remove pan from heat and season with salt and pepper to taste. Stir in remaining mint, parsley, rosemary and lemon zest, then add lemon juice and cheese. Cover saucepan with waxed paper and let stand 8 to 10 minutes before serving.