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Meat free monday

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Adopt a “meat free Monday” mentality! Did you know that cutting out meat, even if it’s merely once a week, can drastically decrease your risk of heart disease by up to 19%, according to a Harvard University study? Eating a diet heavy on red and other processed meats have been shown to increase the risk of diabetes, obesity, and other health problems. Cutting back on meat can also impact the environment by reducing the amount of fossil fuel and water that’s used to raise livestock. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the livestock sector is “one of the top two or three most significant contributors to the most serious environmental problems, at every scale from local to global”. The FAO estimates that livestock production is responsible for 14.5 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions, while other organisations have estimated it could be as much as 51 per cent. Do yourself a favour and dedicate one day to fresh vegetables, fruits, legumes, grains, and nuts. Try skipping meat for one day a week to reduce your carbon footprint and improve your health. Worried that meat free isn't satisfying, think again and give this 'Really Hungry Burger' a go:
Ingredients
  • olive oil
  • 6 big portobello mushrooms, roughly chopped into little bits
  • few sprigs of fresh thyme, leaves picked
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 400g tin of white beans, haricot or cannellini, well drained
  • 4 fat medjool dates, pitted
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
  • small bunch of fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons tahini
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce or tamari
  • 200g cooked and cooled brown rice (100 g raw weight)
  • 50g breadcrumbs or oats
  • grated zest of 1 unwaxed lemon
To serve
  • 1-2 avocados, peeled and sliced
  • tomato relish or ketchup
  • few handfuls of spinach leaves
  • 8 seeded burger buns (try to use wholemeal ones)

Method Get a large pan on a medium heat and add a splash of olive oil. Once the pan is good and hot, add the mushrooms and thyme and season with salt and pepper. Fry on a good heat until the mushrooms have dried out and are slightly browned, then set to one side and leave to cool. Next, drain the white beans and put them into a food processor with the dates, garlic, parsley, tahini and soy sauce. Pulse until you have a smoothish mixture, then transfer to a bowl and add the rice, breadcrumbs, lemon zest and the cooled mushrooms. Mix well, then put into the fridge for 10 minutes or so to firm up. Once cooled, divide the mixture into 8 portions and shape into 8 patties. Place them on a baking tray lined with baking paper and pop into the fridge until needed. (This can be done the day before – and the burgers freeze well at this point.) Preheat your oven to 230°C/fan 210°C/gas 8 and bake the burgers for 15 minutes, until nicely brown. If you like cheese on your burger, pop a slice on top a couple of minutes before they come out of the oven. While your burgers are cooking, get your toppings ready. Try avocado, tomato relish plus a few spinach leaves. Hummus, grated carrot and sprouts is another favourite, but feel free to improvise and try it your own way. Once the burgers are golden, toast your buns and layer up your burgers - these ones are as healthy as they are tasty.   Recipe credit: https://www.meatfreemondays.com/recipes/really-hungry-burger/
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