Did you know your kitchen accounts for a third of your home’s energy use? And much of that is due to cooking. As a mom and avid foodie, I spend most of my time in the kitchen; cooking meals and testing recipes, prepping snacks, clearing up and the list goes on. With so much time spent in the heart of our home, it’s a great opportunity to ponder on how we, as a family, can become more eco-friendly.
Taking care of the planet doesn’t have to mean becoming vegan or growing your own vegetable garden. There are simple steps you can take to make your meals more environmentally-friendly.
If Earth Day is inspiring you to take action to better care for the planet, discover 14 nutritious and mouthwatering recipes that are eco-friendly – to help you dine more mindfully.
This refreshing, light, yet satisfying Quinoa Mung Bean Salad will definitely help to energize you through any meatless Monday. Eating more pulses, like beans, is a powerful way to take care of 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 ½ to ⅓ of the amount of water that it takes to produce other sources of protein.
This is a dessert dream. With no added sugar, this Blueberry Slush is cooling, refreshing and 4-year old approved! It’s served in papaya boats and topped with your favourite toppings. I buy frozen fruits (as much as possible) to prevent food wastage, which can help save landfill space and the energy required to grow, transport and sell food.
Done and dusted in under 30 minutes, this simple Asparagus Tomato Quinoa Salad is rich in taste; infused with flavours from peppers, garlic and cumin. Not only is this recipe perfect as a meatless Monday meal, it’s 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 everyday – to wash, cook and clean. You’ll certainly be saving heaps of water cooking this recipe!
Perfect for times when your pantry is low in ingredients and you just need something quick and simple. This vegetarian kebab recipe is packed with protein and rich in flavour! 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.
Enticing Stuffed Zucchini Boats, that are super- yummy and packed with nutrition. These adorable boats are the perfect way to have fun with kids in the kitchen! Discover how to turn a simple vegetable into a delicious, and satisfying dish with an easy filling of sautéed onion, garlic, tomatoes, quinoa, and brown lentils. 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.
Nothing shouts weekend than homemade pancakes. These Easy Fluffy Pancakes are incredibly tasty and satisfying. Made with ripened bananas and wholewheat flour, this reduced-sugar recipe is one you need in your repertoire. Cut food wastage and save money by using over-ripened food, such as bananas in baking.
These Eggplant Chickpea Wraps with goji berries take their cue from the Middle East. Fresh, filling and fabulous; they’re perfect to keep you ticking along on busy days. The addition of sumac and goji berries transforms this recipe into one that’s exotic, tangy and flavourful. 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 encourage us to use leftovers and compost because “Decomposing food in landfills emits methane, a potent greenhouse gas that causes climate change.”
This 5-minute Superfood Green Smoothie is a nourishing bowl of green goodness. Delightfully refreshing and perfectly sweet – with no added sweeteners and dairy-free. What a quick, simple and delicious way to get your greens! Did you know the water footprint of cow’s milk is more than three times that of soy milk -1,050 liters compared to 297 liters according to a dutch study, published in 2012? Replacing cow’s milk with soy milk would not only be a wise choice for water preservation, it’s also a positive way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Cozy up with a warm bowl of this hearty Superfood Vegetarian Chilli recipe. Chock full of vegetables and spices, you’ll surely enrich your health with a flood of healing nutrients. Perfect as a make-ahead one pot wonder that’s also freezer-friendly. 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.
To boost your gut health and reduce the need for stovetop or oven energy, incorporate some raw foods into your diet. For something a little different, try my DIY Lacto-Fermented Mixed Vegetables recipe, to give your body some much-needed probiotics.
Inspired by the traditional rice pilau, this enticing and super-nourishing Quinoa Vegetable Pilau or “Qui-lau” is bursting with flavour and so simple to pull off. Infused with the aroma of cumin, coriander and garam masala, this recipe is a keeper! Traditionally pilau is made with Basmati rice, which requires a lot of fossil fuels in getting to your plate. It’s a type of long grain rice, the husk of which is removed, and then it goes through a second stage of processing to polish it. This Quilau is certainly a eco-friendly option.
This Pumpkin-Bean Burger is vegan, hearty, wholesome, and 100% yummy! It’s also freezer friendly and a perfect lunchbox option. We make the 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 needed to transport, refrigerate and store, as well as more packaging to ensure its freshness.
Here’s one loaded salad coming at ya! Kala Chana, aka dark chickpeas are tossed in a delicious blend of Indian spices, lemon juice, and fresh herbs to create a simple, yet irresistible dish – perfect meatless dish for breakfast, lunch or anytime really! Cutting your food in 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.
This Chickpea Kale Curry with Spaghetti Squash makes for a simple, flavorful, and satisfying meal. Eating more vegetables is a great way to drastically curb emissions and boost your health. According to United Nations University, twenty servings of vegetables have fewer greenhouse gas emissions than one serving of beef.
What are some of your best tips for eco-friendly cooking? Have you tried any of these recipes? Share with me in the comments below.