I often think to myself, "Do we really need to kill, cook, and eat animals?" Do you also go through phases of contemplating vegetarianism? Perhaps you are an animal lover, or maybe you've been hearing about the adverse effects of the meat industry on our environment and climate. Either way, let me draw your attention to Meatless Monday. 

Meatless Monday, a campaign created by Sid Lerner in 2003, urges people to cut meat out of their diets one day per week. I first heard about Meatless Monday when a high school friend of mine petitioned to have the school cafeteria go vegetarian on Mondays. The idea was met with outrage!

Meatless Monday provides resources and recipes to people looking to eat less meat. They even have a weekly newsletter with relevant news, recipes, tips, and tricks for their subscribers.

If you're up for the challenge, here's a beginner's guide to Meatless Monday this March.

March 7: Vegetarian Chili

I don't know about you, but I'm not always in the mood for meat substitutes like Beyond Burgers or Impossible Meat. This vegetarian chili by @nikkisnaturalkitchen on Instagram uses mushrooms as a substitute for ground meat to provide that typical chili texture to the dish. This chili is not too bean-y, but it is balanced out by the chopped mushrooms. Top with cheese, chopped avocado, and a heap of sour cream, and you have a nourishing weeknight meal!

March 14: Kale Caesar Salad

Caesar Salad is the ultimate comfort food. Well, maybe it’s actually mac and cheese, but regardless, this comforting yet healthy Kale Caesar by Bon Appetit will help you kickstart a great week. It’s got fresh crunchy kale, creamy caesar dressing, and a smattering of buttery panko breadcrumbs to ensure you get some in every bite! Find the recipe linked here

March 21: Burrata Bowl

The great part about bowls is that you can completely customize them! Burrata bowls became a staple in my house during quarantine. They're easy to throw together, and they're delicious too! When you put burrata in a bowl, its creamy center creates a gorgeous sauce that brings the whole dish together. Add burrata to a bowl of cooked farro (or your favorite grain), pesto, tomatoes, arugula, olives, and anything else your heart desires for a yummy and filling meal! 

March 28: Red Curry Noodle Soup

This red curry noodle soup puts tofu in the spotlight! Tofu often gets a bad rap, but when prepared properly, it can really be tasty! A quick tip for delicious tofu: buy extra-firm tofu for stir fry and fried rice dishes, and press it for at least ten minutes to allow excess water to drain before cutting it into cubes. This dish by @plantbased.traveler on Instagram uses store-bought curry paste for a simpler version of the traditional Thai dish. Add your favorite veggies, and enjoy a comforting, hearty dinner!

Bonus: Salted Caramel Dark Chocolate Cookies

If you've made it this far, congratulations on making it through a month of Meatless Mondays! Reward yourself with these decadent chocolate cookies. Find @simmerandsage's cookie recipe linked here.

Happy March, and Happy Meatless Monday!