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Meatless Monday – Week 1 : Challenge 1

, Meatless Monday – Week 1 : Challenge 1
Vegetarian Tagine served with Fennel and Orange Salad

In my last blog post, I mentioned I would post our family challenge each week to our supportive and wonderful facebook community in hope that you would join us. The weekly challenge’s will have a positive impact on our health, on our planet and or on our families. The challenge for week 1 is ‘Meatless Monday’ and here is a little info for you :

Why Meatless Monday?………………..

Health Benefits

Going without meat one day a week is actually good for our health. Most of us eat more meat and protein-rich foods than our bodies really need to stay healthy. Limiting your intake of meat while increasing our intake of fresh fruits and vegetables has great health benefits:

  • Reduces the risk of chronic preventable disease such as heart disease, cancer and diabetes
  • Prevents obesity
  • Maintains health so you feel great inside and out

Knowing what to substitute in place of meat so you gain all the health benefits is important. A higher intake of fresh (preferably organic) fruits, vegetables, breads, cereals, grains, and meat alternatives such as legumes, seeds, nuts and tofu gives us better overall health.

Enviromental Benefits

There is an urgent need to reduce global carbon emissions to slow the rate of climate change and protect the environment. Livestock production generates more of the world’s greenhouse gases than transport.

We have the potential to save our planet and it’s precious resources. Below are just some of the benefits to the planet by going meatless:

  •  Minimises water usage
  • Reduces methane emissions that contribute to global warming
  • Reduces your carbon footprint
  • Helps reduce fossil fuel dependence

By making a simple change in what we eat, we are taking part in a campaign where what is good for us is also good for our planet.

What to cook? 

Here is a little Vegetarian number from one of the Relish Mama cooking class, which is packed full of flavour and goodness and might help get you started and get you excited about Meatless Monday. It is gorgeous the next day too (cook today & you are a leg up already for the challenge and tomorrow night’s dinner). There are a few other delicious meatless recipes under the Vegetarian section of this Blog – I hope you enjoy. I really look forward to your comments and potentially a few great photos of you and your friends or family getting on board. Happy cooking to you all!

Vegetarian tagine of pumpkin & chickpeas
Serves 6

Colourful, rich and spicy stews from Morocco are a wonderful example of dishes that savour and celebrate the vegetable. This dish is beautifully rich and aromatic – a little sweet from the pumpkin and  wonderfully vibrant in colour – just like Morocco itself.

1 cup chickpeas, soaked overnight (if in a hurry, substitute for good quality tinned variety)
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp butter
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, sliced
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground coriander
1 cinnamon stick
1 teaspoon of ras el hanout- optional (‘top of the shop’ spice mix available from all Middle eastern food stores)
1/4 tsp dried chilli flakes
1/4 tsp saffron threads, steeped in 100ml hot water
300g pumpkin, peeled and cut into large pieces
200g cauliflower, broken in to florets
2 waxy potatoes, peeled and cut in half
400g (1 average tin) good  quality tinned tomatoes
A good handful of green beans, trimmed and halved
1 wedge of preserved lemon, rind only, rinsed and diced

To serve:
Steamed cous cous or rice
Natural yoghurt
Chopped coriander leaves

Put the soaked and drained chickpeas in a saucepan with plenty of cold water and boil for 30 minutes (they wont be cooked all the way through just yet but this is fine). Drain.

In a large saucepan, heat the oil and butter and cook the onion and garlic until soft and lightly golden. Add the spices (except saffron), cook for a couple of minutes, then add the partially cooked chickpeas, saffron, pumpkin, potatoes, tomatoes and just enough water to cover. Season with salt and simmer gently until the potatoes are almost soft (about 30-40 minutes). Add the beans and preserved lemon and cook for 5 more minutes or until the potatoes and pumpkin are soft (but not mushy).

Serve with cous cous or rice and a dollop of yoghurt and some freshly chopped coriander. Whilst enough on it’s own, a Fennel and orange salad is very refreshing, served alongside.

Fennel  & Orange Salad 
Serves 4-6

1 large fennel bulb or use 3 small baby fennel
1 orange
Extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper
Remove the stems from1 large or 3 small baby fennel and reserve the fronds. Cut the bulbs in
half and slice very fine with a sharp knife or mandolin. You can leave the fennel in a water bath
with a squeeze of lemon if you are doing a little ahead of time to ensure the fennel doesn’t

Peel the orange, using a sharp knife and ensure you also remove the bitter white pith and you
are just left with the flesh. Reserve any juices. Cut the orange into segments.
Place the fennel in a large bowl and toss with the orange segments. Dress the salad with the oil, toss and season with sea salt and pepper.


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