Eat more veggies and save the planet...

Susanna M. Carey

To get in the spirit of Earth Day, I decided to pick a recipe from our 1PlanetRead for April, Food is the Solution.

There is a lot of bad news out there about our planet, but I take inspiration from positive calls to action that focus on what I CAN do. I can transition to a plant-based diet. I can eat MORE vegetables. By choosing to buy and eat more vegetables, I can have an impact in the same way I have an impact by going to the polls on election day and voting the issues that are important.

It’s easy for me, or anyone, to think my choice or my vote will not make a difference. That individual actions do not lead to or affect collective action. But it’s wrong thinking.

Food is the Solution, by Matthew Prescott, has 80 delicious recipes that seem pretty easy to execute and provide weeks of meal options that are good for my family and good for the planet. I have two picky eaters in my house, so I need to plan and cook with them in mind. This book is a great guide and tool that makes cooking healthy and delicious foods that are good for the environment easy.

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With lots of choices, I decided first on the Roasted Root Vegetable and Quinoa Salad. I was confident that this salad, loaded with sweet potatoes, russet potatoes, parsnips, carrots, and quinoa, would be tasty and filling.

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Armed with my reusable bulk food and produce bags designed and made by 1Planet friend, Green Upward, I set out for the grocery store. Choosing to use Gabriella’s bags, instead of the plastic bags provided in the produce department, is another way I can have an impact as a consumer. The bags are manufactured in Virginia of high-quality organic cotton, with clean and simple designs. And each bag’s weight and instructions for care are printed on the label.  

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I loaded up my bags with all the fresh ingredients needed to make the salad and checked out without a hitch.

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Per the recipe instructions, I made the quinoa first (I used organic tricolor quinoa for extra color), cooking it in vegetable stock for extra taste and setting it aside after all the stock was absorbed. Took about 20 minutes to complete step. 

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Then I got to work cubing the parsnips, sweet potatoes, russet potatoes, and carrots. Really love the colors in this salad. And the “meaty” quality of the vegetables makes it super satisfying. I added the olive oil, salt, coriander, and cumin and stirred to coat before spreading on a parchment lined baking sheet. The recipe instructs you to roast veggies for 15 minutes in a 400 oven, but I found it took longer than 15 minutes to get the vegetables to level of doneness I wanted. Probably 30 minutes or so, checking every 5 minutes. The recipe also instructs you to add chopped raw almonds and roast for another 10 minutes. I skipped that step and added the raw almonds at the end when I dressed the salad.

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After veggies were cooked to my liking, I started assembling. You can combine all the ingredients and toss for more of a salad type dish, or you can arrange as a macro bowl, which is what I did. I put about 1 cup of arugula in a section of each individual bowl, the cooked quinoa in another, and finally the vegetables.  Then I dressed the bowl with the tahini dressing and the chopped almonds. I skipped the pomegranate seeds because I can’t do seeds. : (

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The roasted veggie salad was a huge hit in my house, and I have since made the Sourdough Panzanella and Blackened Brussel Sprouts and received similar rave reviews from my best and worst critics.

Making this recipe, shopping for fresh ingredients with reusable bags, and serving healthy  food to my family are just a few ways my everyday decisions can help save the planet.