Meatless Monday: No Worries About Protein

The Meatless Mondays campaign encourages people to improve their health by reducing their meat consumption by 15 percent.

Americans generally eat eight ounces of meat daily–45 percent more than the US Department of Agriculture recommends, according to that agency. Going meatless once a week can reduce the risk of chronic preventable conditions like cancer, cardiovascular disease, Type 2 diabetes and obesity. It also helps to limit your carbon footprint and save resources like fresh water and fossil fuel.

The World Health Organization recommends that men and women get 5 percent of their calories as protein. This means about 1.02 ounces of protein for a woman using 2300 calories a day and around 1.34 ounces for a man burning 3000 calories a day. It’s impossible not to get that much protein by meeting daily caloric needs with unrefined starches (carbs) and vegetables. For example, rice alone would provide 2.51 ounces of highly usable protein; white potatoes would provide 2.26 ounces. With such a healthy eating plan, it is difficult to develop a protein deficiency–even for full-time vegetarians.

A Gourmet Creation for Meatless Monday

Inspired by the Meatless Monday movement, the North Shore-LIJ Ultimate Chef Challenge let our professional chefs square off to create nutritious dishes that foodies would love. Glen Cove Hospital’s Chef Lyndon Espiritu and Chef Dalton Christopher created the winning entrée, Seitan Polenta Croquette and Spicy Pesto Sauce with Zucchini Radicchio Salad and a Melon Shooter with Leah Pasquarella, RD, and Katie Fargnoli, dietary intern. Try the recipe yourself:

Preparation: 45 minutes. Cooking: 40 minutes.

Per Serving: 419 Calories, 8 grams of fat, and 245mg of sodium.

Serves four. Serving Size: 10 oz. croquette and salad, 2 oz. melon shooter.

Ingredients: Seitan Polenta Croquette (3 oz)

2 cups Vegetable broth, homemade
1 cup Carrots, diced
1 cup Polenta
1 cup Fresh seitan, fine diced
½ cup diced celery (about one stalk)
½ cup Red onion, diced
¼ cup Fresh sage, chopped
1 each Plum tomato, diced
8 each Button mushrooms, sliced
3 cloves Fresh garlic, minced
1 tbsp. Canola oil
1 tsp. Sriracha chili sauce
½ tsp. Kosher salt

Ingredients: Zucchini and Radicchio Salad (1/2 cup)

1 ½ cup Radicchio
1 cup Zucchini
1 cup Yellow squash
2 tbsp. Cider vinegar
1 tbsp. Honey
1 tbsp. Olive oil

Ingredients: Spicy Pesto Sauce (3 oz.)

2 cups Basil
2 cups Cilantro
1 cup Vegetable broth, homemade
3 cloves Garlic
2 tbsp. Sriracha chili sauce
1 tbsp. Lime juice

Ingredients: Melon Shooter (2 oz.)

½ cup Vegetable broth, homemade
¼ cup Watermelon
3 tbsp. Lemon
1 tbsp. Honey
6 leaves Mint

Directions: Seitan Polenta Croquette

  1. Boil vegetable broth, add all vegetables, herbs and sriracha sauce and salt.
  2. Add polenta and cook for 2 minutes.
  3. Place on a sheet pan and let it cool.
  4. Form into patties and sear with olive oil until it hardened and brown.

Directions: Zucchini and Radicchio Salad

  1. Slice zucchini squash and radicchio in large bowl.
  2. In separate bowl combine honey, olive oil, and cider vinegar.
  3. Toss vegetables with dressing until coated.

Directions: Spicy Pesto Sauce

  1. Chop basil, cilantro, and garlic.
  2. Add remaining ingredients and mix in large bowl.
  3. Blend ingredients until creamy.

Directions: Melon Shooter

  1. Cut watermelon off rind.
  2. Squeeze juice out of 2 lemons.
  3. Add honey and vegetable broth.
  4. Hand-blenderize all ingredients in large bowl.
  5. Drain in colander to retrieve liquid.
  6. Blenderize remaining ingredients to liquefy.
  7. Serve in 2 oz. shot glasses and decorate with a mint leaf.

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