Meatless March: 4 tips for meatless meals
These days, more and more people are seeking the health benefits of a diet rich in plant-based foods.
With March being a “meat-free month”, Royal Palm Hotel’s Executive Chef, Qhawe Tshabalala provides some tips on how to experiment with meatless meals.
Tshabalala says it’s important to have some flexibility in your food choices so you don’t end up despising the experience.
Track one of the key nutrients you need to watch. Check-in on your calcium levels, plan to boost your iron intake or ramp up your Omega-3 levels.
Take a cooking challenge. If you're someone who doesn’t like to cook, take this month as a chance to get more comfortable in the kitchen.
If you're new to meatless meals, start small, with just one night a week, and work up to more meals on more days.
If you're someone who says you could, not eat meat, I'm not going to pressure you to give it up. That's your decision. However, you could use this month as a chance to eat more vegetables and whole grains.
Below is a tasty recipe to wet your vegetarian appetite.
Roasted Vegetable Salad with Garlic Dressing
1 head garlic
5 tbsp olive oil divided
1 bunch carrots scrubbed and peeled
1 bunch beets scrubbed and trimmed
1 bunch spinach
1 tsp lemon juice
¼ cup raw pumpkin seeds
Sea salt to taste
Black pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Cut the top quarter off the head of garlic and drizzle with ½ tablespoon olive oil. Wrap it in foil and set it in a small oven-proof dish. Bake it for 20 minutes. Remove it from the oven and keep it wrapped to cool. It will continue to cook as it cools.
Turn the oven up to 425 degrees.
While the garlic roasts bring a pot of water to a boil. Blanch the carrots in the boiling water for 2 minutes. Then add the beets and boil for 8 to 10 minutes. Remove them with a slotted spoon and run under cold water. At this point, the skins should easily peel off the beets by using your finger. Use a peeler if needed for tougher skins.
Halve the carrots and quarter the beets. Arrange them on a baking sheet. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Roast for 20 minutes, flipping vegetables halfway through.
Arrange the chard on another baking sheet. Drizzle with ½ tablespoon oil and a pinch of salt, and rub it all over the leaves. Roast for 5 minutes, or just until the leaves have softened and become slightly browned.
Next, make the dressing. Squeeze the roasted garlic out of its papery skin and into a small mixing bowl. Mix in lemon juice and add a pinch of salt. Next, whisk in the remaining 3 tablespoons of olive oil and combine until smooth.
Lastly, toast the pumpkin seeds in a small skillet over medium heat. Cook, while flipping almost constantly for 2 minutes or until they start to pop. Sprinkle with salt.
To serve, toss the carrots and beets with the garlic dressing. On a large platter, layer roasted chard on the bottom, then the carrots and beets, a drizzle more of garlic dressing then sprinkle on the pumpkin seeds, black pepper and more salt if desired.