I have been observing "Meatless Mondays" for the past little while. The initiative was born in WWI wherein families in America were asked to reduce the amount of meat they ate as a way to aid the food crisis in war torn Europe. The effort returned in WWII and was a success. Around the turn of the 21st century, the program was re-introduced as an effort to reduce American obesity and to reduce carbon emissions which resulted from large scale farming.
I am attempting to incorporate more than one meat free day per week into my diet, for health reasons and for environmental reasons. Don't get me wrong, I am absolutely a carnavore. I could not be a vegetarian, and I have no interest in giving up meat entirely. I do, however, know that if we all ate a little bit less meat, there would be a decrease in the strain that large scale farming has on our environment.
Okay, enough preaching already!!
One of the easiest and (in my opinion) tastiest vegetarian/vegan lunches that I prepare on a near weekly basis is homemade hummus. Hummus is a very popular Middle Eastern dip/spread. I think if people knew how much better homemade hummus is, as compared to store bought, they would not hesitate to break out the food processor!
If you are feeling really inspired, you can get dried chickpeas and soak them overnight. Then in the morning, change the water and then bring them to a boil and simmer them for 45-60 minutes, or until tender. If you are not feeling particularly inspired, or if you are short on time, canned chickpeas work just as well!
2.5 cups cooked or 19 oz can, chickpeas
1-2 T tahini
juice and zest of half of one lemon
1-2 cloves garlic
1-2 T olive oil
salt and pepper
Combine ingredients in the bowl of a food processor and blend until well mixed. If mixture seems to thick, thin with a bit of water, up to one quarter cup.
Serve w/ vegetables and whole wheat pita for dipping!