For Earth Day, 9 recipes to help reduce your 'foodprint' (2024)

This year, Earth Day, held every April 22 since 1970, is a good opportunity to remind ourselves that we can “fight climate change with diet change.” Some suggestions for how include eating less meat, buying local food, supporting organic ingredients, pushing for plant-based options and calculating your foodprint. Many of these goals come together in our everyday cooking. These plant-forward recipes may not constitute a full-on diet change, but they do touch on most of the tactical points toward a climate-friendly diet and, even if undertaken for one meal or one day, can constitute a step toward shrinking your foodprint.

Black Bean and Mushroom Burgers make a bold statement in support of eating less meat. Smoked paprika or cumin lend a charred-like flavor to the vegetarian patty for extra umami. Served with your favorite fixings, it will feel as though you are eating a beef patty — and it may well taste that way too.

Along similar lines, Ecuadorian Ceviche Vegetariano, made with shiitake mushrooms, lupin beans, avocado and hearts of palm in a lime dressing is a refreshing bowlful of umami — especially when you add in the classic Ecuadorian accompaniments like plantain chips, yucca and popcorn. Aromatic Olives Al Forno would make a great accompaniment for both the ceviche and the burgers.


For a different take on salads, skip the bed of lettuce and try a colorful Red Rice Salad with Favas, Walnuts and Red Peppers. It tastes even better than it looks and is also loaded with texture. Sherry vinegar and freshly sliced fennel add vibrant flavor to complement the aromatics in an earthy Vegan Lentil and Fennel Salad. A dollop of biber salçası (Turkish red pepper paste) gives some heat to a pleasantly chewy Spicy Bulgur Saladadd a little or a lot, if you like it really hot.

Red Bean Pkhali (Georgian Red Bean and Walnut Paté) is a bit simpler than some versions that are made with beets or spinach rather than the beans, but the cilantro, coriander and fenugreek give it the quintessential flavors of Georgian cuisine. Served with crusty bread and/or fresh crudités, it makes a wonderful appetizer or main course.

If you are enjoying the current mushroom craze, you won’t want to skip King Oyster and Wood Ear Mushrooms with Cilantro Persillade. The dish highlights the contrast between the meaty king oyster mushrooms and the thin, crunchy wood ear mushrooms. Bright and tasty, it works well as a side or main dish.


Crumbly sable cookie dough serves as the base and the crumb topping for Vegan Berry Bars. Make them with strawberries (currently in season and just about at their peak) and they fit the bill for buying local as well as eating plant-based and supporting organic. This tasty, tangy dessert is sure to both satisfy your sweet tooth and reduce your foodprint, making for a super delicious way to do your part to save the planet.

Red rice salad with favas, walnuts and red peppers

The tart, somewhat lemony vinaigrette makes a great vehicle for the colorful whole-grain rice and the bright-green fava beans look beautiful against the red grains.

Time1 hour

YieldsServes 6

Ceviche vegetariano

This Ecuadorian-inspired, umami-laden vegetarian ceviche is made with hearts of palm, mushrooms, white beans, cauliflower, corn, avocado and a refreshing lime broth.

YieldsServes 6 as a main dish or 8 to 10 as a first course


Vegan berry bars

The sweet-tart notes of the fruit complement the richness of the sable-inspired cookie crust, and your guests might never guess the treat is vegan.

Time1 hour

YieldsMakes 12 to 16 bars

Olives al forno

Cerignola, Castelvetrano and Taggiasca olives are tossed with an aromatic blend of fresh thyme, garlic, lemon and orange zest, peppers and rich olive oil in this simple dish.

Time25 minutes

YieldsServes 8 to 10

Vegan Lentil and Fennel Salad

Small, firm lentils such as le Puy or beluga taste best in this lentil and fennel salad.

Time1 hour

YieldsServes 4 to 6


Black Bean and Mushroom Burgers

These veggie burgers feature black beans and sautéed mushrooms, adding the same meaty chew and heft that beef provides in classic recipes.

Time1 hour 10 minutes

YieldsServes 3 to 6

Red bean pkhali (Georgian red bean and walnut paté)

A hallmark of the Georgian table, pkhali incorporates a mixture of ground vegetables. This version is made from kidney beans with pomegranate seeds sprinkled on top.

TimeAbout 1 hour 30 minutes plus soaking/chilling time

YieldsMakes 2 cups

Spicy bulgur salad with sweet peppers and pepper paste

Turkish hot pepper paste adds heat to a salad of chewy bulgur with sauteed bell peppers and onions flavored with notes of cumin, mint and fruity olive oil.

Time1 hour

YieldsServes 4 to 6


King Oyster and Wood Ear Mushrooms with Cilantro Persillade

King oyster and wood ear mushrooms are sauteed or grilled and served with cilantro and garlic, adding freshness to this earthy, vegan side dish.

Time15 minutes

YieldsServes 2 to 4

For Earth Day, 9 recipes to help reduce your 'foodprint' (2024)


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