Studies have shown that going meatless once a week may reduce your risk of preventable conditions such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity. Moreover, it can also help reduce one’s carbon footprint by sidestepping the use of resources including water and fossil fuels. A reduction of personal meat consumption by 15% will have direct improvement to one’s health, according to a non-profit initiative known as Meatless Monday, which is being conducted in association with the Johns Hopkins’ Bloomberg School of Public Health.
Turns out the selection of Monday as a meat-free weekday isn’t arbitrary, but rather has historical provenance dating back to World War I when the U.S. Food administration encouraged the reduction of meat consumption and other staples to aid the war effort (apparently, there was also “Wheatless Wednessday”). Then-President Herbert Hoover led the nation in weekly abstinence from meat products with resounding success. Contemporary acolytes include such doyennes of domesticity as Oprah Winfrey and Martha Stewart.
MeatlessMondays.com provides dozens of recipes for those interested in kicking the cow and passing on the poultry on Mondays, including this delectable Farro Salad with Roasted Mushrooms and Parmesan, that comes courtesy of Food52.com
- 1 cup uncooked farro
- 1/2 pound wild mushrooms (use a mix of your favorites)
- Olive oil
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1/4 cup finely chopped or crumbled parmesan (not grated - you want a slightly coarser texture here)
- 1/4 cup roughly chopped parsley
- Heat the oven to 350 degrees. In a medium saucepan, combine the farro and enough cold water to cover it by about an inch. Soak for 20 minutes. Drain well and return the farro to the pan, again covering it with cold water. Add a few generous pinches of salt and bring to a boil over high heat. Lower the heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes, until the farro is tender but still has some bite. Ask a question about this step.
- While the farro is cooking, wipe and trim the mushrooms and then cut them into bite-sized pieces. Arrange them on a rimmed baking sheet and drizzle generously with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, and toss gently to distribute everything; spread the mushrooms out evenly on the baking sheet and put in the oven for about 20 minutes, stirring halfway through, until crisp around the edges and cooked through. Ask a question about this step.
- When the farro is cooked, drain it well and spread it on a clean baking sheet to cool. Do the same with the mushrooms once they are cooked. When the farro and mushrooms are close to room temperature, or just barely warm, combine them in a serving bowl. Add the lemon juice and 6 tablespoons of olive oil, tossing gently to combine. Then add the parmesan, parsley and a generous grinding of pepper and fold gently. Taste and add more salt and pepper if necessary. Serve at room temperature.