WANT TO KNOW WHAT TO EAT TO SAVE THE WORLD?
Here are some recipes to get you started.
When I first became vegan in the late ’90s, these peanut butter chocolate chip cookies were one of the first desserts I learned how to bake. They’re rich and creamy, soft and sweet, and total people-pleasers. This recipe combines them with quick frozen-banana ice cream for a decadent dessert. Just be sure to freeze your bananas for at least five hours first, so they’re ready to be turned into ice cream when it’s go time.
Despite its name, buckwheat is actually not related to wheat, but rather to sorrel and rhubarb. Its seeds are the part we eat, and they’re rich in complex carbohydrates—making it a healthier option than white flour, and giving the foods we cook with it an earthier flavor and color. And this recipe for buckwheat waffles uses almond milk instead of cow’s milk, which cuts its water footprint down by 97 percent, and uses aquafaba (chickpea juice) instead of eggs, which reduces food waste and the dish’s carbon emissions.
Growing up in a mildly Jewish household, we only ate traditional Jewish foods around Passover or Hanukkah. Noodle kugel was always a must-have. Sweet, filling, and creamy, this dessert is one of my favorites. But normally, kugel is made with a laundry list of planet unfriendly ingredients—like eggs, butter, and cheese. These ingredients require large amounts of water and land, and emit huge quantities of greenhouse gasses. (Just the cheese alone emits about 13.5 kg of CO2 per serving!) So this recipe uses tofu instead—a much gentler choice, emitting only 2 kg of CO2 per serving—along with plant-based sour cream and margarine. The first time I tried it out on my mother, you can imagine I was nervous. But she loved it, our guests loved it, and the whole dish was gobbled up. Not one person was able to pass over this tasty, eco-friendly kugel.
My wife is from Pittsburgh, where pierogis are basically the city’s official food (and a way of life). Every time the Steelers are in a big game, she makes a massive plate of these delicious Polish dumplings for our friends and family. Here’s her recipe for straight-out-of-Pittsburgh vegan pierogis.
So refreshing on a hot summer day, these rolls combine fresh mint leaves and basil with tofu, cucumber, avocado along with a delightful peanut dipping sauce to make the perfect meal or side dish.
Why rely on boxed mac ‘n’ cheese when you could get a bit crafty with your mac ‘n’ cheese? This dish uses cashews for that rich, fatty flavor—combined with nutritional yeast for a cheesy taste. It’s quick, easy, healthy and better for the planet than using cow’s cheese: cashew trees are lighter on the land than cows, providing wildlife habitat and preventing erosion. So give two big, creamy thumbs up for planet-friendly pasta!
Beets are healthy, versatile, and full of iron. With a single (beef-based) burger emitting a whopping 6.8 lbs of carbon, these bloody beet burgers are lighter on the planet and oh-so-tasty to boot!
Mousse is the best! Creamy and sweet, it really is the perfect dessert. But with heavy cream and eggs, it's not the most sustainable or healthy treat. Enter: avocados! They're lighter on the planet and our waistlines, providing a creamy texture and healthy fat. Combined with maple syrup and tart key limes, you can't taste the avocado in the final product, and you can rest easy knowing you're doing something good for yourself and the planet. Yum!
Wild mushrooms, shallots, truffle oil - OMG. This flatbread recipe uses all the delicious things. With no cheese, its carbon footprint is low, and because it uses 1/2 whole wheat flour and 1/2 "regular" (white) flour, it's a blend of good and good-for-you. Enjoy!
My mother was only twelve when upstate New York’s Anchor Bar invented a new kind of hot wing. News of the new dish spread like wildfire, and it quickly became a staple throughout her hometown of Buffalo. Though she’s now vegetarian, Buffalo wingers were always on the menu at our house when I was growing up—especially on game day. But we’re a little older and a little wiser now, especially when it comes to how our food choices impact the environment. So we’ve both made the switch from Buffalo chicken to Buffalo cauliflower. With low carbon and air footprints, cauliflower is a much more sustainable choice. Once the hearty, meaty cauliflower is slathered in Buffalo sauce, you get all the kick without the cluck.
These black bean dogs are protein-packed and so flavorful. The liquid smoke and smoked paprika give them a nice, smoky flavor and the fresh cilantro gives a bit of a bite. Top ‘em off with corn, avocado, sour cream, or really any other dog toppings you like. And because these dogs are all pup without the pork, you can enjoy knowing your franks are easier on your waistline and the planet.
This recipe uses Portobello mushrooms, dairy-free cream cheese and steak sauce to create a creamy, savory sandwich that's as eco-friendly as it is tasty.
Jerk is a style of Jamaican cooking that involves a super-hot spice mixture and (usually) meat. But what’s a guy or gal to do if you want that same fiery flavor without the environmental problems that often accompany meat production? Well, bring on the jackfruits! This fruit, when marinated and shredded, mimics the taste and texture of pulled pork. So this recipe offers a real culinary mashup of ingredients—tropical fruit with Caribbean meat spices in a Mexican tortilla. You’ll never think of fruit the same way again!
Originally from Tuscany, panzanella—or panmolle—is a light, airy salad made from bread and tomatoes. Plus, you can use stale (or going-stale) bread, which can help cut back on food waste and make the dish extra-eco-friendly.
Flaky, airy, gooey, sweet—these puff pastry tarts are wonderful for breakfast, parties, dessert, or any time of day. Nutrient- rich chia seeds help thicken the filling in a low-calorie and sustainable way, and cherry trees can have real benefits on our air quality: in addition to trees helping purify our air, a single cherry tree can also perfume the air with over 200,000 flowers.
Fresh corn, sweet agave and creamy (dairy-free) butter combine to make the perfect summer breakfast. Yum!
Do you love French Toast? Of course you do. But eggs and milk aren’t the most eco-friendly ingredients. It takes 53 gallons of water to produce a single egg and 820 gallons of water to produce just 8 ounces of milk. Crazy, huh? So this recipe uses almond milk, and is thickened with a little tofu and chia seeds instead. It fries up well and is super-satisfying—all while being lighter on the planet.
A "shrub" is pretty much the most refreshing drink ever--made from using a syrup of vinegar, fruit, and sugar.
“Kebab” is a general term that can apply to various types of Middle Eastern grilled meats. In America, we’re most familiar with shish kebab: grilled meat that’s been skewered in small pieces. But beef and lamb come with a high eco-footprint (especially when the animals eat grass, they emit more methane). This smoky kebab recipe uses easy homemade seitan instead, to cut down on emissions. Topped with peanut sauce and served with fresh lime and herbs, it’s a deliciously-smoky and more-sustainable way to enjoy this tasty dish.