Are you starting off 2021 with a resolution to eat healthier? One terrific way to start building healthy habits into your weekly regimine is to practice Meatless Monday. Meatless Monday is a global movement that encourages people to reduce meat in their diet, not only for their health but for the health of the planet. The campaign was started in 2003 by Sid Lerner, the Founder of The Monday Campaigns, in association with the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future.
Foregoing meat one day a week doesn't have to mean dull dinners with a side order of deprevation. And most importantly, it doesn't mean you have to go without the wine (unless you're doing Dry January, and after the events of last year, believe me, we're not). To prove the point, we turned to our good friend, food writer Karista Bennett. She's the chef behind the wildly-popular food blog and the author of The Oregon Farm Table Cookbook: 101 Homegrown Recipes From The Pacific Wonderland.
"Meat doesn't have to be the center of every meal," Karista told us. "There are so many amazing flavors and textures to explore, and so many delicious ways to eat healthier!"
Karista shared with us three of her favorite meatless recipes from her new cookbook, and it's our pleasure to present them to you, paired with three of the most delicious varietals Cultivar Wine has to offer:
In a soup pot over low heat, add the chicken broth, fresh thyme, bay leaf and parmesan cheese rind. Heat the broth to a very slow simmer.
Prepare the mushrooms. Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add the 2 tablespoons of olive oil. When the oil is hot add the mushrooms and sauté until slightly browned and a little crispy. Then stir in the minced garlic, fresh chopped herbs and squeeze of lemon. Take the skillet off the heat and season lightly with a bit of salt and pepper. Reserve.
In a Dutch oven or large pot over medium heat add 2 tablespoons of olive oil or butter. Then stir in the diced onion and cook until slightly wilted. Stir in the garlic and rice and cook for 1-2 minutes longer.
Add the wine and stir until the wine is almost absorbed. Next stir in about 1 cup of the simmering chicken broth (don’t add the herbs or parmesan) and continue to stir constantly until the liquid is almost absorbed.
Continue to repeat this process with ½ cup of broth at a time, stirring consistently and allowing each addition of broth to be absorbed before adding the next ½ cup. This process should take about 20-30 minutes or until the rice is almost tender, al dente.
When the risotto is done, take it off the heat and stir in the grated parmesan cheese, 2 tablespoons butter and lemon zest. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Divide the risotto into four bowls and top each bowl with the crispy mushrooms and herbs. Serve immediately.
Pair it with: 2018 Cultivar Wine Chardonnay, Oak Knoll, Napa Valley.
Sprinkled with notes of ginger, toast, honey, and butter-baked apples, this Chardonnay with the rich, cheesy texture of the risotto.
Serves 6-8 as an appetizer or 4 as an entrée
Preheat the oven to 425F.
Whisk together the ricotta, lemon zest, fresh thyme leaves, garlic and parmesan. Season with salt and pepper. Reserve.
Trim the root ends of the leeks but be sure not to cut the ends completely off as we want the leeks to stay together during cooking. Then trim the leeks just at the point where the leeks turn to pale green. Slice each leek in half lengthwise.
Heat a skillet with 2 tablespoons of butter and 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. Just as the butter melts and the butter/oil mixture is hot, add the leeks cut side down. Place a lid over the skillet, turning the heat to medium low if needed and cook for about 2-3 minutes. With tongs, gently turn the leeks once and let them cook another 2-3 minutes until soft and wilted.
Take the pan off the heat and reserve. Next, line a baking sheet with parchment and brush the parchment with a little oil. Unfold the puff pastry and place it on the parchment. Roll it out just a bit, to smooth out the seams, but not too much as puff pastry needs to be ¼” to 1/3” thick to puff. Pierce the puff pastry with a fork several times in all corners and the middle of the pastry.
Spread the ricotta evenly over the pastry, leaving a one-inch border on all sides. Place the butter braised leeks evenly over the ricotta.
Whisk together the egg and cold water to make an egg wash. Brush the edges of the pastry with the egg wash and then place the baking pan in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, or until the pastry is golden brown.
Remove the pastry from the oven and let it cool slightly before slicing.
Garnish with a handful of lemon juice and olive oil dressed pea shoots, watercress, arugula, carrot swirls or edible flowers. Serve warm.
Pair it with: The 2019 Cultivar Wine Sauvignon Blanc, Napa Valley.
We recommend using Caspar Estate Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Leeks, puff pastry and ricotta call for a wine with a bright acid to bring out the flavors and clear the pallate. With its notes of citrus fruit and melon, our Sauvignon Blanc make the perfect accompanyment to this delicious, savory tart.
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About Karista Bennett:
Chef, Food Writer & Author | Girl Mama and Cattle Dog Wrangler | Creating fresh ingredient recipes
"I’ve always had a poetic view of food. Hunger-enticing aromas swirling about my place at the table and causing a most soul-filled joy. With the first bite, I pause, relishing the beauty of the flavors dancing on my tongue. Food is the element that brings us to the table, where life is lived and memories are made. " Karista Bennett