Meatless Mondays

Yes, you can reap health benefits from one small change—by going vegetarian one day a week. MARK BITTMAN offers delicious recipes that won’t leave you asking, “Where’s the beef?”

By Mark Bittman
meatless mondays, vegetarian, mark bittman
LIGHT AND LUSCIOUS Creamy polenta is topped with browned mushrooms and Brussels sprouts.
Photograph: Levi Brown

1. Prepare a grill or broiler; the heat should be medium high, and the rack about 4 inches from the heat. Cut a slit down the length of each poblano, to allow you to stuff them without tearing. Remove as many of the seeds as you can, leaving the stems intact.


2. Put the pumpkin seeds in a dry skillet over medium heat. Toast, stirring or tossing frequently, until they are lightly browned and fragrant, 3 to 4 minutes; remove. Add the oil, and turn the heat to high. When it’s hot, add the corn, and cook, shaking the pan occasionally, until it’s nicely browned, about 5 minutes. Turn off the heat, and stir in the pumpkin seeds, scallions, cheese, cilantro and a sprinkling of salt and pepper.

3. Carefully stuff the corn mixture into the poblanos; there should be a little more than ¼ cup filling for each one. Brush each poblano with a little more oil, and grill or broil, turning as needed to cook them evenly, until they are soft and charred on all sides, 5 to 10 minutes total. Serve hot or at room temperature with the lime wedges and salsa.



Prep time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 18 minutes
Serves 4

2½ cups loosely packed
baby-spinach leaves
1 small clove garlic, or to taste
2 tablespoons pine nuts or
roughly chopped walnuts
6 tablespoons olive oil, or to taste
1 pound zucchini, sliced
Black pepper
8 ounces any pasta, preferably whole wheat
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish

1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, and salt it. Combine the spinach with a pinch of salt, the garlic, nuts and about 4 tablespoons of the oil in a food processor or blender. Process, scraping down the sides of the container if necessary.

2. Put the remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet over medium heat. When it’s hot, add the zucchini, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and cook, turning occasionally, until the slices are very tender, 10 to 15 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, cook the pasta in the boiling water until it’s tender but not mushy (start tasting after 5 minutes). Drain, reserving some of the cooking liquid. Add the pasta to the skillet, and toss with the zucchini, pesto, Parmesan and a sprinkling of the pepper, adding cooking water as necessary to keep the mixture from drying out. (The pesto will stay green for about 20 minutes.) Taste, and adjust the seasoning. Serve immediately with extra Parmesan.



Prep time: 32 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes
Serves 4

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 medium onion, chopped
8 ounces all-purpose potatoes, shredded or minced
Salt and black pepper
1 tablespoon minced ginger
1 tablespoon curry powder
2 cups cooked or canned chickpeas, drained
1 small cauliflower, cored and roughly chopped
1 cup coconut milk
1 or 2 small dried hot red chiles (like
Thai) or a pinch of red chile flakes
½ cup chopped fresh cilantro, for garnish

1. Put a large, deep skillet over -medium-high heat. Add the oil, swirl, and add the onion and potatoes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are softened and beginning to brown,
3 to 5 minutes. Add the ginger and curry powder, and cook for 30 seconds or so.

2. Add the chickpeas, cauliflower, coconut milk and chiles, and reduce the heat so the mixture bubbles gently. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the cauliflower and potatoes are tender and the mixture thickens, 10 minutes or longer. Taste, remove the chiles, garnish with cilantro, and serve.


Mark Bittman's latest book is The Food Matters Cookbook: 500 Revolutionary Recipes for Better Living

Find more vegetarian recipes from Mark Bittman here.

First Published September 14, 2011

Share Your Thoughts!


ruth 10.05.2011

I love the menu -- too bad its not "meatless Fridays," would be a nice feature for Lent.

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