Resolution: Eat Less Meat Recipe

Meat Lite

Mostly vegetarian dishes with just a touch of meaty accent.

Resolution: Eat Less Meat Recipe

[Photographs: Tara Mataraza Desmond]

Joy and I have been around here for a while as authors of the Meat Lite column, offering recipes that go easy on the meat, inspired by the ones we created for our book, Almost Meatless. Cooking and eating this way is second nature for us. Neither of us thinks of it as a diet but rather as a completely delicious and satisfying philosophy on eating meat consciously. We love meat-lite meals for the variety they bring to our tables.

The top of the year is a perfect time to get on the bandwagon with us. There's a lot of noise in January about committing to losing weight, getting healthy, saving money, doing good, but most of us confess to losing steam by February. If any or all of the above are included on your list of 2010 resolutions, rest assured knowing that adopting a Meat Lite approach to eating covers all the bases. But you'll be having too much fun discovering new ingredients, and you'll be too full to feel like changing the way you live with food has been any effort or sacrifice at all.

An Almost Meatless or Meat Lite philosophy will save you money. Meat is expensive, so if you cut back on how much you use, you'll notice a marked decline in your grocery and dining budget. Better quality meat, like beef or pork sourced from a local, small farm that follows sustainable practices, costs more than supermarket meat from factory farms. Recipes like the ones we develop for Meat Lite call for small quantities of better quality meat, sparing your wallet but promoting the benefits of purchasing and eating good food.

A diet centered on plants and grains is healthier for people and the planet. Minimizing the meat we eat has been proven to maximize wellness in the forms of weight loss, heart disease decline, diabetes elimination and countless other ailment eradications. We're not talking about vegetarianism here; we're simply promoting less meat. Plus, if we collectively cut back on the amount of meat we consume, we can contribute to a major reduction of carbon emissions that are the byproducts of meat production.

When Joy and I wrote our book, we took plenty from the pages of cookbooks of world cuisine. Other countries are better at cooking just a bit of meat for texture, flavor and nutrients along with plenty of non-meat ingredients. It's not about abstinence or trickery (we don't use a lot of faux-meat products), it's about technique and good food.

Some Meat Lite favorites you may have missed or forgotten about are linked to below. Here's to an appetizing (and healthy, slim, prosperous, environmentally sound) 2010.

Rich Comfort Foods

Cooking with What's In Season

Discovering Whole Grains

Mastering (and Inventing) Technique

Using Eggs as the Perfect Food They Are

Celebrating the World's Flavors in Less meat Meals