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You've Decided to Eat Less Meat, Now What?

There are any number of reasons for deciding to eat less meat. We explore the ramifications of different food choices and learn more about our food systems. We get help figuring out how to devise healthy plant-based meals, including nutrition for children and athletes, as well as how to address specific concerns if you're considering a vegan diet. This is a By Degrees program, part of NHPR's climate reporting initiative. We're collecting recipes and recipe links from listeners and staff; scroll down to check them out.
Airdate: Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2021


  • Elise Bolster, R.D.N., L.D. -  Nutrition Programs Manager, New Hampshire Food Bank.
  • Melissa Groves Azzaro, R.D.N., L.D. - Integrative and Functional Medicine Dietitian specializing in women's health and hormones at her practice, The Hormone Dietitian. She's also the author of a book, "A Balanced Approach to PCOS."  
  • Daniel Winans - Director, EcoGastronomy Dual Major Program, and Senior Lecturer, Department of Hospitality Management at the Peter T. Paul College of Business and Economics at the University of New Hampshire.



From our guest, Elise Bolster,RDN, LD: 

From listener Wanda Rice, a listener:

From our guest, Melissa Groves Azzaro, RDN, LD: - These are recipes she devised.

 From Peter Biello: 

Annie Ropeik recommends:

Two recipes from guest Daniel Winans: 

Cheesy Kale

  • 2 bunches kale, stem removed and chopped
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 tablespoons  butter
  • 1 cup apple cider
  • 12 ounces Swiss or cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 4 cups bread, ½ inch cubes
  • salt & pepper
  • 1 tablespoon butter, to butter the pan

Preheat oven to 400°F.  Butter a 9x13 casserole dish.
Heat large sauté pan over medium heat. Add 2 tablespoons of butter and onion, season with salt and pepper.  Sweat onion about five minutes, and then add the chopped kale, increase to high heat, season and continue cooking stirring occasionally.  The kale will need to cook at least ten minutes maybe more until it is tender.  If the pan begins to get dry add some cider a couple ounces at a time.

Once the kale is cooked toss it with the bread cubes and 8 ounces of cheese.  Spread evenly in the prepared hotel pan then top with the remaining cheese.  Place in oven and bake for about 20 minutes, until it is heated through and the cheese on top is browned.

Thai-inspired Peanut Noodles

  • ¼ cup peanut butter
  • ¼ cup water
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • ¼ cup seasoned rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 tablespoons ginger, fresh grated
  • Ingredients: Vegetables and Noodles
  • 2-3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 8 ounces snow peas
  • 2 carrots, julienned
  • 1 onion, julienned
  • 1 red pepper, julienned
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 pound whole wheat pasta (udon, soba, or linguini)
  • 2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
  • ¼ cup peanuts, chopped

Combine sauce ingredients in a large bowl.

Get water boiling to cook pasta. Start pasta cooking once you are ready to begin stir-frying.

In a large sauté pan stir-fry vegetables in 2-3 tablespoons of oil; season with salt, black pepper, and red pepper. Cook vegetables until they are tender, but still firm. Add to sauce.

When pasta is done add to the sauce. Mix well then top with cilantro and peanuts.

This can be served hot or cold. Tofu, chicken or shrimp work well in this dish.

Listener Sarah Palermo: Meatless ”Chicken" Parm

  • 2lb young zucchini
  • 1 C flour
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • lots (like, more than you think) of fresh basil
  • red chili pepper
  • salt

Grate the zucchini and salt well, leaving to sit for 30-40 minutes in a colander set over a plate or in the sink. After 30 minutes, squeeze out the remaining water, as much as you can.
Mix the zucchini, egg, chili powder and basil in a bowl, then add flour a bit at a time until the consistency is very thick like lumpy pancake batter. You may need more than 1 cup flour depending on how much zucchini you have.

Heat vegetable oil in a high-walled skillet over medium heat until shimmery. Drop 1/4 c scoops of the batter into the oil, flatten with the back of the scoop. Cook +/- 4 minutes per side, or until golden and cooked through. Taste the first one, and add salt to the batter if needed.

Transfer to a paper-towel lined plate.  Goes well with pasta and tomato sauce and grated parmesan. 

From listeners  BJ Wahl and Bob Switzer: Cheesy Tofu Scramble

Servings: 2-3 

  • 1/4 cup nondairy milk, unsweetened or plain
  • 2 tblsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce or tamari
  • 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons paprika or chili powder
  • 1 pound firm tofu, drained and squeezed (we slice into 8 slices and use a dish towel)
  • pepper, to taste

In 2 cup measuring cup, mix nondairy milk, apple cider vinegar and soy sauce. Add nutritional yeast and paprika. Heat oil over medium heat.
Crumble tofu into oil and cook for 4 minutes, scrambling tofu in pan. Pour in the liquid mixture and continue to cook until all the liquid is absorbed.

Salt and pepper to taste; add hot sauce, if desired.

Listener Laura Slitt in Bartlett:  veganized Reuben with my special sauce

  • Traditionally Rye Bread but use what you love 
  • Smoked Tempeh
  • Sauerkraut 
  • store bought or saute green cabbage in rice vinegar
  • Vegan cheeze  
  • Daiya
  • So Delicious, Follow Your Heart or Miyoko's can be found in grocery stores

Special Sauce  Ingredients:   

  • Just Mayo ( or any plant based mayo)
  • katsup
  • sweet relish
  • liquid smoke, white pepper, and add other herbs or spices to taste

In a hot pan or flat skillet, place four slices of smoked tempeh,  brown well. Remove from pan and place on paper towel.
Place bread in skillet after coating outside with Earth Balance or Miyoko's butter, then place sauerkraut in skillet and toss till hot.

Place tempeh on one side of grilled bread, top with cheeze, sauerkraut, and place sauce on other slice of grilled bread and place on top of tempeh.

Grill to perfection and enjoy gushy delicious veganized Reuben.

A similar recipe:

Laura Knoy: Mexican lasagna

Huge family favorite. Serves 4 with leftovers likely.

This can be made with black beans or chicken…or both! It is also gluten free (corn tortillas) and lactose free (Cabot cheddar cheese is lactose free! A Cabot farmer told me this a long time ago, and it does indeed say so right on the package.)

  • 5-6 medium chicken breasts….OR one large can of black beans, drained.
  • 2 medium to large onions, chopped small
  • 2-3 cups of shredded Cabot cheddar cheese
  • 1 large can green or red enchilada sauce (we prefer green)
  • Lots of corn tortillas (try to get a thicker brand)
  • Oil for cooking

Assortment of Mexican spices you like: chili powder, red pepper, black pepper, garlic powder, salt, up to you.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease a glass pan measuring 13 inches by 9 inches.

On your stove top in whatever pan you have, cook chicken (or beans) in a few tablespoons of canola oil, with whatever spices you prefer. Chop chicken into very small pieces. Set aside.

In same pan, cook onions. Set aside.

Pour about ½ cup of the enchilada sauce and ½ cup of water in the glass pan. Cover the bottom of the pan with corn tortillas. It’s fine if they overlap, you don’t need to piece it perfectly together.

Cover tortillas with some of the chopped onions, chicken/beans and cheese. Top with another layer of tortillas. Cover that next layer with onions, chicken/beans, and cheese. Top with another layer of tortillas. Continue this process until your ingredients run out.

Top with the remaining can of enchilada sauce. Cover very tightly and completely with aluminum foil. Bake for one hour.

Best to let it settle 5-8 minutes when it comes out of the oven.

Sandy in Loudon: Lentil Loaf

Really easy to make, serves 6-8, good cold or hot.

  • 8 oz Cheddar Cheese (can use Cabot 50 to 75% low fat)
  • 2 cups cooked and drained lentils ( ¾ cup raw)
  • ½ small onion, finely chopped, or more
  • ¼ tsp leaf thyme crumbled
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • 1 cup soft bread crumbs (2 slices)
  • 1 egg, slightly beaten
  • 1 Tbsp margarine

Shred cheese. Mash hot lentils with back of a spoon or potato masher in bowl. Add onion, thyme, salt, pepper, bread crumbs, cheese, egg, margarine and mix well.
Spread in a well-greased 9 or 10” pie plate. Bake 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes.

Can decorate with cheese on top and bake 5 minutes more. Can add tomato sauce and cook like meatloaf.

Fernando Bartolozzi, NHPR IT Support Specialist:

Carrot and Tofu Scramble
I block of extra-firm tofu (firm will do if it’s what you have available)

Some fresh carrots (About 3 or 4 medium sized carrots should do. Try to get a balance between the amount of tofu and the carrots.)

Oil (Olive, Canola, Vegetable, whatever you like for sautéing)

Bragg’s Liquid Amino Acids (or soy sauce)

My Amino Acids Rule: Amino acids are an alternative to soy sauce. It has that kind of saltiness to it. You can certainly use soy sauce if you prefer.  There are brands of amino acids on the shelf that are made from coconuts. I’ve only used them once and found them way too sweet for the stuff I use it for so I stick with the Bragg’s. I don’t use salt in these recipes because of the amino acids so I don’t recommend using any. Start with just a little of the aminos, maybe a tablespoon and toss it in and taste then add as you see fit to taste. You can always add, you can’t take away.


Roasted or Toasted Sesame Oil (Same thing)

Sesame seeds (Optional)

Black pepper (Optional)

You’ll also need a pan and a grater that has the larger holes for shredding.


1.      Press the tofu to get as much water out as you can. Put the tofu on a paper towel in a strainer. Put another paper towel on top of the tofu and put some weight on it. Cans, a heavy pan, etc. Let it sit for 10 or 15 minutes.

2.      Shred the carrots. If you want to buy pre-shredded carrots that works too but buying a bunch or bag of carrots and putting in a few minutes of effort to grate it yourself is a lot cheaper.

3.      Put a tablespoon of oil in the pan and sauté the carrots till their tender but still have a little crunch.  We don’t want them mushy. Take them out and transfer them to a bowl.

4.      Put a little more oil in the pan and using your hands, just crumble the tofu up into pieces in the pan and cook that. There will still be some moisture in the tofu so be careful because it will splatter if the oil in the pan is very hot. Some residual water may come out. Let that steam away as you cook. The tofu will brown a little.

5.      At that point throw the carrots back in and toss it all together. Cook for a couple more minutes just to heat things up and put in some amino acids and toss.

6.      Taste and adjust as needed.

7.      Chop up some peanuts and sprinkle over the top.

8.    Pour some of the sesame oil on top.

        9.    Sprinkle some sesame seeds on it if you like.

      10.   Grind some black pepper on it if you like.


Tofu Salad

I block of extra-firm tofu (firm will do if it’s what you have available)

Fresh basil


Red onion

Bragg’s Liquid Amino Acids (or soy sauce)

               Same rule applies.

Lemon for lemon juice

Black pepper (optional)


1.      Press the tofu to get as much water out as you can. Put the tofu on a paper towel in a strainer. Put another paper towel on top of the tofu and put some weight on it. Cans, a heavy pan, etc. Let it sit for 10 or 15 minutes.

2.      Take the tofu block and cut it into ½ inch cubes. Add to a large bowl.

3.      For the red onion, About half of a medium sized onion should do it but I just look at the tofu and gauge how much onion I would like to balance that out. Cut it however you like. There’s no rules. You can cut it in thin rings, half rings, chunks, dice it, whatever you like. I tend to do the half rings.  Put them in the bowl also.

4.      Cut the avocado into slices, chunks, cubes whatever you like. One avocado should do it for one block of tofu but put in as much as you like.

5.      Take a handful of basil and rip it into pieces. I like to stack the basil leaves, roll them up and then cut the roll into thin strips (chiffonade) so you have little ribbons of basil. Add them to the bowl.

6.      Squeeze some  lemon juice in. Same as the amino acids, start small with a half or even a quarter of the lemon and add if you like a more lemony flavor.

7.      Add the amino acids. Again, start with a little and adjust to taste.

8.      Grind some black pepper if you like (optional)

9.      Toss and refrigerate or eat right away if you like but don’t let it sit too long because the avocado will start to brown as time goes on. This is a good portable recipe for lunches and snacks so I sometimes make a fair amount, doubling the recipe but leaving out the avocado. I keep it in the fridge and add avocado as I take some out when I want it.



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