Earth mama

Staff Writer
Columbus Parent

A recent study has shown that vegetarians are less likely to develop cancer than meat-eaters. According to the study, vegetarians are 45 percent lexss likely to develop cancer of the blood than meat-eaters, and are 12 percent less likely to develop cancer overall. Great news considering a vegetarian diet is also earth friendly.

It takes much less energy and resources to raise vegetables and fruit than it does meats and fish. Many leading environmental organizations, such as the National Audubon Society and the Sierra Club, are now establishing the link between eating meat and eco-disasters like climate change.

According to Environmental Defense, if every American skipped one meal of chicken per week and substituted vegetarian foods instead, the carbon dioxide savings would be the same as taking more than a half-million cars off U.S. roads.

So how can you replace the meat in your diet, help the environment, and make yourself healthier? Here are three great recipes you can use to replace some of your meat meals each week.

Breaded and Baked Italian Eggplant

  • 1 eggplant
  • 1/2 cup soy milk
  • egg replacer equivalent to 1 egg
  • 1 cup Italian-style bread crumbs
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. pepper
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2-1 cup marinara sauce
  • basil (optional)

• Cut the eggplant into 1/2-inch slices, then liberally coat with salt and set in a colander for 1 hour to drain. Rinse the excess salt from the eggplant and pat dry.

• Preheat the oven to 400F.

• In a medium bowl, combine the soy milk and egg replacer and mix well.

• In another medium bowl, combine the bread crumbs with the salt and pepper.

• Set up a breading station with one bowl for each: flour, egg replacer mixture, and bread crumb mixture. Dredge the eggplant in flour and shake off the excess. Submerge the eggplant in the egg replacer mixture, shake off the excess, and then coat evenly with bread crumbs.

• Place the eggplant in a single layer on a lightly greased baking sheet. Bake, uncovered, for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the eggplant is crisp on the outside and tender inside.

• Serve topped with marinara and chopped basil, if desired.

Makes 4 servings

Pasta with Pesto Sauce

  • 1 lb. pasta
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 cups packed fresh basil leaves
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup hot water
  • salt to taste

• Cook the pasta according to the package directions.

• Combine the garlic, basil leaves, and pine nuts in a blender and process on low speed. With the blender running, slowly add the olive oil, followed by the hot water. Add salt to taste and continue processing until the pesto is smooth and creamy.

• Drain the pasta and toss in the pesto sauce.

Makes 4 to 6 servings

Chili-Cheese' Fries

  • 1 bag frozen French fries
  • 1 tub Tofutti brand vegan cream cheese
  • 1 can Hormel brand vegetarian chili
  • Hot sauce, to taste
  • Jalapeo slices (optional)
  • 1/2 cup veggie burger crumbles, cooked

• Bake the fries according to the package directions.

• In a medium bowl, combine the Tofutti cream cheese, vegetarian chili, hot sauce, jalapeo slices, and veggie burger crumbles. Microwave on high for 3 minutes, or until hot.

• Place the fries on a large plate and cover with the "chili-cheese" sauce.

Makes 6 servings