Sustainable Living in the Kitchen: Meat Free Meal Ideas

Few pleasures are able to delight like those of the palette, but if you want to live more in line with sustainable living credo than you may do well to opt out. Opt out of meat that is…BUT don’t confuse that with a lack of taste, variety, or the same deliciousness as you may be used to. While going vegetarian or vegan may seem like a daunting task, and unappealing to some, the truth is that with a little culinary creativity and inspiration you could be dining your way to first class meals and be able to do your part in reducing your impact on the environment. In fact the meat, dairy, and egg industries alone accounted for over half the total US carbon emissions last year and if we all consciously reduced our intake of these three sectors we could make quite an impact in the right direction.

For some it is not the lack of motivation to take this sustainable living plunge but more lack of ideas in the kitchen and for that this sustainable living in the kitchen series is here to help get you started. This recipe for Cashew Curry is in fact vegan meaning that it also ditches any egg or dairy products in addition to meat, but for those of you who find this stricter way of life too much to swallow, even implementing a vegetarian or vegan meal a few times a week is a positive step and nothing to be overlooked. It are the small changes that are most likely to be kept up with in the long run and then built upon. This sustainable living Cashew Curry recipe is courtesy of


1 cup whole coconut milk
1 - 2 tablespoons curry powder
scant 1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
1/2 large red onion, chopped
1 medium garlic clove, chopped
1/3 cup water
4 ounces firm tofu, cut into small cubes (optional)
1 cup green beans, cut into 1-inch segments
1 1/2 cups cauliflower, cut into tiny florets
1/3 cup cashews, toasted
a handful of cilantro, loosely chopped

  1. In a large pot or skillet pour in half the coconut milk and bring it to a boil over medium-high heat. Add in the salt and curry powder and use a whisk to break up clumps that form.
  2. Add the garlic and chopped red onions and stir them into the mixture; cook here for one minute.
  3. After add in the water and other half of the coconut milk and continue to stir; finally add the tofu. You will now let the liquids cook down for a few minutes and then toss in the cauliflower and green beans. Allow this to simmer with the lid on for one to two minutes until you can see that the green beans and cauliflower have begun to cook.
  4. Take the pot off of the heat and add the cashews and then stir. Feel free to season to taste. Allow it to cool and then you can choose to garnish with some cilantro on top.

This sustainable living recipe makes enough for two to three servings and you can up the eco-factor by opting to shop local to support not only your own community but negate transportation emissions. Teaching kids that meat free can be just as delicious and much more nutritious than hitting the drive through is also an important lesson to impart to the next generation.

Photo credit: Erin Kkr