There are lots of reasons to reduce your meat consumption–animal welfare, worries about the environment, health, etc. Although, I should make the caveat that simply cutting back on your meat may not make you lose weight if you do what I did and replace meat with cheese whenever you get a craving.
I went pescatarian because I don’t approve of how factory farming treats animals. I had considered only buying meat from free range cattle (who are treated fairly humanely from all that I’ve read, if one considers eventually being eaten humane). I wanted to give up all pig products, despite a sad love for BLTs, because pigs can be as intelligent as some dogs–and I didn’t feel right about that. I ended up completely giving up meat because after awhile, I realized that the idea of eating a cow didn’t seem attractive to me. My last taste of land meat was a bite of Jarrod’s fillet mignon on my 25th birthday in October. It was delicious, but not enough to make me regret giving up meat.
Since it’s Lent and a lot of people I know will be avoiding meat on Fridays, I figured I’d start posting a meat free recipe on Mondays–that way anyone who wants to use it for Friday will have a few days to get the ingredients together. Just cutting back on your meat consumption will help reduce the number of animals affected by factory farming. If everyone really did give up meat just one day a week, factory farming would feel the effects. If we ate reasonable amounts of meat, there’d be no reason to have factory farms treating animals as simply mini meat factories and not actual creatures who feel things.
One of my favorite standby recipes, which even meat-eating Jarrod likes and sometimes requests is Sweet Potato Enchiladas. They’re modified from a Whole Foods recipe.
One note–I’m a lazy cook so that’s why there are canned ingredients. I have nothing against fresh sweet potatoes but canned ones don’t require pre-cooking them before chopping them up to fill the enchiladas.
1 can sweet potatoes
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
Shredded cheese to your taste
Fresh spinach, rinsed and torn
Enchilada sauce–either canned or homemade, up to you–when I’m really lazy and have forgotten to buy the sauce I use salsa
Juice of one lime
Tortillas, burrito sized are my preferred
Mix the sweet potatoes, beans, chili powder, garlic, and lime juice
Pour a small amount of sauce or salsa in a baking dish–just enough to cover the bottom of the pan
Lay out a tortilla and place approximately 1/4 cup sweet potato/bean mixture and 1/4 cup spinach in the tortilla (may adjust according to the size of your tortillas)
Add a small amount of cheese and wrap like an envelope
Continue filling the tortillas and place them all tightly in a baking dish
Cover with sauce/salsa
Place in the oven at 375 F for 10 min, keep an eye to see when the sauce bubbles
After 10 minutes, sprinkle the enchiladas with cheese to your taste
Place back in the oven and broil until the cheese melts and starts to brown
Remove from the oven and let stand a few minutes before serving.
Because there’s no meat, these don’t need a lot of cooking time. The sweet potatoes make them filling and comforting, the black beans give you protein, and the spinach gets you another vegetable. I’ve added precooked chopped onions to this sometimes when they’re leftover from another recipe. The onions are a nice addition but not necessary and they take extra time to chop and cook so I don’t usually add them unless I’ve got some already in the fridge.
Anyway, enjoy your meat-free dinner. If you want to be totally animal-free, just leave out the cheese or use vegan cheese instead.