April 30, 2012
Meatless Mondays: Sandwich King
One of the best things you can do for your health is to eat more plant foods and less meat. With so many different vitamins and minerals and powerful antioxidants, fruits, vegetables, legumes and other plant foods can benefit us in many ways.
Multiple studies show eating more plants and less meat can help significantly reduce cholesterol, lower body weight, manage chronic constipation and more. Because of these health benefits, some folks decide to become vegetarians, completely cutting meat out of their diet, while others who don't want to change their diet quite so radically choose to eat vegetarian some of the time. These folks are sometimes referred to as "semi-vegetarians."
Semi-vegetarians and health-conscious omnivores often observe Meatless Mondays, a grass-roots-type movement that suggests people leave meat out of their diet for one day a week. Even if you are not interested in becoming a full-time vegetarian, taking this small step might lead to a giant leap in better overall health.
In addition to the health benefits, many people like the idea of eating less meat because it's easier on the planet. It takes less energy to grow plants as food than it does to raise animals for food. Notably, some schools are even getting into the act. Baltimore City Public Schools, Detroit Public Schools and Miami-Dade County Public Schools are three large school districts that have adopted a no-meat-on-Mondays protocol. The University of Mississippi, Yale, Vassar and Davidson College, among many others, also have pledged to support this movement.
If you are interested, check the Meatless Monday website, meatlessmonday.com, where you can view all kinds of information about it, including a long list of schools and many restaurants across the country that don't serve meat on Mondays.
Today's recipe is a perfect one for your own Meatless Monday meal, or for any day of the week. It's a nice vegetarian option when you are grilling out. Your meat-loving friends might even decide your veggie sandwich looks so delicious they'll want to trade in their grilled burger or chicken leg for what you're having.
Since this recipe does include cheese, it is categorized as a lacto-ovo vegetarian recipe. If you prefer a completely vegan recipe, you could substitute a few chunks of tofu to blend with the pesto instead of the fresh mozzarella and use a shredded soy cheese for the Monterrey Jack.
Grilled Portobello Sandwiches
2 tbsp. pesto sauce (purchased or homemade)
2 fresh mozzarella cheese balls in water (about 2 oz.)
2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
4 portobello mushroom caps
1 yellow bell pepper
Butter-flavored vegetable cooking spray
4 Kaiser rolls
½ cup shredded Monterrey Jack cheese
Place pesto and cheese in food processor and chop for 15 seconds. Scrape sides and break apart cheese, if necessary. Blend for an additional 15 seconds.
Add vinegar and blend for 5 seconds. Scrape sides and blend for an additional 5 seconds. Set aside.
Wash peppers and mushrooms and pat dry. Remove mushroom stems, if present, and save for another use. Set aside.
Slice pepper in half; remove core and seeds. Slice into ¼-inch strips. Place on flat surface, such as a cutting board. Place mushrooms next to peppers. Coat all the vegetables with cooking spray.
Slice rolls in half so you have a top and bottom "bun." Spray grill with cooking spray and place rolls flat on grill. Close lid and grill for 1 minute.
Remove rolls from grill. Place each roll, cut side up, on serving plates.
Grill peppers for 2 minutes.
While peppers grill, divide pesto mixture between each roll, spreading evenly on both sides. Remove peppers from grill and place on bottom halves of each roll.
Grill mushrooms for 4 minutes and place on top of peppers. Sprinkle shredded cheese over each sandwich and serve.
Makes 4 sandwiches.
Per sandwich: 436 calories, 15 g fat, 7 g saturated fat, 33 mg cholesterol, 56 g carbohydrates, 5 g fiber, 19 g protein, 708 mg sodium.
Posted by Lisa at April 30, 2012 11:02 AM
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