There is a new movement in the United States that is asking all citizens to eat vegetarian meals one day a week in order to improve personal health while helping to improve our environment – it is called Meatless Monday. They claim that by going meatless one day a week you may reduce your risk of chronic preventable conditions like cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity. It can also help reduce your carbon footprint and save precious resources like fresh water and fossil fuel.

Personally, I try to make vegetarian dinners for my family two to three times a week. I love the challenge of coming up with new recipes to feature seasonal produce and I also love how friendly it is on my wallet. By eating meatless a couple of times a week, we can afford to eat better quality meat the other nights of the week. I don’t mean t-bone steaks every other night, but it becomes possible to purchase organic, grass fed, free range meat from local sources. It is true that meat that has not been farmed in a factory costs more, but the benefits to eating meat that has been ethically and properly produced are numerous. I think that is a subject for another day!

Today’s recipe is one I made for my family on our last Meatless Monday.

Eggplant and Zucchini Primavera

1 medium eggplant, washed and sliced
1 medium zucchini, washed and sliced
8 white button mushrooms, washed and sliced
Olive Oil
Garlic Powder
Oregano
Onion Powder
Salt and Pepper
1 can of whole tomatoes with ½ the juices drained
1 box of whole wheat macaroni noodles cooked via the package directions
Grated cheese for garnish

Place a layer of eggplant slices in a casserole dish sprayed with no stick spray. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle garlic powder, oregano and onion powder over top. Place a layer of zucchini over the eggplant and repeat the seasonings. Finish with a layer of mushrooms and a light sprinkle of salt and pepper.  Bake in a 400 degree oven for 20 minutes until the vegetables are soft.

Add the can of tomatoes with ½ of their juices. Use a fork to break down the whole tomatoes. Put back in the oven for 10 – 15 minutes until heated through and liquid has started to thicken.

Add sauce to macaroni and top with a sprinkle of grated cheese. It has the freshness of spring, but is still hearty for those cooler March nights.

For more information on Meatless Mondays you can visit http://www.meatlessmonday.com/ .

Happy Eating!

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