What to eat on Earth Day

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Earth Day is a time to give back to the community and also make an effort to embrace a positive change in your daily life. Being mindful of where your food is coming from helps the earth all year round! By buying locally, eating seasonally, producing less waste and searching for foods that consume less water, you’ll be making a lasting impact in your community. Not only will the food taste better, but also you will become more aware of your waste and consumption on a greater scale. Keep reading for recipes that help lower your environmental footprint.

Lower your Carbon Footprint
Eating plant-based meals can have a hugely positive impact on the environment. Meat and animal by-products are at the top of highest greenhouse gas emitting foods. Choosing to eat a plant-based meal even once a week can help! Lentils are not only high in protein, but are also among the lowest in producing harmful emissions.

Eat Locally and Seasonally
Not only will this help with saving money, but you’ll also get the most nutrient-packed foods available. When foods are stored for long periods of time, their nutrients start to diminish and the flavor isn’t as potent as it would be in season. Also, when food is transported across the country (or even the world) think of how far it took to get to your plate. Look up what grows locally in your area; you may be surprised at all the produce you find!

Produce Less Waste
By learning how to use scrap foods in different ways, you’ll get more out of a given product! If you buy carrots, the bagger might ask if you want them to take off the carrot tops. Next time, keep them! Think of carrot tops as an herb, they’re extremely fragrant and can be used in many different applications. In a pesto, it adds an earthy, flavor that’s unique and delicious. By using the whole vegetable, you’re producing far less waste.

 

The Menu

 

Basil Pesto with Carrot Tops


Makes 1 cup

What You Need
1/3 cup pumpkin seeds
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 cup (tightly packed) basil
1 cup (tightly packed) carrot tops
1 tsp. lemon zest
2 tsp. lemon juice
½ cup olive oil
Pinch of salt and pepper (~1/4 tsp)
1/8 tsp. of aleppo pepper (optional)

What You Do
1. Place seeds and garlic in a food processor and pulse until minced roughly.
2. Add in the basil, carrot tops and lemon. Pulse until broken down slightly.
3. With food processor on, slowly add in olive oil until fully combined. The pesto should still have some texture. Taste and season.
4. Store in a covered container for up to 1 week.

 

Heirloom Tomato and Fennel Salad


Serves 4

What You Need
¼ cup pesto
3 heirloom tomatoes, ½ inch slices
½ bulb fennel, sliced thinly
Basil leaves, to garnish
½ cucumber, spiralized (garnish optional)
Salt and pepper, to taste

What You Do
1. Arrange tomatoes and fennel on a platter. Scatter basil leaves and cucumber around the plate.
2. Sprinkle salt and pepper on the vegetables and then spoon pesto on and around the salad.

 

Hearty Lentil Soup


Serves 4-6

What You Need
1½ cup green lentils, soaked for 1 hour in 4 cups of hot water
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 large leek, sliced thinly
1 large shallot (or 2 small), small dice
½ bulb fennel, small dice
½ bunch carrots, small dice
6 oz. crimini mushrooms, small dice
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp. tomato paste
salt and pepper, to taste
¼ cup dry red wine (optional)
5 sprigs thyme
2 bay leaves
7 cups vegetable stock
¼ cup carrot top pesto (optional for topping)

What You Do
1. Get a heavy bottom pot with lid and heat oil at medium heat. Place leeks, shallot, fennel and carrots in pot and cook for 5 minutes until the vegetables begin to soften.
2. Add in mushrooms and continue cooking until they release their juices. Add in garlic and cook for 30 seconds or until fragrant.
3. Add tomato paste and salt and pepper. Stir until well combined with vegetables.
4. Pour in the red wine and using a wooden spoon, scrape bottom of pot to release brown bits. Let red wine reduce by half, this will take 3-5 minutes.
5. Nestle herbs in vegetable mixture then add soaked and drained lentils and pour over vegetable stock.
6. Let soup come to a simmer, cover and cook on medium low for 30 minutes. Stir occasionally.
7. Take the lid off and let soup continue simmering for 15 minutes to let it reduce and thicken slightly.

 

Laura Herman, Natural Chef and Health Coach

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