It has been awhile since the McCartney’s Meat Free Mondays movement began and, while we remind you of it with a meatless recipe every week on twitter, I wanted to check in with a reminder about why it is such a good thing to do – for your health, for the environment and most of all, for the animals. Taking a stand, even one as small as this, can make a difference and it shows those around us, our family, our co-workers, our kids and our friends an example of something they will hopefully want to emulate.
Now I’ll get off my high horse and say that the best thing I’ve learned from cooking meat free one day a week is how to cook without meat, which sounds simple but really isn’t. We omnivores let our creativity get stagnant when we make meat the star of every plate. I will admit that I’d sort of dropped the whole meat free thing for awhile, I got lazy and I forgot the importance of it. My blinders slid back into place as I fried pork chops oblivious. Then I saw this video and I remembered how disgusting factory farming is and how horrifically we treat the animals we use for meat.
When you don’t have to consider a meatless day there are endless menu options but once the meat is out of the equation we feel panicky. Or at least I have felt that way – what the hell am I going to cook? Then I think of all the things I don’t want – veggie chili, blecch! Or all the things that I could make but that won’t make a enough of a meal – hummus and pita or a tofu scramble. I just want one big dish that will taste amazing, not take me all day to cook and be substantial enough to constitute supper.
Then I discovered deep dish pizza. Deep Dish Polenta Pizza that is! It is amazing. Basically you make polenta, then you mush it into an oiled pie or cake pan (springform is best), throw on your toppings and bake 20-25 minutes in a 425 oven. Voila!
I usually make my polenta with parmesan, but if you’re going vegan, you can easily leave out the parm and omit any cheese on top. For toppings – olives, sundried tomatoes, fresh chopped tomatoes, fried eggplant, roasted cubes of butternut, spinach, peppers, wild mushrooms, fried onions, frisée…
You don’t even need a sauce but can add one easily, slop on some tomato sauce or pesto or romesco. Trying smearing roasted garlic across the top for a creamy ‘sauce’. There are so many variations on this recipe, it’s just endless. Here is the recipe that helped me to re-embrace Meat Free Mondays.
Deep Dish Polenta Pizza from the editors at Real Simple.com. Try making it for dinner tonight, you won’t be disappointed.