Contributed by Meatless Monday Israel
Meatless Monday Israel’s strategy focuses on: recruiting the institutional sector to adopt the initiative, as we lead, guide and escort the process. Today in Israel we have over 25 organizations (over 40 different sites) which are adopting MM including Teva, Intel, Elbit, Unilever, Amdocs, IAI, Tel Aviv University, hospitals, Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Knesset Israeli parliament), Prime Minister Netanyahu residence and more.
On May 2018 we produced the first ever plant-forward professional culinary conference. 150 chefs and site managers from various catering companies, military, hotels, hospitals participated and were educated on the health benefits of a plant based diet, plus plant-forward culinary trends and tips for making plant-based entrees more attractive to their customers. The conference included an expo of 11 vendors who presented vegan solutions for the corporate dining halls.
We are raising public awareness of the environmental and health impacts of excessive meat consumption. For example Cooking Meatless Monday booklet (2017), distributed in over 130,000 copies to all Laisha readers (Israeli popular journal) and were sold to the Israel Electric Corporation to all its employees: 13,000 copies. We educate children and youth on the environmental impact of factory farming and health benefits of a plant-based diet. “Health in a Pod” for example is a program for preschools we developed that makes eating pulses familiar and fun, while educating staff and parents on sustainable food.
The programs were created in cooperation with the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Health, and are promoted by both. We drive change in the national school lunch program so one meatless day is implemented, making plant-based food alternatives attractive and easily accessible while promoting government and local policies supporting the plant-based Mediterranean diet.
Lentil Meatballs in Tomato sauce with Spinach
- 2 cups cooked green lentils, drained
- 1 cup dry lentils, prepared and cooked, drained
- 1 cup oatmeal
- 3 tbsp raw tahini
- 4-5 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
- 1 medium zucchini grated
- 1 tsp salt
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- ¼ cup olive oil, for drizzling
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 4 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
- 1 large (800g) can of tomatoes
- 1 cup water
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tbsp dried basil
- Fresh spinach leaves
- “Meatball” Mixture: Place the drained lentils in the food processor bowl.
- Add the oatmeal, tahini, garlic and mix to a stable paste (if it crumbles, continue to process). Add the zucchini, salt, pepper and process into the mixture.
- Taste – The meatball mixture should be strong in taste because the taste diminishes during baking. If necessary, add extra salt and pepper.
- Heat the oven to 180C (350F) and place a baking sheet in a baking pan.
- Create “meatballs” with the mixture and place in a baking pan. Drizzle oil over them. Bake for 30 minutes or until “meatballs” are browned.
- In the meantime, prepare the sauce: Heat the oil in a wide and large saucepan. Add the garlic and fry until it has softened slightly and it releases its fragrance. Add the crushed tomatoes, lower the heat and simmer for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally until the tomatoes soften and release their juices.
- Add the water, salt, pepper and basil, and cook for another 20 minutes.
- Transfer the “meatballs” to the pot of sauce and cook for about 10 minutes until most of the liquid is absorbed (the top of the meatballs should remain crispy and brown, outside the sauce).
- At the end, add spinach leaves. Serve immediately.
Curried Chickpeas and Raisins
- 3-4 onions, peeled and chopped
- 3 tbsps olive oil
- 4 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
- 2 tsps curry powder
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ tsp black pepper
- 3 cups cooked chickpeas
- ½ cup raisins (black or golden)
- ½ cup water
- 2 tbsps soy or miso paste
- In a large frying pan, fry the onions in the olive oil over medium heat until golden and caramelised roughly 10 to 15 minutes.
- Add the garlic and curry, cook for a minute and then add salt, pepper, chickpeas, raisins, water and soy (or miso), stir, well and bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Serve.
Spiced Tofu Stuffed Pitas
- 350g firm tofu, carved into thin strips with a peeler
- 4 tbsps olive oil
- 2 large onions, peeled and thinly sliced into half rings
- 1 carrot, peeled and carved into thin strips with a peeler
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 1 tbsp cumin
- 1 tbsp shawarma spice
- 1 tbsp sweet paprika
- Chilli pepper, to taste (optional)
- Salt, to taste
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- Parsley, chopped for garnish
- Tahini salad, to serve
- Place in a bowl the carved tofu, a teaspoon of olive oil and all the spices and stir.
- Heat the remaining olive oil in a large pan. Add the onion and fry for about 7 minutes, until golden. Add the carrots and fry while stirring for another 2 minutes.
- Add the seasoned tofu and stir well. · Cook while stirring until the tofu is golden at the edges.
- Transfer to a serving dish or place in a pita, add chopped parsley and tahini salad and serve.