• Meatless Monday began in 2003, launched in association with the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. In May of 2009, Ghent, Belgium became the first non-U.S. city to go meatless. Shortly thereafter, Paul McCartney introduced the U.K. to Meat-Free Mondays.

    Meatless Monday is now active in 29 countries and growing because every nation can bring its unique culture, customs and cuisine to the table in meat free and vegetarian dishes.

    These recipes are from The Jazzy Vegetarian: Classics Vegan Twists on American Family Favorites by Laura Theodore.

    Best Butternut Bisque

    [Makes 6 to 8 servings] [Nut free, no oil] Thick and creamy in texture, this bisque is a true showstopper, perfect for any cold-weather meal. Whether presented as an elegant first course, hearty luncheon entree, or main dish supper soup, the butternut squash assures a velvety consistency and buttery taste.

    6 cups cubed butternut squash (1-inch cubes)

    4 cups cauliflower florets

    ½ cup chopped onion (about 1 small onion)

    1 teaspoon Italian or all-purpose seasoning

    2 apples, peeled and chopped

    1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

    ¼ teaspoon ground ginger

    ¼ teaspoon sea salt

    2 ½ cups vegetable broth, plus more as needed

    2 tablespoons maple syrup

    Fit a steamer basket into a large pot with a tight-fitting lid. Add 2 inches of cold water, then add the squash. Cover, bring to a boil, and steam for 7 minutes. Add the cauliflower and onion. Sprinkle with the Italian or all-purpose seasoning and steam for 20 minutes or until the squash and cauliflower are both very soft.

    Put the squash mixture in a large bowl. Let cool for 15 minutes. Add the apples, cinnamon, ginger, and salt and stir to coat. Put half of the mixture in a blender. Add 1 ¼ cups vegetable broth and 1 tablespoon maple syrup and process until smooth. Pour into a soup pot. Put the second half of the squash mixture in the blender. Add the remaining 1 ¼ cups vegetable broth and 1 tablespoon maple syrup, and process until smooth. Add to the soup pot, and then stir the two batches together. If the soup seems too thick, add more vegetable broth to taste. Put the pot over medium-low heat, cover, and simmer, stirring often, until heated through, about 10 minutes. To serve, ladle the soup into bowls.

    This soup may be made up to 24 hours ahead of time. If making in advance, let the soup cool after blending, then pour the cooled soup into an airtight container and refrigerate (see note).

    Chef’s note: To reheat the soup, pour it into a pot. If soup seems too thick add more vegetable broth, to taste. Cook for about 15 minutes over medium-low heat, stirring often, until heated through.

    Rockin’ Moroccan Stew

    [Makes 6 to 8 servings] [Nut free, no oil] This stew really rocks. A hearty one pot meal that bakes in the oven, it is easy to prepare, making it ideal to serve for a weeknight supper. However, its robust flavors and beautiful colors also make it fancy enough for a casual dinner party, served with brown rice or quinoa, crusty fresh bread, and a crisp green salad on the side.

    1 large red onion, chopped

    4 large carrots, peeled and cut in 1-inch slices

    4 small (or 3 large) russet potatoes, peeled and cut in 1-inch cubes

    1 small cauliflower, cut in florets

    1 medium eggplant, peeled and cut in 1-inch cubes

    1 can (15 ounces) chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained and rinsed

    1 can (28 ounces) crushed tomatoes

    1 teaspoon ground cumin

    1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

    ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper (or less to taste)

    ¼ teaspoon sea salt

    2 ½ cups vegetable broth, plus more as needed

    Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Put the onion, carrots, potatoes, cauliflower, eggplant, chickpeas, tomatoes, cumin, cinnamon, cayenne pepper, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Toss to combine.

    Put the vegetable mixture in a 5- to 6-quart casserole dish or Dutch oven. Pour the vegetable broth over the top. Cover and bake for 1 hour 10 minutes to 1 hour 20 minutes or until the vegetables are soft. As the stew cooks, check it every half hour. If the stew becomes dry, add ¼ cup more vegetable broth as needed.

    Remove the stew from the oven and let cool for 10 minutes. To serve, spoon the stew into deep soup bowls. Serve hot.

    Spaghetti and Wheatballs

    [Makes 3 to 4 servings (12 to 14 wheatballs)] This dish has an authentic taste and texture, making it a foolproof crowd-pleaser for any family meal. Easy enough to make for a special weeknight meal, but fancy enough to serve when hosting a casual dinner party, this dish will become a staple in your house.

    1⅓ cups lightly packed, fresh, soft whole-grain bread crumbs (from about 3 to 4 large slices) (see note)

    1 teaspoon Italian seasoning

    ½ teaspoon garlic powder

    ⅛ teaspoon sea salt

    ½ cup chopped walnuts

    2 cups chopped mushrooms

    ½ cup diced onion

    ¾ pound organic spaghetti (see note)

    3 cups prepared vegan marinara sauce, Dad’s Marinara or your own homemade sauce

    Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a medium baking pan with unbleached parchment paper. Put the bread crumbs, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, and salt in a large bowl. Put the walnuts in a blender and pulse to process into coarse crumbs. Add the walnuts to the bread crumbs and stir gently to incorporate.

    Put the mushrooms and onion in a blender and process to a chunky puree. Add the mushroom mixture to the walnut/bread crumb mixture and stir to incorporate. Spoon out about 1½ tablespoons of the mushroom mixture and roll it into a ball. Continue in this way with the remaining mushroom mixture. Arrange the rolled wheatballs on the lined baking pan. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes. Gently rotate each wheatball and bake for 12 to 16 minutes more, or until they are crisp and golden.

    Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the spaghetti and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender but firm. Drain the spaghetti well.

    Meanwhile, pour the marinara sauce into a medium sauce pan. Bring the sauce to a simmer over medium-low heat. Gently add the wheatballs to the sauce, one at a time, cover, and simmer for 7 to 10 minutes. To serve, put one-quarter of the spaghetti into each of four pasta bowls, and top with 3 or 4 wheatballs. Ladle marinara sauce over the top and serve immediately.

    Chef’s note: To make fresh bread crumbs, put 3 to 4 slices of wholegrain bread in a blender and process into coarse crumbs. The wheatballs make a sensational base for a terrific hero-style sandwich too!

    Do you have a favorite meatless recipe? Please share it in comments. We could all use some inspiration.

    Recipes from The Jazzy Vegetarian: http://www.jazzyvegetarian.com/

    See more on the Meatless Monday Global Movement which offers tool kits, posters and logos to promote the effort.

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