My big question for the day is:  If Aspen can do it, why not Taos?  Both are Rocky Mountain ski resort towns, where part-time inhabitants tend to swoop in on their private jets, but where all year round the views are to-die-for, the restaurants are world-class, and the permanent residents possess above-normally-raised consciousness.  This last point, at least regarding Taos, NM, where I’m proud to live, embraces a love for the planet, a deep concern for the environment, and an active interest in health and wellness.   And that includes food.

 

Aspen, CO, according to a recent article in The New York Times (“Meatless Mondays Catch On, Even With Carnivores,” by Kirk Johnson, 6/16/11), has just latched on to the Meatless Monday bandwagon, and I say:  “Yes!  You go for it, too, Taos!”

 

“A new nationwide pro-veggie effort … aimed at persuading people to go meatless at least one day a week,” Johnson says, has caught on in Aspen “more than in any other city in America.”  There, “at least 20 institutions and restaurants … are offering vegetarian choices on Mondays under a plan announced this month,” he says.  This is great news.

 

“Meatless Monday,” I learned from their website www.meatlessmonday.com, is a non-profit initiative of The Monday Campaigns, in association with the Johns Hopkins’ Bloomberg School of Public Health. This website provides all the information and recipes anyone might need to start each week with healthy, environmentally friendly meat-free alternatives.  Their stated goal is to help us all to reduce our meat consumption by 15% in order to improve our personal health and the health of the planet.

 

And here’s some fascinating history:  Presidents Wilson, Truman and Roosevelt galvanized the nation with voluntary meatless days during both world wars.  The intention of this new initiative is to revitalize this American tradition. “By cutting out meat once a week,” they say, “we can improve our health, reduce our carbon footprint and lead the world in the race to reduce climate change.”

 

Come to think of it, we don’t need to wait for our beloved home towns to officially join in the Meatless Monday campaign.  We can do so individually, starting this very week.  Here’s one of the many meatless recipes from the Meatless Monday website.  Try making it this Monday – and pretend you’ve just swooped into Taos.

 

 

Enchiladas

Enchiladas are a traditional dish of Mexico and South America [as well as Taos, NM]. They’re typically made with chili peppers and various fillings. This version uses vegetarian chili, but there are many other options for meat-free enchilada fillings, including beans and tomatoes.

Makes 12 servings

  • 12 corn tortillas
  • 1 (12-ounce) can vegetarian chili
  • 8 ounces low-fat cheddar cheese
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • cooking spray
  • 16 ounces no-salt-added tomato sauce
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  1. Place tortillas in 1/2 inch of water in a microwave-safe container with lid. Cover and cook in microwave on high for about 1 minute. You can steam tortillas if you prefer.
  2. Saute onion in cooking spray in skillet.
  3. Heat the chili.
  4. While chili is warming up, grate cheese and place cheese on the end of the corn tortilla then roll tightly. Repeat with all 12 tortillas.
  5. Layer in 9×13 inch pan then pour chili on top. Top with cheese and chopped onion.
  6. Bake in oven for approximately 20 minutes at 350 degrees.
  7. For the sauce, combine tomato sauce, onion powder, garlic powder, chili powder, cumin and oregano.  Mix and heat.