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3 'Meatless Monday' Recipes To Jump Start Healthy Eating In The New Year

Looking to eat healthier in 2017?

How about cutting down the amount of meat in your diet, even for just one day a week? It’s a movement called “meatless Monday,” and Here & Now resident chef Kathy Gunst brings Here & Now‘s Robin Young three satisfying dishes that put vegetables front and center.

Winter Vegetable Curry

This is a thick, creamy curry filled with spices — turmeric, cilantro, garam masala and cinnamon — and winter vegetables like carrots, parsnips, onion, winter squash and fresh spinach or kale. The curry can be made several hours ahead of time and heated just before serving. Serve with basmati rice and chutney.

The inspiration for this recipe comes from “Vij’s: Elegant and Inspired Indian Cuisine,” by Vikram Vij and Meeru Dhalwala.


  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon chopped ginger and 1 tablespoon thinly sliced ginger
  • One 2-inch piece cinnamon stick
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 tablespoon garam masala
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper or splash hot pepper sauce
  • 2 cups chopped tomatoes, canned or fresh
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 large parsnip, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch slices
  • 1 large carrot or 2 to 3 medium, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch slices
  • 1 small butternut, delicata or acorn squash, peeled (don’t peel if using delicata), deseeded and cut into 1/-2 inch cubes
  • 1 large potato, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup spinach, Swiss chard or kale, coarsely chopped
  • About 1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro, optional
  • 1/2 cup chopped cashews, optional


  1. In a medium-large pot, heat the oil over moderate heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes. Add the garlic, ginger (both cuts), and cinnamon stick and stir. Add the turmeric, garam masala, ground cinnamon, cumin and cayenne and cook 1 minute, stirring.
  2. Add the tomatoes, and salt and pepper; bring to a low simmer and cook 5 minutes. Add the parsnip, carrot, squash, and potato and stir well; cook 3 minutes.
  3. Stir in the sour cream and water and mix to create a smooth sauce. Simmer, covered, over low heat for 20 minutes. Taste for seasoning and add more salt and pepper to taste. Add the spinach (or kale) and cook another 5 minutes.
  4. Taste for seasoning and serve hot over basmati rice. Scatter with cashews if desired. Serves 4.

Roasted Carrot And Ginger Soup

Everyone’s on a special diet these days — gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan, vegetarian. Guess what? This soup can be served to everyone.

Ginger adds a fresh, crisp, biting nuance to this soup when it’s roasted with carrots and leeks and then combined with a strongly steeped cup of ginger tea. If you want a multilayered ginger experience, top the finished soup with some peeled and grated fresh ginger or thin strips of crystallized ginger. Grate the fresh ginger with a Microplane or the fine holes of a cheese grater directly onto the soup.

Thanks to cookbook author, writer and friend Molly O’Neill for the brilliant ginger tea and freshly grated ginger ideas. The puréed soup can be served as is or topped with a dollop of plain Greek yogurt or a swirl of heavy cream (apologies, vegans), chopped fresh chives, or Croutes (sorry, gluten-free friends). Serves 8.


  • 4 small or 2 large leeks
  • 10 medium carrots, peeled and cut crosswise into 2-in [5-cm] pieces
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • One 2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and coarsely chopped, plus freshly grated, peeled ginger for garnish (optional)
  • 1 ginger tea bag
  • 8 cups vegetable stock or chicken stock


  1. Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 400 degrees.
  2. Trim off the dark green sections from the leeks and save for making vegetable stock. Halve the pale green and white sections lengthwise. Rinse under cold running water, pat dry, and cut crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces.
  3. In a medium roasting pan or ovenproof skillet, combine the carrots and leeks. Drizzle with the olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and toss to evenly coat the vegetables.
  4. Roast the vegetables for 15 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and toss the vegetables. Stir in the chopped ginger and roast for another 15 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, in a kettle, bring 1 cup water to a boil. Make a cup of tea with the ginger tea bag and steep for 5 minutes. Remove the bag, squeezing it to release all the liquid.
  6. In a large stockpot over high heat, warm the vegetable stock.
  7. Remove the roasting pan from the oven and deglaze with the ginger tea, scraping up any bits clinging to the bottom of the pan. Pour all the vegetables and liquid into the stockpot and bring to a boil over high heat. Turn the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes. Remove the soup from the heat and let cool slightly
  8. Using a food processor or blender and working in batches or using a handheld immersion blender, puree the soup until smooth. Return the soup to the pot. Taste and adjust seasoning, adding more salt and pepper if needed.
  9. Ladle the soup into mugs or bowls and serve topped with freshly grated ginger, if desired.

Recipe from “Soup Swap,” by Kathy Gunst (Chronicle Books, 2016)

Eggplant Parmesan

If you bake the eggplant ahead of time, there’s no need to sauté eggplant slices in lots of fatty oil (the more traditional method). Once the eggplant bakes, let it cool, slice it and place on a bed of tomato sauce with alternating slices of fresh mozzarella. Top with grated Parmesan cheese and panko breadcrumbs.


  • 1 large eggplant
  • 2 cups tomato sauce
  • 4 ounces fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 cup Panko or breadcrumbs


  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Wrap the eggplant in foil and bake for 45 minutes, or until it feels soft. Remove and let cool for about 10 minutes. Trim off the ends and cut the eggplant into 1/2 inch thick slices.
  2. Place 1 cup of the tomato sauce in the bottom of a medium gratin dish or ovenproof skillet. Place the eggplant slices on top, alternating them with the mozzarella slices. Season with salt and pepper. Top with half the Parmesan cheese and then top with the remaining tomato sauce. (The dish can be made several hours ahead of time; cover and refrigerate.) Sprinkle with the remaining Parmesan cheese, drizzle with olive oil, and scatter on the Panko.
  3. Bake on the middle shelf for about 45 minutes or until the eggplant is fully soft, the cheese is melted, and the sauce is bubbling hot. Place under the broiler for 2 to 5 minutes, until the top of the casserole is golden brown. Serves 4.

For more inspiration and recipes, check out Kim O’Donnel’s meatless cookbooks. Also, I recommend giving Joe Yonan’s great column “Weeknight Vegetarian” a read. Yonan is food and dining editor for the Washington Post.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Kathy's eggplant parmesan. (Kathy Gunst for Here & Now)
Kathy's eggplant parmesan. (Kathy Gunst for Here & Now)
Kathy's carrot and ginger soup. (Kathy Gunst for Here & Now)
Kathy's carrot and ginger soup. (Kathy Gunst for Here & Now)

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