Meat-free Monday is a great way to help your body and the environment by cutting down your consumption of white and red meats just once a week.
We’re not saying that you have to go cold turkey (mind the meat pun), but substituting meat for a plant-based option such as beans, lentils or tofu can improve your personal health as well as the health of the planet.
By going meat-free once a week, you can;
We understand that creating meat-free recipes out of thin air isn’t easy for everyone, that’s why we’ve put together some of the Dandenong Market Management Office’s favourite plant-based meals.
If you’re not a kitchen fanatic – never fear – try swapping out a meat-based lunch for a vegetarian takeaway dish at the Market. Some of our favourites include tofu Hokkien noodles from Little Asia, aloo Tikki chaat from Downtown Punjab, a falafel wrap from King of Falafel and spinach and feta gözleme from Shish Delish.
Check out four of our favourite vegetarian recipes below – we promise they’re delicious and flavoursome.
Peanut butter bowl
1 frozen banana
½ cup oat/almond milk
2 tbsp peanut butter
1 scoop chocolate protein powder (optional)
Blend all ingredients until smooth, adding more milk if too thick. Depending on the power of your blender, some may find it difficult to blend the frozen bananas. If you’re having trouble, push the bananas towards the blades and stir occasionally.
Top with seasonal fruit, granola, coconut flakes and some extra peanut butter if you’re feeling nutty!
Green mac and cheese
4 cups fresh spinach, packed
½ cup fresh parsley
2 ½ cups milk, divided
4.5 L water
1 tablespoon salt
450g elbow macaroni
¼ cup butter
¼ cup flour
2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 teaspoons onion powder
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon salt
450g cheddar cheese
½ cup mozzarella cheese
Combine spinach, parsley, and ½ cup milk in a food processor until evenly mixed.
In a large pot, bring water and 1 tbsp salt to a boil over high heat. Add the elbows and cook until al dente, roughly 6-7 minutes. Rinse with cold water and drain.
In a large pot, combine the butter and flour on medium-high heat, and stir until the mixture has become golden brown.
Add 2 cups (470 ml) milk, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, pepper, and salt to the pot and stir until well incorporated.
Add in the cheddar cheese and mix until well incorporated.
Add in the spinach mixture and stir until fully incorporated and the green colour is consistent.
Mix in the pasta and pour into a casserole dish.
Top the macaroni with mozzarella and broil for 5 minutes.
3/4 cup dried brown lentils (or sub 2 cups precooked or canned)
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 medium onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, divided and minced
1 cup rolled oats
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon soy sauce or tamari
1 1/2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon black pepper, or to taste
If using dried lentils, place them into a small saucepan and cover them with water. (If your lentils are canned or precooked, skip to step 5.)
Place the pan over high heat and bring the water to a boil.
Allow the lentils to boil, uncovered, for about 20 minutes, until they’re tender but not mushy.
Remove the pot from the heat and drain the water. Give the lentils a quick rinse in cold water.
Lightly coat the bottom of a medium pan with oil and place it over medium heat.
When the oil is hot, add the onion and sauté for about 5 minutes, or until soft.
Add 2 cloves of garlic and sauté for about 1 minute more, then remove from the heat.
Preheat the oven to 200° and lightly oil a baking sheet.
Place the oats into the bowl of a food processor and blend to a powder.
Add the cooked lentils, cooked onion and garlic, the remaining raw garlic, tomato paste, soy sauce, red wine vinegar, oregano, thyme, basil, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper to the food processor and pulse a few times. Too much pulsing can cause the mixture to become too mushy.
Roll the mixture into 1-inch balls (about 24 of them), and arrange them on the baking sheet or in the pan.
Lightly brush or spray the balls with about 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
Bake for about 25 minutes, until firm and lightly browned, flipping the balls about halfway through.
Serve with your favourite sauce and pre-made zoodles.
1 tsp dried chilli flakes
3 tsp mustard seeds
2 branches of fresh curry leaves
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 tsp fenugreek
1 tsp fresh minced ginger
1 green chilli fresh
1 vegetable stock cube
1 Spanish onion, diced
1 cup red or yellow lentils
1 tomato diced
Olive oil (2 tbsp)
Water 1-2 cups
Heat oil in a medium pan on high and temper mustard seeds, dried chilli and curry leaves.
Add and sauté onions, green chilli, garlic, ginger and salt and turn heat down.
Then, add lentils and dry spices and stock cube before cooking for 2 minutes (stir continuously)
Add water and cook until lentils are tender (stirring frequently). Once tender, remove from heat and stir through tomatoes. Enrich with butter if desired.
1 can four bean mix
1 red capsicum, diced
1 onion, diced
1 cup diced tomatoes
1/3 cup sour cream
1 cup corn kernels
2 cloves of garlic, minced
20ml olive oil
2 tsp chilli flakes
1 tsp dried coriander
200g brown rice
Cook the rice in a large saucepan of water for 12 minutes or until tender.
Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add onions, garlic and capsicum, stirring for 4-5 minutes.
Once onions are soft, add mixed beans, tomatoes, coriander, 1 tsp chilli flakes and ¾ cup of water. Bring the mixture to the boil before reducing the heat to love and covering for five minutes or until mixture is thick.
Char corn with 1 tsp chilli flakes in a separate pan.
Separate rice into four bowls, top with bean mixture, avocado, corn and sour cream.