11 Recipes that Will Help You Go Green for Earth Day

Photo credit: Rachael Ray Show Aired April 22, 2015

by Lisa Lozano

Today is Earth Day, and while most of us want to be more environmentally conscious, it can sometimes be difficult to know what concrete actions to take. So we’re helping you out by providing 11 recipes you can make today that will help you to lower your carbon footprint.

When it comes to food, animal products produce the highest amount of carbon, when you combine the CO2 produced by the animal itself, the CO2 produced in making its feed, the CO2 produced in housing it, and the CO2 produced in storing and transporting the meat, dairy or eggs. Follow the below rules for a lower overall footprint!

Tip 1: Work more vegetarian meals into your diet. Three delish options:

Curtis Stone’s Potato and Zucchini Enchiladas with Habanero Salsa

Rachael Ray Show

Curtis’ enchiladas are hearty, flavorful and can easily be made with leftover veggies, or whatever you can find in your pantry. They can also easily be made vegan.

Macaroni and Cheese Primavera

Rachael Ray Show

This mac and cheese primavera packs a ton of veggies into a healthy treat that the whole family will want to chow down on, and you can totally cut back on the dairy ingredients to make it even more planet-friendly.

Eggplant Steaks alla Norma

Rachael Ray Show

If you’re looking for a veggie main dish with a hearty feel, why not try these eggplant “steaks.”

Tip 2: Even better, go Vegan for dinner from time to time! You don’t have to go completely vegan, but every meal that doesn’t feature animal products will reduce your carbon footprint. Here’s a yum vegan recipe you can make tonight! Two recipes to try:

Red Beans and Rice

Red beans and rice is a super healthy main course that is packs a spicy flavor punch and can become a staple in your dinner recipe rotation.

Mayim Bialik's Chocolate Fudge Cupcakes

Rachael Ray Show

Just because you’re eating vegan doesn’t mean you can indulge in decadent desserts. Check out Mayim Bialik’s animal-free cupcakes.

Tip 3: Eat local and in-season. You can definitely find local produce at your nearest farmers market, but many grocery stores now label “local” produce to make it easier to make “green” produce purchases. Asparagus is in season just about everywhere in the US right now:

Asparagus with Raspberry-Shallot Vinaigrette

This simple vegan asparagus side dish beautifully highlights the delicate green spring veggie.

Pasta with Ricotta and Peas

Rachael Ray Show

Another in-season vegetable is peas. This delicious pasta is vegetarian to boot.

Carbonara with Asparagus and Peas

Rachael Ray Show

This recipe features both asparagus and peas! And with just a small amount of meat and dairy, you get a lot of flavor without going heavy on the animal products.

Tip 4: Reduce your food waste. Make a delicious veggie stock with your leftover scraps by simply simmering the scraps for an extended period of time, then straining. Here are two other creative ways to use leftovers:

Leftover Crudites Two Ways

How annoying is it when you have a bunch of leftover veggie sticks after a party? Here’s a way to put them to good use!

Mushroom, Asparagus, Chicken Sauté with Rice Pilaf

Rachael Ray Show

This recipe features lovely veggies and leftover chicken. While chicken has a higher carbon footprint than vegetables, using one chicken for several meals is much preferable than discarding the leftovers.

What do you do to reduce your carbon footprint?

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