Sustainable Living in the Kitchen: Meat Free Meal Ideas

In terms of sustainable living there has been more evidence that going meat free as much as possible, as well as limiting dairy and eggs too, would benefit the planet in a myriad of ways. These three sectors of industry account for just over half of the total annual carbon emissions, along with using up copious amounts of other resources like water, and by reducing meat, eggs, and dairy products from our dining room tables we could do much in the way to combat global warming. Still, even with all the evidence in favor of sustainable living this can be tricky to do; changing and modifying our habits is always difficult but particularly so when it comes to what we eat. There is much more of an emotional connection to what we put in our mouths than what kind of light bulbs we are screwing into our lamps!

Yet sustainable living is tremendously important and so is protecting our limited resources, and for that reason it’s worth biting the bullet, or the tofu, and changing how we eat. Here we will have an ongoing series that will help in the effort for us all to go meat free as much as possible; some may be at a loss as to what to make so a few helpful recipes may get you started and then your own creative energies flowing so you can kick start your new kitchen habits. There are those that may wish to go vegetarian, or even vegan, but even if you just swap out a few meals that would have included meat you are making progress. Here is a rather easy recipe courtesy of to kick off the ‘Sustainable Living in the Kitchen: Meat Free Meal Ideas’ series:

Tofu, Green Beans, and Cashews Stir-Fry


  • ·

    For marinade- combine in bowl and wisk together

o ¼ cup soy sauce

o 2 teaspoon cornstarch

o Add 14 oz firm, Chinese style tofu, drained and cubed

  • ·

    On a baking sheet:


Bake ½ cup raw cashews in the oven until golden brown at 350 degrees

  • Cooking:
  1. · Cook 1 pound green beans in boiling water for three minutes and then drain.
  2. · Reserve the marinade. Use 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a wok and fry the tofu for three minutes and set aside.
  3. · Chop 1 red onion and use a small amount of oil to fry it until it is soft. Throw in the green beans, tofu, and the remainder of the marinade along with ½ teaspoon of hot chili oil. Finally add the cashews and allow it to simmer for two minutes before serving.

As you can see switching out the meat for tofu in this instance is quite easy and truth be told that tofu will absorb the rest of the flavors and is quite delicious! In fact you will find that sustainable living and cooking will not only benefit the environment but your health too; many meat alternatives have less fat and cholesterol which is both heart healthy and good for the waist line. To balance the meal out you could serve the stir fry over some brown rice and enjoy! Sustainable living isn’t as difficult as it may at first seem; start with replacing meat on say Mondays and then see if you can increase from there.

Photo credit: Whatley Dude