When word first started trickling down about “Meatless Mondays” I didn’t give the idea too much thought. Before I had my son I rarely ate red meat. But while I was pregnant I couldn’t get enough of it! Funny how the body tells you exactly what it needs. Now we eat 100% grass fed ground beef once a week on taco Sundays. But the idea of meatless Mondays didn’t go away. In fact I heard it referred to more and more so I had to know what it was all about. Yes there are significant health benefits to limiting red meat intake but since it isn’t a staple in our diets it was learning about the impact meat production has on the environment. According to Meatless Monday this impact is significant. By eating less meat you are:
- Reducing your carbon footprint. The United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization estimates the meat industry generates nearly one-fifth of the man-made greenhouse gas emissions that are accelerating climate change worldwide.
- Minimizing water usage: 1,800 – 2,500 gallons of water are used to produce one pound of beef. To me that’s a staggering number. Compare that to 220 gallons to produce a pound of soy or rice.
- Helping to reduce dependence on fossil fuels: protein production through the consumption of livestock requires 8 times as many fossil fuels to be produced than protein derived from plants.
And just when I thought it was only about red meat I learned that a poultry farm uses more ammonia than steel mills and oil refineries combined. Armed with this information I decided we’d cut back…a lot.
We still have our weekly tacos but tonight as I was preparing another favorite, nachos, I decided to omit the chicken. I looked over at our local farm offerings and knew instantly that these nachos were going to be my best yet. Zucchini and summer squash from the farmer’s market and juicy tomatoes from Heron Pond Farm. Then I headed out to our garden for some fresh lettuce and cilantro. Two things strike me as I write this. One, I’m about to offer another recipe when I’ve never been particularly fond of the kitchen and two, I’m still amazed that I have a garden from which I’m actually picking vegetables and herbs!
So here is what I proudly call Garden Fresh Nachos:
Organic corn & flour tortillas
Sea or other kind of coarse salt
Organic taco cheese
1 Summer squash
2 medium tomatoes
For the chips:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine olive oil and salt in a small bowl. Brush mixture on one side of each tortilla. Cut tortilla’s into 8ths. Arrange on cooking sheet so they are not overlapping.
Bake corn tortillas for 7 minutes and flour tortillas 10 minutes.
To cut down on prep time I like to make the chips earlier in the day placing them in an airtight container until I need them.
Lower oven to 325 degrees.
For the toppings:
In a sauce pan put about 2 inches of water. Insert steam basket and bring to a boil.
Cut zucchini and summer squash. I like to slice and then cut slices in half.
Place zucchini in basket, cover and steam for about 2 minutes. Empty onto a cutting board.
Do the same for the summer squash
Cut both into fine pieces.
Prepare the nachos:
Place chips into a 9×13 baking dish
evenly distribute the zucchini and summer squash
Top with desired amount of cheese
Bake at 325 for 20-30 minutes
While nachos are baking dice tomatoes and cut up lettuce with cilantro.
Remove from oven. Top with tomatoes, lettuce and chunks of avocado.
Serve with some fresh local fruit and enjoy!