I've been feeling passionate about eating less meat, what with the limited amount of resources in the world and the growing population and all. Eating meat is extremely bad for the environment and a major cause of global warming on one hand. On the other, I feel weird about massively killing living creatures for my personal enjoyment while it isn't necessary on a nutritional level. I'm not saying we should all go vegetarian forever, but I do think it is important to eat a lot LESS meat.
Vegetarian dining has such a bad rep for being low on flavor or boring, but I think most people just don't know how many amazing meat-free cuisines there are to be found on our vast earth. Indian cooking and its curries for example, many Moroccan tajines and dozens of amazing italian pasta recipes: none of it boring, all of it both delicious AND good for the environment. Especially recipes without any meat substitutes. Substitutes are ridiculous, there are thousands of vegetables and cheeses in the world to give some color and variety to your plate.
Not convinced? Watch me cook my new favorite dish: risotto primavera! I ate a version of this dish in London and I loved the idea but the execution was lacking. Solution: I made my own, better version!
What you'll need: olive oil, butter, black pepper, green asparagus, a small onion, a clove of garlic, risotto rice (I use arborio), a small courgette, some pine nuts, broth, frozen peas, fresh mint and parmesan cheese.
How to do it: heat up the broth. When boiling, turn down the heat very low. Get a deep pan going with the olive oil and butter, and when hot, add chopped onion and garlic. When the onions go glazy, add the risotto rice and scoop that around until the rice grains are all coated with oil. Add a ladle full of the broth and let simmer with a lid on the pan, occasionally checking and adding broth when the rice has soaked up the liquid. While your risotto basically cooks itself, cut the asparagus in chunks and stir fry or grill them. Simply slice the courgette as finely as possible (I used a cheese slicer) and add to the risotto when it's almost done, along with the peas. This way, the courgette and peas keep all of their flavour and vitamins without going mushy. Add the asparagus when those are al dente and roast some pine nuts quickly. Add those to the risotto as well, and finish off with some parmesan, chopped mint and black pepper: done! Bon appetit!
So next time you're thinking about what to cook for dinner, consider leaving the meat out.