Sauté onions and Swiss chard stems until soft.
Briefly wilt Swiss chard and remove from heat.
Cover bottom with 5 tortilla halves.
Cover final layer with tortillas and enchilada sauce and bake.
World Vegetarian Day
October 1st is the annual kick-off of Vegetarian Awareness Month. There's a lot of information to share as we learn more and more about the benefits of eating a predominantly plant based diet. No matter what your current diet is, here are some great reasons why you should eat more vegetarian meals.
Factory Farming is Harming Our Environment
Even our favorite Beatle, Sir Paul McCartney, tells us, "If anyone wants to save the planet, all they have to do is just stop eating meat. That's the single most important thing you can do".
The United Nations agrees that the meat industry is "one of the top two or three most significant contributors to the most serious environmental problems, at every scale from local to global."
So if you are driving to the grocery store in your Prius carrying your recycled bags, remember that eating more meat free meals is even more effective in preventing greenhouse gases and resource depletion.
A 2006 U.N. report showed that the meat industry produces more green-house gas emissions than the combined emissions of all the cars, trucks, airplanes and ships in the world!
Animal agriculture uses one third of the earth's entire land surface, consumes more than half the water and over one third of the petroleum.
The U.S. livestock population consumes more than 7 times as much grain as all the people in the United States put together. This grain could be better used to end world hunger.
It takes about 100 times more water to produce animal protein, pound for pound, than to produce plant protein. A meat eater's diet uses 4,000 gallons per day where a vegetarian's diet uses 1,200 gallons and a vegan's diet only uses 300 gallons.
The American Diet is Making Us Sick
The typical American diet has lead to obesity and all of the diseases that follow. Vegetarian diets are better for our health. People who eat meat are almost 10 times more likely to be obese. Vegetarians are 50 percent less likely to develop heart disease, and they only have 40 percent of the cancer rate of meat-eaters.
Several famous people have recently switched to a vegetarian diet for their health. World famous golfer Phil Mickelson announced that he switched to a vegan diet to help alleviate the painful symptoms of psoriatic arthritis. Even President Bill Clinton has changed to a mostly vegan diet to help prevent further accumulation of arterial plaque. I guess he wants to be around to become a grandpa now that Chelsea is married.
Factory Farms are Exempt from Animal Cruelty Laws
More than 15 billion animals are killed for food every year in the U.S. and the overwhelming majority of these animals are treated horribly. They are crammed into tight spaces and never get to experience things that should be natural to them like running in a field, feeling the warmth of the sun or raising their young. If anyone ever treated a dog or cat like these animals are treated, they would be arrested for cruelty to animals but factory farms are exempt from these laws. To learn more about this check out Farm Sanctuary.
Give it a Try
If you want to help save the planet, lower the rate of obesity and degenerative disorders and prevent animals from coming into this world unnecessarily just to become our food, eat more plant based meals. If you're a meat eater, go vegetarian one or two days a week. Start with this delicious recipe!
Swiss Chard and Black Bean Enchilada Casserole
[serves 4 to 6 people]
2 1/2 cups cooked brown rice
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, cut in half and thinly sliced
1 bunch Swiss chard, stems removed and finely chopped. Leaves sliced (about 6 to 8 cups)
28 ounce can enchilada sauce (medium heat), you'll need about 3 cups
Eight 6 or 7 inch corn tortillas
One 15 ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
Avocado and cilantro garnish or top with Guacamole (optional)
You'll need an 8" x 8" casserole dish.
Prepare enough rice to yield 2 1/2 cups of cooked rice and set aside.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Heat oil in a sauce pan and sauté onion and chard stems until soft.
Add Swiss chard briefly just until it wilts. Set aside.
Cut 7 tortillas in half. Leave 1 tortilla whole.
Pour about 1 cup of enchilada sauce in the bottom of the casserole dish. Cover the bottom of the casserole dish with 5 tortilla halves (see picture above).
Layer with half of the rice, chard mixture and beans. Pour another 1/2 cup of enchilada sauce evenly across the layer.
Cover with another 5 tortilla halves.
Layer with the remaining rice, chard mixture and beans. Pour another 1/2 cup of enchilada sauce evenly across the layer.
Cover the top with the remaining 4 tortilla halves and one whole tortilla (see picture above). Pour enough of the remaining enchilada sauce to completely cover the top.
Tent the top with aluminum foil making sure it doesn't touch to top layer. Bake for 30 minutes.
Remove the aluminum foil and bake an additional 15 minutes or until hot and bubbly.
Cut into 4 or 6 pieces and garnish with avocado (or guacamole) and cilantro.
Per serving (without garnish - 6 servings): 294.2 calories, 5.2 g fat, 0.3 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 8.6 g protein, 53.1 g carbohydrates and 7.5 g of fiber.
Per serving (without garnish - 4 large servings): 441.3 calories, 7.8 g fat, 0.5 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 12.9 g protein, 79.6 g carbohydrates and 11.3 g of fiber.
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