By: Cindi Avila
I’m calling it now: 2011 will be the year of the vegetarian, the vegan and the part-time meat-eater. It will no longer be assumed everyone eats meat every day of the week. This year, many people will be reducing their meat consumption by at least one day a week while others will be going full steam ahead, meat-free 24/7.
The Associated Press recently published a story about vegan diets becoming more popular and mainstream. According to the article, more than 1,500 chefs polled by the National Restaurant Association for its new “What’s Hot in 2011” list, included vegan entrees as a hot trend. Additionally, VegNews, a leading vegetarian publication, featured a story on the top ten reasons why veganism has gone mainstream among Americans. From being embraced by celebrities to a rise in stories talking about the benefits of a vegan diet, veganism has leaped into mainstream culture.
And, while not everyone is turning to a strict vegan diet, many people are looking to cut back on the amount of meat they eat or prepare for their families this year. One of the bigger trends this year is Meatless Mondays – a movement to cut out meat from your diet for one day a week. My alma mater, The University of Florida in Gainesville, is taking part in this popular campaign by serving a vegetarian menu in UF’s two dining halls just one day a week.
Reducing your meat consumption is easy to do when you cook at home thanks to companies like Lightlife, known for its delicious line of meat alternatives. There are so many tasty options to help families cook up meatless meals using veggie-protein foods that have the same flavors you love and the nutrients you need, but with less fat, calories and cholesterol. I’m working with Lightlife this year to offer great recipes and meal ideas perfect for either those that don’t eat meat or for those that are going meatless on Mondays. Below is one of my favorite recipes to inspire you – I hope that you enjoy it, and I’d love to hear what you think of it!
Lightlife Smart Ground® Mexican & Roasted Corn Tacos
Makes 8 tacos
1 package Lightlife Smart Ground Mexican
1 small onion (diced)
2 ears of corn
1 medium tomato (diced)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
8 hard taco shells
Place corn, with husks still on, directly on the grill over medium heat for 30 minutes. While corn is grilling, preheat olive oil in pan over medium-high heat. When oil is hot, add diced onion and sauté until onions are soft (about five minutes). Reduce heat to medium and add Lightlife Smart Ground Mexican to pan. Mix and heat through (about five minutes). While the Smart Ground Mexican is heating, mix in a separate small bowl the avocado, tomato and salt together. When corn has five minutes remaining, put taco shells on sheet of foil and place on grill. After the remaining five minutes are over, remove taco shells and corn from grill. Take husks off of the corn and cut corn off cob. Stand taco shells up straight and spoon a thick layer of the Lightlife Smart Ground® Mexican mixture in them, followed by a layer of the corn, then top with a layer of the avocado mixture.
*Can be prepared vegan