• Mon, Jan 9 2012

Meatless Monday: 10 Paleo-Friendly Vegetarian Recipes

vegetarian paleo recipes

We have mixed feelings about the paleo diet for several reasons, one of them being that the diet is so dang heavy in meat. All nutritional concerns aside, it just requires huge amounts of meat to sustain, which isn’t necessarily great for the environment or our food supply. So, even though most people agree that it’s nearly impossible to be vegetarian and paleo at the same time, we urge you to give Meatless Monday a try. We’re not trying to convert you; we merely think that you’d do everyone a favor by taking a day to lay off the meat. It may not be sustainable to eat like this every day, but there are recipes that we think will hold you over ’till Tuesday, when you can get back to your diet of pork chops and steak.

A note on the recipes: None of these recipes are from paleo-specific sources. As such, you’ll most likely need to skip certain ingredients or substitute, according to how strict you are. But you’re paleo; you’re used to that…

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  • Wenchypoo

    “…we merely think that you’d do everyone a favor by taking a day to lay off the meat.”

    Everyone? You mean YOU. Do YOU a favor and lay off meat–be honest here.

    • Briana Rognlin

      Hey Wenchypoo – my point is that the everyone benefits from the environmental consequence of eating a bit less meat. (See my comment above for more about why eating fewer animal products is good for the ecosystem.)

      A lot of people also say that eating less meat is better for your health (which to be honest I don’t think is a benefit exclusive to the individual; you’re less of a burden on the health care system when you’re healthy and functional), but I’m assuming that if you’re interested in a paleo diet, you’re probably not in agreement with those arguments. That’s why I focused on the environmental benefits of curbing meat consumption here.

      Hope that helps,
      Briana

  • Mark Demma

    Briana, while I’m sure your intentions are well placed, I fear you are just plain wrong in the belief that you are doing anyone a favor by “laying off the meat” for a day, or ever. It is just ignorant to make the dividing line in deciding whether a food product is deemed sustainable whether or not it contains meat. Factory farms are horrible things, whether it’s chicken or soy. And a well run farm that includes veggies AND critters can be the most sustainable way to get your food. You can graze cattle and sheep on land that you can’t grow crops on, for instance. I’m sorry but to buy into the notion that meat is always bad is just ignorant. Wouldn’t you do be doing a better service if you set aside your beliefs and prejudice and instead were to say something like “hey paleo pals, please make sure you get your meat at a sustainable farm! Here’s how you find one, go to eatwild.com !

    For folks that are reading this and want to do some critical thinking for yourself, take 10 minutes of time and do a search for Joel Salatin on the YouTubes and listen to some of his talks about what real sustainable farming looks like. It doesn’t look meatless any day of the week.

    • Briana Rognlin

      Hi Mark,

      There’s definitely debate over what the most sustainable diet really looks like, but I didn’t pull my claim about meat and the environment out of thin air. The United Nations Environmental Programme issued a report in 2011 that suggests converting to a vegan diet, or at least transitioning away from animal products, is one of the best available solutions to our current environmental problems. I wrote a post about it, but here’s the quote from their report that I found most salient:

      Animal products cause more damage than [producing] construction minerals such as sand or cement, plastics or metals. Biomass and crops for animals are as damaging as [burning] fossil fuels.

      Impacts from agriculture are expected to increase substantially due to population growth increasing consumption of animal products. Unlike fossil fuels, it is difficult to look for alternatives: people have to eat. A substantial reduction of impacts would only be possible with a substantial worldwide diet change, away from animal products.

      Now, I’m the last person to say that everyone should go vegan; I’ve tried it, it didn’t work for me, and to be honest, I also have my doubts about how good it would be for the earth if everyone was eating processed soy products instead of meat and dairy. That said, there are people for whom a mostly whole foods vegan diet does work, and that’s also great.

      In any case, I do believe it’s more sustainable for people to eat a diet that involves some meat-free meals, and my point with this post was just to say that you could get by with a meal or two that don’t involve meat, even on a paleo diet (which most people think involves eating all meat all the time).

    • Mark Demma

      Briana,

      When condemning the practices of factory farms and feed lots, honey, hand me a choir robe cause I’ll be right behind you shouting AMEN! Where you lose me is when conviction turns to dogma, in this case the belief that plant based foods are intrinsically more sustainable and animal foods are not. I ran far far away from the South to San Francisco to escape Christian fundamentalism to encounter food fundamentalism. Simply put, fundamentalists believe so strongly they are right that they don’t feel a need to even look at other points of view. I’m curious, did you do what I suggested and take a look at some of Joel Salatin’s videos or did you just go right to the cutting and pasting the vegan scripture quotes? It was so eerily similar to the bible verses I would get from also well intentioned relatives after coming out. Just like then, your “good intentions” come across as condescending … as if you are speaking to some poor lost child who is in need of saving.

      I’d challenge you to let go of the dogma long enough to explore the possibility that meat based foods can be not only as sustainable but in many cases MORE sustainable. Have you ever been to a farm? My college, Warren Wilson in North Carolina, has a functioning cow and pig farm. I learned a lot there about sustainable farming. That’s why i suggested yo watch some of Joel’s videos. Get an idea of what sustainable farming is like not from some UN think tank but from someone that lives it. Here a couple of good ones: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-T9UaP1AsMI http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5nIcfh2UqV8 I’d like to hear what you think of the work Joel is doing.hat you think of the work Joel is doing.

    • Mark Demma

      Briana,

      When condemning the practices of factory farms and feed lots, honey, hand me a choir robe cause I’ll be right behind you shouting AMEN! Where you lose me is when conviction turns to dogma, in this case the belief that plant based foods are intrinsically more sustainable and animal foods are not. I ran far far away from the South to San Francisco to escape Christian fundamentalism to encounter food fundamentalism. Simply put, fundamentalists believe so strongly they are right that they don’t feel a need to even look at other points of view. I’m curious, did you do what I suggested and take a look at some of Joel Salatin’s videos or did you just go right to the cutting and pasting the vegan scripture quotes? It was so eerily similar to the bible verses I would get from also well intentioned relatives after coming out. Just like then, your “good intentions” come across as condescending … as if you are speaking to some poor lost child who is in need of saving.

      I’d challenge you to let go of the dogma long enough to explore the possibility that meat based foods can be not only as sustainable but in many cases MORE sustainable. Have you ever been to a farm? My college, Warren Wilson in North Carolina, has a functioning cow and pig farm. I learned a lot there about sustainable farming. That’s why i suggested yo watch some of Joel’s videos. Get an idea of what sustainable farming is like not from some UN think tank but from someone that lives it. Here a couple of good ones: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-T9UaP1AsMI http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5nIcfh2UqV8 I’d like to hear what you think of the work Joel is doing. You might also be interested in checking out the 2010 winner of the Buckminster Fuller Challenge http://challenge.bfi.org/winner_2010 who used livestock to rebuild grasslands in Africa.

  • Mark Demma

    Briana,

    When condemning the practices of factory farms and feed lots, honey, hand me a choir robe cause I’ll be right behind you shouting AMEN! Where you lose me is when conviction turns to dogma, in this case the belief that plant based foods are intrinsically more sustainable and animal foods are not. I ran far far away from the South to San Francisco to escape Christian fundamentalism to encounter food fundamentalism. Simply put, fundamentalists believe so strongly they are right that they don’t feel a need to even look at other points of view. I’m curious, did you do what I suggested and take a look at some of Joel Salatin’s videos or did you just go right to the cutting and pasting the vegan scripture quotes? It was so eerily similar to the bible verses I would get from also well intentioned relatives after coming out. Just like then, your “good intentions” come across as condescending … as if you are speaking to some poor lost child who is in need of saving.

    I’d challenge you to let go of the dogma long enough to explore the possibility that meat based foods can be not only as sustainable but in many cases MORE sustainable. Have you ever been to a farm? My college, Warren Wilson in North Carolina, has a functioning cow and pig farm. I learned a lot there about sustainable farming. That’s why i suggested yo watch some of Joel’s videos. Get an idea of what sustainable farming is like not from some UN think tank but from someone that lives it. Here a couple of good ones: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-T9UaP1AsMI http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5nIcfh2UqV8 I’d like to hear what you think of the work Joel is doing.

  • Dan

    Brianna,

    I looked at a number of your recipes and they all contained neolithic ingredients. Are you sure you know what paleo foods are? It would appear that it is simply a buzzword used to get traffic to this article.

    Thanks

    Dan

  • Dracil

    As they say, the death of 1 grass-fed cow will provide us with hundreds of meals. The growing of wheat, corn, soy, etc. involves the deaths of countless rodents and other animals caught in traps or from the loss of their natural habitat.

  • RAVEN

    Well lady you can have all the mixed feelings you want about the paleo diet but since I’ve been on it i’ve lost 32 pounds and before I started it I had a weak/fatty liver and my enzymes were through the roof along with my chlesterol and BP…Three months later all my tests are normal my BP is down to normal and so is my chlesterol.

  • Disgusted

    What the heck. I’m not paleo and i still found this condescending. Ok, you don’t like paleo. That’s cool. You want to encourage those who are to try to eat meatless occasionally. No problem. I think there are many who would be open to it. BUT THEN, you throw non-paleo recipes at them (even though the title says PALEO-FRIENDLY) and say “figure it out, you’re used to it.” Useless and rude.

  • Disappointed

    Most of these are not paleo friendly due to the excessive amounts of cheese and dairy. It appears this author is not familiar with what the paleo diet is…too bad, I was willing to give it a try, regardless of how offensive the article was written.

  • Not Impressed

    You’re coming across as rude and you make a lot of assumptions about people who eat Paleo. It’s not about eating pork chops or steak at every meal. If you think this, you’re missing the point of the diet entirely. Stop trying to paint a bad picture of it. It has worked wonders for many people. Also, dairy is not Paleo. You wouldn’t list vegan recipes that included dairy and say, “too bad, just adjust”. I guess the Paleo lifestyle doesn’t get the same respect.