DIY Environmental Heroïsm! This post will give you the best recipes with the least environmental exploitation, so you can sustainably eat your way to 2050. Be a true hero in the kitchen and try them!

 

The recipes in this post use the guidelines of the planetary health diet that was coined January this year by the Lancet Commission. The Lancet Commission is a group of over 30 scientist that published a report on how we can sustainably feed the estimated 10 billion people that inhabit the planet by 2050. The ideal way to cut greenhouse gas emission and sustain a healthy planet is to leave out animal products such as meat, dairy, fish and eggs as much as possible. Other things to take into account in filling your shopping basket in a sustainable way is to choose seasonal and local products.  More about this you can read in 16th March’ blog post: the Sustainable Future Diet.

 

The recipes represent some beautiful products which have a high score regarding environmental performance. The calculation of environmental performance considers: the use of fossil fuels, contribution to climate change (Co2- emission), land use and waterstress. Enjoy!

 

#1 Purple soup

 

The star of the show is the red cabbage, creating an amazing purple-coloured soup. Traditionally used in the Dutch cuisine as a side dish with apple and cloves to pair with mashed potato (we’re a simple people 😉 ), this time prepared as a fresh soup that requires very little ingredients and is easy to make! The vinegar brings out an amazing zinginess and the apple uplifts the soup with its fresh, sweet flavour. Don’t be afraid to use too much (preferably freshly crushed) black pepper!

Ingredients (serves four):

  • 1 red cabbage, roughly chopped. Grown on farmland in the Netherlands, energy-use for production is low. 
  • 1 large apple, cut in cubes. Apples, either from Argentina, Brazil or Chile, are grown on farmland and shipped per boat, to keep emissions low.
  • 2 red onions, roughly chopped
  • 200 ml plant-based milk.  I used almond milk but oat- or soy milk will do too. Go for the unsweetened one. Almond milk scores low in kg emissions per 200 ml glass, and low in land use but relatively high in water use. Soy and oat milk have the lowest environmental impact. (Poore & Nemecek, 2018)
  • 400 ml vegetable stock
  • 50 ml vinegar.   I used balsamic vinegar but apple cider vinegar does the job as well. Use what you have in your cupboard.
  • salt
  • black pepper
  •  2 tablespoons oil

Cooking method:

Heat the oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, add the onion and cabbage. Add salt and pepper and keep stirring. Add the apple. Put the lid on for 3 minutes to let the ingredients soften. Add some more pepper. Next up we’ll add the liquids. Add vinegar and vegetable stock to the saucepan and stir until everything infuses. Then add the almond milk and stir. Now leave the lid on for another 15 minutes until the cabbage is soft. Depending on how small you cut the cabbage it will cook faster. Once the cabbage is soft, Use a blender or hand-held blender to blend everything. Optionally, add green leaves (cress works well) and a dash of almond milk to garnish. Enjoy!

#2 Sweet potato and dark, leafy green vegetable mash with vegan gravy and roasted hazelnuts

 

Another super easy, impossible-to-go-wrong, nutritious recipe. The gravy is incredibly flavoursome and together with the roasted nuts makes up for a full, hearty meal.

 

Ingredients (serves four):

  • 1 kg sweet potato. Sweet potato comes from the US. However, as it is grown on farmland and shipped by boat, the environmental footprint remains low.
  • 400 gr winter purslane/spinach/turnip tops. Pick the greens you like! Winter purslane and turnip tops aren’t your regular vegetables but that gives you all the more reason to try! In April they are in season in the Netherlands and they give an amazing nutty, fresh taste to your vegetable mash and have great health benefits.
  • 100 gr hazelnuts, roasted and chopped. Out of all the nuts the hazelnut and walnut are the most environmentally sustainable as they are sourced in Europe, from the Mediterranean area (Turkey, Spain, Italy) (Source: https://www.aboutnuts.com/nl/encyclopedie/hazelnoten/)
  • 200 ml almond milk. 
  • 50 gr plant-based margarine
  • 2 tablespoons oil

The gravy:

  • 1 onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely diced
  • 3 tablespoons corn starch/flour
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 6 tablespoons water
  • 1 tablespoon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon (smoked) paprikapowder
  • 1 teaspoon ginger powder
  • 1 teaspoon corianderseed, crushed
  • ½  teaspoon curcuma
  • ½ teaspoon pepper

Cooking method:

Roast the nuts in a dry pan over medium heat. Whirl them around until the skin darkens on all sides. Turn off the heat and set aside to cool down.

 

Peel the sweet potatoes and cut them into chunks (Zero Waste Tip: wash the skin before you peel it and deep fry the peeled skins. Let cool until they are crispy and enjoy them as a pre-cooking snack!). Boil the sweet potatoes in a large pot with plenty of water and some salt. Once the water is cooking, set the timer at 15 minutes.

 

Meanwhile, prepare the gravy by heating oil in a small saucepan. Add the finely cut garlic and onion and let the onion/garlic juices induce in the oil on low heat. Once the onion/garlic start changing color, add little bits of the water. Then, add the cornstarch/flour and stir well for about 3 minutes. The sauce will now thicken slowly. Add more water if it gets too thick, add more cornstarch if the sauce is too thin. Add the rest of the ingredients while stirring, until it has the desire thickness. Add more salt/pepper to taste.

 

Once the sweet potatoes are cooked (check with a fork), drain the pan and keep a little bit of the starchy cooking water aside. Add the margarine and almond milk to the drained sweet potatoes. Mash the potatoes. Add your greens while mashing the potatoes more. Add some of the starchy draining water until it has reached the desired creaminess. Heat on a low heat while stirring; once there are no more lumps of potato it’s finished. Serve, put the gravy on top, add the roasted nuts and optionally top with mustard. Enjoy!

 

#3 Cauliflower and tempeh curry

 

The cauliflower is a true hero: it’s so versatile and tastes great. Here’s an exotic curry to warm you up on the rainy days that might linger throughout April. Tempeh is a product made of fermented soy beans and serves as an amazing, nutritious, protein-rich alternative for meat. In this recipe the tempeh is marinated to perfection and with its crunchy bite it’s the best sidekick of the warming, soft and creamy cauliflower curry.

 

Ingredients (serves four):

  • 1 cauliflower, cut into roses. Produced in France on farmland and transported by truck which leaves a relatively low environmental footprint
  • 500 gr potato, cubed. 
  • 2 onions, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely diced
  • 2×2 cm block ginger, finely diced
  • 200 gr tomato puree
  • 1 can coconut milk
  •  1 block (400gr) tempeh
  • 400 ml vegetable stock
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 2 tablespoons currypowder
    • Make it yourself by mixing:2 tablespoons cumin2 tablespoons corianderseeds2 tablespoons curcumapowder

      1 ½ tablespoon cardemompowder

      ½ tablespoon cinnamon powder

      ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper

      optional: ½ teaspoon chili powder

The marinade:

  • Soy sauce sweet
  • Soy sauce regular
  • 1 tablespoon sunflower oil
  • ½ tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon tomato puree
  • 1 tablespoon agave/rice syrup. You can make your own sugar sirup by mixing 1 tablespoon of sugar with some water, and heating this in a saucepan on low heat. Stir until the sugar dissolves
  • ½ teaspoon paprika powder
  • ½ teaspoon cumin powder
  • 1 clove garlic, finely diced
  • chili flakes, add to taste

Cooking method:

Start with the marinade. Cut the tempeh in slices of about ½ cm thick. Mix all the ingredients of the marinade together in a flat-surface tray or plate. put the tempeh in there and mix it around. Set aside in the fridge. Set it for at least 30 minutes. The longer you leave it, the better the flavours will marinade.

 

Heat oil in a pan and add the onion, garlic and ginger. Slowly let the base induce in the oil. Add the currypowder and stir well. If it sticks to the bottom of the pan, add little bits of water. Add the tomato puree and stir well. Now add the cauliflower and potato and stir until they are covered in the mix. Add the vegetable stock and the can of coconut milk. bring it to a boil and let it simmer on a low heat for about 30 minutes. All the vegetables should be covered in liquid. If not, add more water.

 

While the curry is simmering, take the tempeh out of the fridge. Heat oil in a frying pan. Wait until the oil is hot, then add the tempeh. Fry on both sides for a few minutes, until the marinade turns brown and the tempeh gets crunchy.

 

Once the curry is finished, serve it, put the tempeh on top and garnish with fresh koriander or any other fresh herbs, to taste. Enjoy!

 

#4 Key Lime Pie

 

We couldn’t leave the dessert out, of course. In April, the lime usually originates from Brazil, where the Brazilian sun worked it’s magic before it was shipped to Europe by boat which leaves the environmental footprint to remain low. We’ll use this lovely citrus fruit to make the soft filling that goes over the Lotus-cookie crust and together make an amazing key lime pie. All vegan!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ingredients (serves twelve):

Crust:

  • pack vegan biscuits. I used Lotus Biscoff biscuits because it has this ginger-cookie flavour which is the best.
  • 120 gram vegan butter, melted. 
  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil

Filling:

  • 1 tin coconut milk
  • Zest of 2 limes (unwaxed)
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • 220 ml almond milk
  • 6 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 6 tablespoons icing sugar

Optional, to garnish:

  • coconut flakes
  • lime zest

Cooking method:

Preheat the oven at 180°C. Start with the crust. Put the biscuits in the food processor. Slowly add the melted butter. Finally add the coconut oil. Take the mixture and put it in a greased, round baking tray, preferably with a loose bottom. Press evenly until it covers the entire tray. Put the tray in the middle of the over for about 12 minutes.

 

Warm the tin of coconut milk over a low heat in a saucepan. Add the juice and zest of 2 limes. Let it warm up over a very low heat, to let the flavours infuse gradually. In the meantime, mix the almond milk with the icing sugar in a container. Add the cornstarch and whisk it together until smooth. Add it to the saucepan and stir while it warms up. The cornstarch will thicken the mixture as it warms. Turn the heat off when it has reached the desired thickness.

 

Take the baking tray out of the oven. Add the mixture to the tray. Cover it with cling film, directly over the filling. Leave it to set in the fridge for at least 3 hours. Garnish with lime zest or coconut flakes. Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sources:

  • Poore, J., Nemecek, T. (2018) Reducing food’s environmental impacts through producers and consumers. Science  01 Jun 2018: Vol. 360, Issue 6392, pp. 987-992.
  • https://www.aboutnuts.com/nl/encyclopedie/hazelnuts/. Retrieved at 02/04/2019

 

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