Carnival Means "So Long" to Meat
Every year, millions of people around the world celebrate Mardi Gras and Carnival. It's a worldwide festival of parades, music and, of course, richer, fattier foods leading up to the 40-day season of Lent, during which Roman Catholics traditionally reduce their consumption of meat. In fact, the term "carnival" is from carnelevare, or "to remove meat."
At Meatless Monday, we also say "one day a week, cut out meat." And every Monday, in 30 countries around the globe, millions of participants realize the benefit of adding more delicious, nutritious plant-based meals to their diet. For people and for the planet, Meatless Monday opens the door to a world of healthy benefits.
"It's easier than you think and the payoff can be huge," says Robert Lawrence, MD, director of the Center for a Livable Future. "Eating less meat not only helps lower cholesterol and decrease cancer risks. It reduces your carbon footprint and helps conserve water. Plus, plant-based meals cost less, an added bonus during these economically tough times."
So whether or not you are participating in Mardi Gras today–or considering cutting back on your meat consumption in general–Meatless Monday can be a resource for exploring exciting new menu ideas during this season and beyond. Check out meatlessmonday.com for over a thousand recipes that get fruits, veggies, whole grains and legumes to the center of the plate, including this favorite from New Orleans, Red Beans and Rice. Red beans and rice has been a staple of Louisiana Creole cuisine for more than a century; New Orleans native Louis Armstrong was reportedly so taken with the dish that he would sign letters "Red Beans and Ricely Yours, Louis Armstrong." And to this day, Red Beans and Rice is still a Monday tradition in the Crescent City. For maximum enjoyment, pair with colorful beads and a Creole drawl.
Red Beans and Rice
2 cups dried red kidney beans
1 carrot, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 cup low-sodium vegetable bouillon
1 1/3 cups brown rice
Soak the kidney beans overnight in cold water.
Drain the beans and put them in a pot with 4 cups water over medium-high heat. Add the carrot, onion, bay leaf, black pepper, cayenne pepper and bouillon to the pot and bring to a boil. When water boils, cover, reduce heat and simmer for about 1 hour and 45 minutes, or until the beans are very soft.
Bring 2-2/3 cups of water to a boil in a medium saucepan.
When the water boils, add the rice, cover, reduce heat to a simmer and cook for about 45-50 minutes, or until the water has been absorbed and the rice is cooked through.
When the beans have finished cooking, remove the bay leaf. Lightly mash the beans with a fork, serve over the rice and enjoy!