Every year, on April 22, people all over the world celebrate Earth Day to acknowledge the importance of protecting our planet and supporting a healthy environment for all living things.
If we examine how we live our day-to-day lives, we can find ways to make a significant contribution to living sustainably by taking what may seem like small steps but, when added together, can make a significant difference.
Our kitchen appliances alone account for more than 14 percent of our home’s energy use. Add to that the cost of lighting, heating, and cooking in our kitchen while we prepare, eat, and clean up, and it makes sense to think about ways to be a little more eco-conscious in our meal planning and prep.
For this month’s recipe feature, we’re bringing you a unique, eco-friendly Earth Day menu. Becoming more eco-conscious in our day-to-day lives doesn’t need an all-or-nothing approach. Small steps lead the way toward the bigger goal.
These tasty small-step recipes are drawn from locally produced ingredients wherever possible and include vegan and vegetarian options perfect for an Earth Day meal.
Enjoy our Earth Day menu by serving it up on your finest china and using your best linen, with your favourite soy or beeswax candles lighting the way toward a memorable tradition that you’ll be keen to practise on more than just one day a year.
Every day can be as eco-friendly as befits Earth Day. But April 22 is the day the whole world shines the light on our environment to remind us to be friendly to our earth. When it comes to the food we buy, prepare, and eat, there are a few ways we can be particularly mindful—on Earth Day and every day.
On Thursday April 22, 2021, switch off your lights and set the mood. Romanticize your Earth Day meal and eat by candlelight (soy or beeswax, of course).
Check to be sure your dinnerware and cutlery is environmentally friendly, safe for use, and also sustainable.
Buy and support local food growers and merchants whenever possible.
Plan your meals to avoid overbuying, which often leads to waste.
Store vegetable scraps in your freezer and turn them into a big pot of soothing soup to enjoy on a rainy day.
Bring back eco-friendly—and much more elegant—cloth napkins to your kitchen service.
Finally, always remember to reduce, reuse, and recycle whenever possible.
These little bite-sized morsels are a snap to make. Traditionally, blinis are made with yeast and left to rise. We simplified the recipe using baking powder and soda. Plus, we added some buckwheat flour to make them a little nuttier. These delicious mini pancakes are the perfect foundation for any topping.
Fresh baby carrots are beginning to surface this month. They’re especially delicious eaten fresh from the garden. However, if you’re looking to sip a soothing bowl with healing spices, simmering young carrots in a lovely broth really delivers. We added nutty-tasting wild rice to up the protein quotient along with added fibre, potassium, and zinc.
Puttanesca is typically made with tomatoes, capers, and anchovies. But that’s not what “puttanesca” actually means. It roughly translates to “lady of the night.” We gave it a nutritional boost by adding in some miso, beans, and baby spring chard to add to the umami explosion of flavour. Perfect served with red wine and, of course, by candlelight.
Nothing screams sunny summer like a fired-up grill. As we like to say: where there’s smoke there’s a delicious meal in the works. What better excuse to give the oven a night off and get outdoors than to double down on the grill? Trouble is, it’s easy to fall into a burger and chick fillet rut when cooking al fresco. After one too many pieces of grilled chicken, you might be ready to fly the coop. So how do you break away from grilling fatigue? Try thinking out of the box when it comes to preparing a feast on the grill. When you have the urge to light a fire, what better way to expand your outdoor cooking repertoire than by turning to the plant kingdom? Certainly, meat shouldn’t get all the live-fire love. You can also count on grilling to imbue plant-based foods with tantalizing flame-licked flavour goodness. Plus, it’s a sure-fire way to up the nutritional ante of your summer menu. Ready to think outside the grill marks? These next-level grilling recipes won’t leave you pondering “where’s the beef?” Grill master Follow these tips for sizzling plant-based grilling success. Play the field Remember that a bounty of plant-based foods can benefit from spending time over fire. Everything from cherry tomatoes (skewered, of course) to tempeh and even watermelon and Tuscan kale leaves are contenders for grill time. Tofu, eggplant, and zucchini have never found a grill they didn’t love. Knife play Be sure to slice vegetables such as potatoes and bell peppers large enough so they don’t fall through the grill grates and so they’re easy enough to move around on the grate. Rub it down Prevent flare-ups, reduce sticking, and keep grill debris off your food for safe and tasty backyard cooking. Use a long-handled grill brush to clean your grill grates immediately after use while they’re still warm. For good measure, you should also brush your grill off again after preheating it for your next meal. Tool of the trade Long-handled tongs are ideal for moving around items such as tofu and vegetables on the grill without getting you too close to the fire. Hot stuff Preheat your grill for at least 10 minutes. That way, food will sizzle as soon as it hits the grates and it’s less likely to stick to very hot grill grates. If you can hold your hand about 5 in (13 cm) over the grill for two to four seconds, the fire is at a high heat (450 to 550 F/230 to 290 C). Oil slick To grease a hot grill grate, use a brush with heat-resistant silicone bristles or a wad of paper towel dipped in oil and rubbed on the grate using tongs. Never use cooking spray on a hot grill. Crowd control Leave room to spread your food out. Stuffing your grill grate with too much in the way of proteins and veggies makes it less likely everything will cook evenly. It also makes it more difficult to flip items and move them around if flare-ups occur. Seal shut The more you open your grill lid, the longer it will take to cook dinner. The grill can lose around 50 F (10 C) every time the lid is opened. Covered cooking is the best practice because it uses convective and direct heat to cook the food faster and more evenly.
Make no mistake, meaty grilled tofu, sweet flame-licked salsa, and chunks of crispy sweet potato make for a meal prepared in the great outdoors that puts the yum in plant-based eating. A master’s touch Perfect spuds: Crispy potatoes on the grill are a revelation. But it’s best to give them a head start on the stovetop, so the potatoes heat through before the exteriors grill to a burnt crisp. Flavourful tofu: Giving tofu a 90-degree turn on the grill halfway through cooking each side will produce a nice crosshatch pattern that makes you look like a grill master. Plus, those overlapping grill marks give tofu even better flavour.
Combine pizza and taco night by firing up the grill. Sweet flame-licked onions, melty cheese, fiery salsa, hearty beans, and crispy flatbread crust all marry well in a no-fuss pizza that comes together fast enough to work within the confines of the weekday time crunch. Set up a work area near the grill so you have all your toppings within easy reach and ready to go. You can also use large Middle Eastern-style pitas for your base. Using store-bought pizza dough? If you want to go more traditional and use pizza dough, you can certainly stick with the grill. Stretch or roll pizza dough (about 1 lb/450 g) to roughly 1/2 in (1.25 cm) thick. It need not be perfectly round or square; it just has to be even thickness. Preheat grill to medium using indirect heat (for a gas grill, leave one burner off; for a charcoal grill, shovel coals onto one side of the grill) and lightly oil grill grates. Brush one side of dough with oil, then place on grill in an area not directly over the heat, oil side down. Once dough is lightly charred and just barely set, about 1 to 2 minutes, use pizza peel or big, flat spatula to transfer it to a work surface, grilled side up. Apply toppings and return pizza to indirect heat. Close grill lid, and heat until edges of crust are crispy and cheese has melted, 5 to 7 minutes.
If a falafel and burger had a love child, this would be it. The result of this hybrid is a vibrantly coloured, complex-flavoured veggie burger you’ll flip over. You can also serve them between toasted hamburger buns with toppings such as sliced cucumber, sliced tomato, and arugula. Holding it together Many plant-based burgers are crumbly and weak, risking a patty that ends up between the grill grates instead of intact on your plate. Keep your burgers together by forming patties no larger than 1 in (2.5 cm) thick, which ensures a nice, even crust on the outside and a thoroughly warmed-through centre, then chilling the patties before grilling. You can also consider using a burger mould, which gives you denser, equally sized patties that cook evenly. Be sure your grill grates are well greased. Deep freeze You can freeze uncooked falafel burgers on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet or plate and then transfer frozen patties to an airtight container. When ready, just thaw and cook as instructed. Falafel cooking options To bake: Arrange falafel on parchment-lined baking sheet and brush lightly with oil; bake at 375 F (190 C) for 25 minutes, or until crispy on the outside and heated through. To pan fry: Heat large skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add 1 Tbsp oil (15 mL) for each 2 burgers in the pan, swirl to coat pan and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, or until underside is browned. Then flip carefully and cook for 2 to 3 minutes more.