Happy Earth Week! As we celebrate our great planet, this is a great time of year to make a commitment (or a re-commitment) towards more sustainable eating practices.
One way everyone can do this? Meatless Monday! Start planning plant-based meals one day a week.
If you need a bit of inspiration for this endeavor, Quorn products are a great place to look. Quorn is perfect if you’re trying to eat healthier as part of an active lifestyle, watching what you put in your body, or if you just want some meat-free meals.
So, what exactly IS Quorn???
The main constituent of Quorn, Mycoprotein, is a naturally occurring, high quality, healthy form of protein from the fungi family (similar to truffles or morels). Quorn is produced using a fermentation process very similar to brewing; only they harvest the solid as opposed to the liquid.
This remarkable ingredient is then used as the base for more than 100 different food products. Think: replacements for ground beef, chicken tenders, burgers, and sausage links.
Unlike other non-meat protein sources, such as soy and its derivatives, Quorn has an ability to replicate the taste and texture of meat exceptionally well.
And why is this a more sustainable option? Quorn’s carbon footprint is at least 5X less than beef and 1.5X less than chicken. Not to mention, with over 70% of agricultural land currently being used for livestock production, the ever-growing demand for meat means more efficient solutions are needed as land becomes scarcer. Quorn offers one such solution.
For some additional #MeatlessMonday inspiration; I decided to ask my mom a few questions about her reasons for maintaining a plant-based diet, what tips she has to offer for vegetarian/vegan cooking, as well as the products and resources she recommends to successfully give meatless cooking a go…
You’ve been vegan for some time now and vegetarian before that. What do you love about eating a plant-based diet?
I love how I feel! I love knowing that I am taking very good care of me. I love knowing that I am getting all the nutrition I need without causing any unnecessary suffering to other living creatures (human and animal). I love that I am caring for the planet in a manner that far exceeds the little bit that recycling does.
Not that we shouldn’t be recycling! But that plays a small part in comparison to eliminating animal agriculture from our lives. And I love knowing that by eating a plant-based diet, I’m making more food available to those in the world who go hungry.
Do you have a favorite vegan recipe you think everyone should try?
Well, I have lots of favorite recipes but the one that will probably always rank at the top is my Mac ‘n’ Cheeze recipe. I have made it for potlucks and no one seems to even realize that they’re not eating cheese. Shh…butternut squash is the secret ingredient that makes it so yummy.
Give us a peek into your vegan kitchen. What pantry and fridge staples would we find?
My must “have on hand” staples include berries, salad fixin’s (I love to chop up a salad – because I love salad and because it’s very therapeutic to chop), avocados, a couple of non-dairy milks (soy, almond, unsweetened soy, etc.), Veganaise, Earth Balance butter and shortening, Daiya cheese, firm tofu (for my tofu scramble), nutritional yeast, Parma parmesan cheese, a variety of nuts in the freezer, peanut butter, canned beans, canned tomato products, and various grains and pastas.
What top tips would you offer folks who may want to try their hand at cooking vegetarian/vegan fare or want to hack a carnivore dish to make it a little more veg friendly?
A very easy first step is to sub a plant based “ground beef” into spaghetti sauce or chili.
Second is to replace meat-based stocks with vegetable-based stocks in any soups you are making. There are a variety of veggie stocks – even one that very closely resembles chicken stock.
Make sure to use an unsweetened non-dairy milk when making savory dishes otherwise there will be a strange sweet taste present in your gravy or mac and cheese.
Do you have any resources (Think: cookbooks, websites, Food Network celeb cooks) that deserve a shout-out?
My number one resource and the person I credit with having motivated me to go from vegetarian to vegan is Isa Chandra Moskowitz. Her Post Punk Kitchen blog is so much fun to explore. I have in my possession ALL of her cookbooks and I don’t believe I have ever made one of her recipes and been disappointed.
I also love the website, One Green Planet; VegNews Magazine; the book, World Peace Diet; Food Network’s Cupcake Wars winner, Chloe Coscarelli; and for some inexplicable reason, Rachael Ray (mind you, I think most everything she dreams up is ridiculously unhealthy, but I love to veganize her recipes).
I know you’ve used Quorn products as a convenient meat substitute in dishes for years. Are there any other vegetarian/vegan products on the market that you are particularly fond of or would recommend?
As I have mentioned before on this blog, Trader Joe’s hooks me up. I can’t imagine life without TJ’s Vegan Tikka Masala, Goddess Dressing and Joe-Joes. In addition, I do love Daiya cheese and more seem to be coming on the market all of the time. And I love Parma parmesan cheese.
You’re sort of a legend when it comes to “veganizing” foods. What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever converted?
One time I created my own pastrami so I could enjoy a Reuben Sandwich. I had Reubens for days!
I make a pretty good “meatloaf” as well. You would absolutely never miss the meat. But my specialties seem to be pizzas and cupcakes. I love creating pizzas to match every regional and international flavor profile – think Morrocan and Thai and Greek and Midwest and east coast and west coast.
And then there have been lots of cupcakes to celebrate all sorts of events. And more to come!
Thanks so much, Mom! Always an inspiration.
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(This post is in collaboration with Quorn, a brand my family has used and loved for years. All opinions are my own.)