Why we should all eat meatless on Mondays

Quesadilla casserole (recipe below)

Meatless Mondays are catching on. Why should you go meatless at least one day a week?

Save the planet

The meat industry is responsible for almost 20 percent of man-made greenhouse gas emissions, as estimated by the United Nations and reported by MeatlessMonday.com. The more people cut down on meat, the less greenhouse gas emissions. Less livestock also means less strain on fresh water and less use of fossil fuel. (Update: If a family of four skips meat and cheese for one day a week for a year, it has the same impact as taking their car off the road for five weeks .)

Improve your health

Most Americans eat more animal protein than is recommended. Too much meat consumption is associated with cancer, cardiovascular disease, and obesity. Many diseases that Americans seem to have started to think of as an inevitable part of aging are not as prevalent in parts of the world that don’t eat the “Western diet” high in animal protein and processed foods. I first became aware of this issue when I read The China Study. I wrote a mini-review here.

Change your mindset

If you do not already eat any vegetarian meals, you may find that taking the opportunity to eat them at least one day a week will cause you to rethink what makes a meal. For example, I always used to picture a hunk of meat, a starch, and a vegetable when I was putting dinner together, but now that I have been eating meatless on Mondays for a few months, I have begun to picture meals differently. When I do serve meat, it is often an accent to the meal, such as some ground turkey in a sauce or a bean-based chili, rather than the centerpiece.

Show some conviction

Why Monday? It doesn’t have to be Monday. Any other day would work just as well. On the other hand, by having to abstain on a certain day when you might be presented with a meat-eating situation, you have the opportunity to think about your commitment and follow your convictions. This could also help to …

Spread the word

Make the pledge, and let others know why you’re not eating meat. Show them how easy it is.

Today’s Meatless Monday Meal

Quesadilla Casserole

  • 2 sweet potatoes, sliced and roasted
  • 2 onions, sliced and sauteed
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced and sauteed
  • 1 cup black beans
  • 1/2 cup vegetable stock (or water)
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1/2 cup enchilada sauce
  • 4 whole wheat tortillas

1. Slice and saute the onions. After about 10 minutes of cooking the onions, add the sliced red bell pepper and cook until tender. Add about half of the black beans. Add a little vegetable stock, and mash the black beans slightly. Add salt and pepper to taste.

2. Mix the remaining half of black beans and the enchilada sauce. Heat through. Mix in the cilantro.

3. Layer the casserole as follows. Tortillas, half of the onion-black bean mixture, half of the sweet potato, half of the cheese, and half of the black bean-sauce mixture. Repeat.

First layer of quesadilla casserole

4. Bake about 30 minutes at 400 degrees F.

Do you think it’s important to eat meatless at least once a week? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

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About Marcy

I blog about trying to get out of my comfort zone, completing 101 things in 1001 days, and writing my memoirs. I am a teacher and writer living in Connecticut.
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21 Responses to Why we should all eat meatless on Mondays

  1. I believe that most people could benefit from eating a bit less meat. Doing this one day a week is a no big deal thing, and allows you to get more creative and perhaps find recipes you would have never tried before.
    Americans tend to eat everything in excess, including meat of course, so why not try and slow down every so often!
    Btw this recipe looks wonderful, and a perfect way to celebrate meatless Monday :)
    Tessa @ Amazing Asset recently posted..A Wonderful Weekend! However…My Profile

  2. I agree with the principles behind this, for a couple of months I did meat-free on Tuesdays and Thursdays and it wasn’t much of a struggle at all, somehow it got lost by the way side recently – thanks for the reminder to get back on the waggon!

    You quesadila casserole sounds yummy, I’ve just noted it down to try, we love Mexican food here. Mexican food always seems to work well as a veggie meal, there’s so much flavour and texture anyway that I never miss the meat.
    Jade @ No Longer 25 recently posted..London 2011 Part III: Natural History Museum {Travel}My Profile

    • Marcy says:

      My husband and two boys have really enjoyed the meatless Mexican meals without missing the meat. I think you’re right that there is so much flavor, so it keeps people from missing the meat. I like to put out a variety of toppings and side dishes, too.

  3. This looks like a great starter recipe for Meatless Monday n00bs like myself
    thepsychobabble recently posted..Ice Cream Cone CupcakesMy Profile

  4. Your recipe is interesting. That’s the 2nd time this week I’ve seen a spicy/savory recipe with sweet potato as the main ingredient. I usually think of brown sugar when I think of sweet potatoes.
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  5. Barbara says:

    That looks delicious! We are “meatless” Monday – Friday so I’m always looking for great recipes to try out. With my son so young, I want to make sure he grows up appreciating vegetables and embracing a healthier lifestyle.
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  6. Gina says:

    I am a meat lover, but this is a great post. I am always looking for ways to make me feel and look healthy. I have to try one of these recipes. Thanks!

  7. Lynda says:

    This is a very informative post! I am eager to try new dishes period and I think a meatless day would be something fantastic for our family. The kids can take or leave meat, so this is a great opportunity to curb their appetite for it!

    This recipe sounds great. I’m going to share it with my husband and see if he wants to try it!
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  8. Erin says:

    To be honest, I’ve never really thought about going meatless for one day a week . . . until now. I think of myself as someone who cares for the environment, and I make sure my children eat healthy food, but I didn’t know much about the impact meat consumption had on the environment. Thank you for sharing. Also, the recipe looks delicious—I may try it next week on my meatless day.
    Erin recently posted..An Unplanned LifeMy Profile

  9. Buckeroomama says:

    Once a week is definitely do-able.

    I’m going to have to try out your recipe –sounds yummy!
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  10. Denice says:

    This looks yummy! I could go meatless one day a week! Visiting from SITS today =)
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  11. Kristina says:

    One of my favorite meatless meats is Morningstar grillers meal starters. I add it to tacos and I swear no one can tell the difference!
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  12. Greenderella says:

    I love the idea of a Quesadilla Casserol! Looks really tatsy!

  13. Great post, I’m not sure if I agree not eating meat will solve the greenhouse emissions. I do admire the stand and wouldn’t mind supporting the cause. Rethinking meals is the way to go. I love when all we have is a veg and chicken or fish. I always think, now why didn’t I just think of that to begin with.

    Stopping in from SITS adding my 2cents. I love your blog from just one post and lost my breath with the stretching with a huge cat picture in your header .)
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  14. sammy says:

    This looks so delicious … my boys would love this one too.
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  15. Gina says:

    We started eating meatless 2x/week as a way to save money on groceries. With our food sensitivities (no PB or gluten), it does get challenging, but I’m working on it! Thanks for the yummy recipe.

  16. Vegetarian chick here. But I’m always looking for good recipes to slip past my carnivorous husband and son; will definitely try this one.
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