Mindful Eating: 15 Eco-Friendly Recipes
We all know we should be doing our part to save the planet. But what does that mean when it comes to food? It can be easy to get overwhelmed with all the different eco-friendly choices. Here are 15 eco-friendly recipes to help you get started on your sustainable living journey.
Did you know that your kitchen consumes a third of the energy used in your home? And much of it is due to cooking. As a registered dietitian and busy mom, I spend most of my time in the kitchen. Therefore, I’ve had to get creative in order to prepare my favourite meals in an environmentally responsible manner.
We all have a duty to look after planet Earth, so one approach is incorporating more eco-friendly recipes into our diet. Because when we eat sustainable foods, we reduce our carbon footprint and help preserve the planet for future generations.
What’s more, by eating more whole food plant based dishes (WFPB), we are also doing our bodies a favour. WFPB recipes are not only eco-friendly but they are packed with nutrients and antioxidants that help support our immune system and protect us from chronic conditions like diabetes, heart disease and some types of cancers.
So if you’re looking to take steps toward sustainable living, start with these eco-friendly recipes. They are delicious, good for the planet and many of them are also diabetes diet friendly and heart smart as well.
1. Quinoa Mung Bean Salad
Eating more pulses, like beans, is a powerful way to care for the environment. Pulses are a low carbon footprint food, meaning that farmers need to add little or no nitrogen fertilizer. What’s more, pulses use half to one-third of the water it takes to produce other protein sources.
Kale and Quinoa Salad
2. Massaged Kale Salad With Spicy Roasted Chickpeas
Kale is regarded as a sustainable crop since there are no known long-term impacts on the environment, such as air, water, land, soil, forests, etc. – as long as pesticides have not been used.
30-Minute Massaged Kale Salad With Spicy Chickpeas
3. Warm Asparagus Tomato Quinoa Salad
This recipe is perfect as a meatless Monday meal, but it’s also all done in one pan for easy prep and cleanup – using less water! According to Friends of the Earth, the average household uses 150 litres of water daily to wash, cook and clean. You’ll certainly be saving heaps of water cooking this recipe!
Warm Asparagus Tomato Quinoa Salad | Easy, One-Pot, Spring Dish
4. Black Bean & Sweet Potato Vegetarian Kebabs
By eating less meat, you’re helping to slash water usage drastically because taking care of animals for meat and dairy is incredibly water-intensive.
Vegan Kebab Recipe
5. Quinoa Lentil Stuffed Zucchini Boats
Like beans, lentils are pulses that support soil health by feeding microorganisms in the earth. This benefits other crops that grow in rotation with pulses.
Quinoa Lentil Stuffed Zucchini Boats
6. Easy Fluffy Pancakes
Cut food wastage and save money by using over-ripened food, such as bananas, in baking.
Desi-licious Fluffy Pancakes Recipe
7. Air Fryer Eggplant and Chickpeas Salad
Can you believe it’s made from leftovers? According to the Environmental Protection Agency, food wastage is the number one material sent to landfills and incinerators, which is more than plastic and metal combined. The EPA encourages us to use leftovers and compost because “Decomposing food in landfills emits methane, a potent greenhouse gas that causes climate change.”
Healthy Air Fryer Eggplant And Chickpeas Salad
8. Superfood Green Smoothie Bowl
Did you know the water footprint of cow’s milk is more than three times that of soy milk -1,050 litres compared to 297 litres, according to a Dutch study published in 2012? Replacing cow’s milk with soy milk would be a wise choice for water preservation and a positive way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
5-Minute Green Smoothie with Wheatgrass
9. Superfood Vegetarian Chili
Cooking in bulk is a great way to be more eco-friendly. I double (even treble) this recipe and freeze it to reduce water and energy usage in my kitchen.
The Best Healthy Chili Recipe You’ll Ever Eat
10. DIY Lacto-Fermented Mixed Vegetables
Incorporate more gut healing foods into your diet to boost your gut health and reduce the need for stovetop or oven energy. For something a little different, try my DIY Lacto-Fermented Mixed Vegetables recipe to give your body some much-needed probiotics.
Health Promoting Easy Fermented Vegetable Recipe
11. Gluten free Quinoa Vegetable Pilau
Traditionally pilau is made with Basmati rice, which requires a lot of fossil fuels to get to your plate. It’s a type of long grain rice, the husk of which is removed, and then it goes through the second stage of processing to polish it. This Quilau is certainly an eco-friendly option.
Vegetarian Quinoa Pilau Recipe
12. Pumpkin-Bean Burger With Chilli Avocado Mash
We make an effort to buy seasonal local produce, such as pumpkins. Food that’s travelled across the world to get to your plate has a much higher impact on the environment; more energy is needed to transport, refrigerate and store, as well as more packaging to ensure freshness.
Desi Pumpkin Bean Burger
13. Kala Chana Chaat (Black Chickpea Salad)
Cutting your food into smaller pieces – as a strategy to reduce cooking time is a good way to minimize energy usage in your kitchen. What’s more, you’ll save on time and bills and manage to feed your hungry family a lot faster.
Quick Kala Chana Chaat (Black Chickpea Salad)
14. Chickpea Kale Curry with Spaghetti Squash
Being a “rainfed” crop, chickpeas don’t require significant amounts of water, and like other legumes, they enhance soil health by fixing nitrogen. This can favour crop rotation, meaning a more sustainable model of agriculture.
Chickpea-Curry Stuffed Spaghetti Squash (Vegan)
15. Easy Lemon Pepper Salmon
Using sustainable seafood gives me peace of mind that the seafood I enjoy is certified wild and can be traced back to the fishery it came from. You can learn more about mindful eating and sustainable choices in my recent Huffpost article. This sheet pan wonder is the easiest fish recipe you’ll ever make. It’s flaky, juicy, and tangy, and you won’t believe how incredible it tastes.
Easy Lemon Pepper Salmon
What are some of your best tips for eco-friendly cooking? Have you tried any of these recipes? How do you practice mindful eating? Share with me in the comments below.
If you try these recipes, I would love to hear from you! Leave a comment, rate them, or share a photo and hashtag with #desiliciousrd on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter! I can’t wait to see your photos.
Get the Recipe:
Eco-Friendly Recipes: Eggplant And Chickpeas Salad
- 3 eggplant, Asian, washed. To prepare the eggplant, cut off the ends and then cube the eggplant into small pieces. I find it easiest to do this by cutting the eggplant in quarters lengthwise and then slicing it into cubes.
- 1½ tsp salt, sea salt
- 2 tbsp avocado oil
- 1 tsp turmeric powder
- 1 cucumber, washed, sliced into cubes
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes, washed, cut in half lengthways
- 1 cup parsley, packed cup, washed, finely chopped
- 4 cups chickpeas, canned, drained and thoroughly washed
- ½ red onion, large, finely chopped
- 1 lemon, fresh juice
- 1 tbsp sumac, powder
- 1 air fryer
- To release the moisture from the eggplant, place the cubes on a large plate or bowl, sprinkle with salt, and let them sit for 30 minutes
- After 30 minutes, use a clean dishcloth or paper towel to gently press and blot the eggplant cubes dry. This is a crucial step because if there's too much moisture on them, they won't air fry well – resulting in soggy eggplant
- Coat the cubes with avocado oil,and turmeric. Toss to coat thoroughly
- Place the eggplant in the air fryer baskets, making sure not to overcrowd the cubes. Air fry at 400F for 15-20 minutes, shaking the baskets halfway through cooking
- Once the eggplant is cooked, remove the cubes from the air fryer and place them in a large bowl
- To assemble the salad, add chickpeas, cucumber, tomatoes, parsley, onion, lemon and sumac to a large bowl and toss to combine
- Add the air fryer eggplant along with the avocado pieces and toss gently to combine. Enjoy!
- When preparing eggplant, cut it into small cubes so that they cook evenly and don’t get soggy.
- Season the eggplant with salt, avocado oil and turmeric (or your desired spices) for extra flavour.
- You want to cook the eggplant in batches to avoid overcrowding the air fryer basket. This will help ensure that they cook evenly and get crispy.
- If you’re using canned chickpeas, drain and rinse them well before adding them to the salad.
- Add fresh herbs like parsley, mint or cilantro (coriander) for extra flavour.
Keep in mind that the nutritional values provided are approximations and suggestions. This nutrition facts table cannot account for your individual needs. Your body — including your hunger and satiety cues — change daily. It’s perfectly fine to eat more or less on different days. Instead of letting food guilt take over, consider mindful eating.
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
truly like this article please keep it up
my absolute pleasure:)
Hey Shehzadi! Your blog is so inspiring. You outlined everything so well. Thank you for this and keep up the good work.
Am so grateful, Sakshi! Super kind of you to say – thanks! Enjoy 🙂
Ah!!! Thank you so much!! This is going to be a huge help in my house! One Omnivore and one Alpha-gal. We need a new mix as I navigate through my new mammalian meat allergy. So many thanks!!
Oh, am thrilled to hear that! Enjoy 🙂
Thank you, Shahzadi! I have learned a lot from this post and been inspired.
Awww, that’s incredible to hear! Thank you for sharing this xx