Australians eat lots of meat. In fact, on average, we are consuming around 100 kilograms of meat per person across the course of a year. That’s far more than the world average of forty kilograms, but it’s also more than dieticians recommend as being good for us.
So, for the average Australian, it’s healthy to reduce the amount of meat you eat. But the good news is you don’t have to give up meat entirely. Just cutting out meat once a week by having a meat-free Monday can help to get you on the right track.
The secret to meat-free meals that are delicious, sustaining and appealing is to make sure the texture of the dish is interesting and the mouthfeel of the dish is ‘full’. You can do this by making sure there are plenty of good fats (like the ones in macadamias) in your dish, as well as plenty of flavour and a good element of crunch.
Here are our favourite ways to do meat-free Mondays with macadamias:
Have dinner on the table in less than half an hour with this Macadamia Basil Pesto. Simply toss through warm pasta and serve with extra parmesan cheese. For a low-carb alternative, this mouth-watering Roast Vegetable, Chilli and Macadamia Feta Zoodles recipe is totally delicious.
For a gluten-free option try Macadamia Fried Rice, which is quick to pull together with leftover rice from the weekend, or Pumpkin and Macadamia Risotto (just use vegetable stock instead of chicken stock to be truly meat-free). And this delicious Brown Rice Mushroom Risotto with Macadamia Cheese takes meat-free dining to a whole new level. It’s entirely vegan but full of robust flavour and texture.
This Beetroot, Goats Cheese and Macadamia Tart is perfect in the colder months when you are hankering for hearty, winter flavours and delicious smells wafting from the oven. The zesty dressing adds complexity to the meat-free meal. A quiche or a goat’s cheese tart can be made ahead of time for the Mondays when you are pressed for time. Make it on Sunday and keep it in the fridge so all you have to do is throw together some leafy greens as an accompaniment.
For an alternative that is just as simple, these Macadamia, Pumpkin and Blue Cheese Tarts use store-bought puff pastry so they are quick to pull together on a Monday night, but also perfect for Tuesday’s lunch box.
Don’t be afraid to double-up and have a meatless salad alongside a pasta meal or a baked tart. Alternatively, you can move the salad to centre stage and indulge in a bowl full of hearty and healthy ingredients. The ingredients that you choose can vary according to the seasons. In winter or autumn, a warm vegetable salad suits the seasonal chill, especially one with the hearty crunch of macadamias. Whether you choose a salad with a base of brussels sprouts and baby carrots, kale and lentils or simple roasted cauliflower, adding macadamias will make the dish shine so no one will think twice about the lack of meat. Similarly, this Layered Salad with Soy and Ginger Macadamias has a tasty complexity that will appeal to the stubbornest carnivore.
In summer, a Mango, Avocado and Macadamia Salad is a fresh and healthy option. With plenty of summer vegetables as well as roasted ones this Roasted Pumpkin, Goat’s Cheese and Macadamia Salad is another summer tummy pleaser. Grain salads like this Macadamia Brown Rice Salad or a Macadamia Freekah Salad are easy to prepare and make satisfying meatless meals. But don’t limit yourself to just one! A spread of salad dishes makes a mezze-style feast for meat-free Monday.
Don’t be afraid of experimenting on your meat-free Monday. This Sweet Potato, Feta and Pancetta Frittata still works without the prescribed bacon. You could experiment with using olives or sundried tomatoes instead. Likewise, chicken isn’t essential for this fettuccine recipe. Mushrooms would work just as well. It’s the crunch of macadamias that make them both so delicious.
How do macadamias inspire you on meat-free Monday? Head over to our Facebook page and let us know.