This Thursday marks the 51st annual Earth Day celebration. On April 22, 1970, 20 million Americans, in what is now recognized as the planet’s largest civic event, took to the streets to demand a new way forward for our planet, effectively creating the modern climate movement. The COVID-19 pandemic means that no one will be taking to the streets this year, but we’re still hoping everyone will join us in embracing a commitment to #plantforward eating, wherever you may be.
In 2019, the EAT-Lancet Commission — 37 experts in human health, agriculture, political sciences, and environmental sustainability from 16 countries — released a headline-making, in-depth report that outlined the principles for the healthy and sustainable diet that will feed a growing population of 10 billion by 2050. The Commission confirmed the philosophy that has long guided us as a company: “A diet that includes more plant-based foods and fewer animal source foods is healthy, sustainable, and good for both people and planet. It is not a question of all or nothing, but rather small changes for a large and positive impact.”
Try one plant-forward tip each day this week for a more plant-forward you:
USE SMART TECHNIQUES
Apply cooking techniques often reserved for meats to plants:
- Grill, smoke, braise, marinate, or brown most any vegetable.
- Brine plant-based proteins such as tofu, seitan, and beans.
- Add umami from mushroom powder, bonito flakes, seaweed, kombu, and fish sauce.
MAKE FRUITS AND VEGETABLES SUPERSTARS
Use all parts of the plant and make your plate half produce:
- Get creative using the WHOLE vegetable! Pickle peels, toast seeds, and make vibrant salsas from tender tops. Never stop seeking ways to pay homage to the beauty of the entire plant.
- Fill your plate first with in-season vegetables, legumes, and whole grains, only then adding a small amount of well-seasoned meat. Add blasts of flavor with capers, olives, chilies, oyster sauce, garlic, and lots of herbs.
- Plate differently. Lay smaller slices of meat or fish on top of a plant-based dish for big flavor.
BE A BLENDER
Blend animal proteins with vegetables, whole grains, beans, and/or lentils:
- Replace half the ground beef, pork, or poultry in a recipe with roasted, chopped mushrooms and/or cooked grains.
- Combine equal parts cauliflower rice and regular rice when making fried rice.
- Stack your usual burger with a heap of grilled vegetables. You can reduce the size of your patty in half while boosting flavor, texture, and color.
Use plant-based sauces, chutneys, salsas, and dips to add flavor and interest:
- Puree cooked carrots + olive oil + herbs + garlic + your favorite spices for an all-vegetable “aioli”.
- Make an umami-packed vegan tapenade to drizzle over fish, slather on bread, or toss with pasta. Create a rough paste of olives + garlic + capers + parsley + lemon juice, then fold in some extra virgin olive oil.
- Replace the classic meat broth- and cream-based sauce with cashew sour cream. The results are creamy, nutty, and pleasingly sour, just like the original version.
TRY A NEW (PLANT-BASED) PROTEIN
Be it tofu, seitan, beans, or plant-based “meats” — try a plant protein that is new to you:
- Use beans from around the world in different colors, shapes, and sizes. They add a ton of flavor and make a great conversation starter!
- Think you don’t like tofu? Try it with your favorite marinade or sauce or blend it with seasoning as a sauce or mayo replacement.
- New plant-based “meats” come packaged as burgers, dogs, chicken, and more. Try these products in your café or at home.