Meatless Mondays were first introduced by the US Food Administration during World War I because meat and other staple food items were being exhausted. Nearly 13 million families signed on. The campaign was continued during World War II by President Roosevelt and then by President Harry Truman in post-war restoration efforts.
Meatless Mondays have become a way of life. And it's not only those who already opt for meat-free menus for health, religious or ethical issues, but for those who enjoy their veggies. Today, spaghetti, stir-fries, stews, soups, barbecues, salads, burritos, chilis, curries, lasagne, kebabs, burgers, tacos, bagels and risotto can be delicious meatless everyday options.
Pasta’s popularity has soared in the last 20 years. Boiled, drained and combined with a quality commercially-prepared sauce plus a few of your own additions such as diced capsicums, olives, feta cheese and mushrooms — dinner can be on the table in 20 minutes.
Quicker preparation and cooking time is one reason for most meatless meals — economy may be another. But whatever the reason, we have such a wide choice of local and international foods and cooking styles available that no meal without meat need be the same for at least 365 days — or longer!
BOMBAY CRUST-FREE VEGETABLE QUICHE
Can be cooked ahead and reheated. Seed the chilli if preferred.
400g small new potatoes eg perlas
200g baby spinach
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 onion, halved and thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon each: ground coriander, cumin, turmeric
1 green chilli, diced
3 large tomatoes, roughly chopped
salt and pepper to taste
4 large eggs
3/4 cup each: cream, milk
Slice the potatoes into 5mm-thick rounds. Boil until just tender. Drain and leave to steam-dry. Rinse the spinach then microwave until limp.
Preheat the oven to 160°C. Lightly oil a 26cm flan dish about 5cm deep.
Heat the oil in a non-stick frying pan. Sauté the onion until softened. Stir in the garlic, spices, chilli and cook for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes and spinach. Season. Cook for 3 minutes.
Lightly beat the eggs, cream and milk together. Season.
Place a layer of potatoes on the base of the flan dish. Sprinkle with half the spice mixture. Repeat the layers. Pour the egg combo over the top. Use a fork to lift the veggies to ensure the egg mixture runs through them.
Bake for about 50 minutes until the egg in the centre is just set. Stand for 5 minutes before serving. Serves 4-5.
SUMMER CORN BAKE
6-7 thin slices brown bread
1 onion, diced
1 cup fresh or frozen whole kernel corn
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/2 cups milk
salt, pepper and chilli powder to taste
3/4 cup shredded tasty Cheddar cheese
Remove the crusts from the bread. Cut each slice in half diagonally.
Brush a 23-25cm baking dish with oil. Line with the bread, standing the points over the rim of the dish.
Sauté the onion in a small pan in the remaining oil for 2 minutes. Add the corn. Continue cooking for another 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Spoon into the baking dish. Combine the eggs, milk and seasonings and slowly pour over the corn. Stand for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 180°C.
Top the corn mixture with the cheese. Bake for 40 minutes or until set. Excellent served as a lunch or a light meal. Serves 4.
CAPSICUMS WITH CHICKPEAS & TZATZIKI
Prepare and bake just before serving. Tzatziki can also be used as a dip.
1 each: onion, green capsicum, diced
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tomatoes, diced
diced chilli, salt and pepper to taste
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
1 cup each: cooked chickpeas, cooked long-grain rice, grated tasty cheddar cheese
4 medium red capsicums
spray olive oil
Tzatziki: 1 cup grated cucumber
3/4 cup Greek-style yoghurt
1 tablespoon each: lemon juice, finely chopped mint, olive oil
1 clove garlic, crushed
Preheat the oven to 200°C.
Sauté the onion and green capsicum in the oil, until softened. Add the tomatoes and cook for 2 minutes. Season with the chilli, salt, pepper and thyme. Add the chickpeas, rice and cheese and mix well.
Halve the red capsicums and remove the seeds. Spray with oil. Microwave for 2 minutes then cool. Fill with the chick pea mixture and place in a heat-proof pan.
Combine the ingredients for the tzatziki. Spoon over the filling and spray with oil. Bake for 15-20 minutes until hot and starting to brown. Serves 4.