Hello and welcome to Five Weeknight Dishes. There is so much news vying for your attention right now that I wanted to be sure you saw this article about diet and climate change: New research says that in order for humans to even hope to keep global emissions in check, there have to be sweeping changes to the food system.
A good thing about this — to the extent that there can be a good thing about this — is that there’s a concrete thing you can do, and that is adjust how you eat. Our big food and climate change F.A.Q. goes into a lot of practical detail about how your diet affects climate change. And while a vegan diet would be best from an emissions perspective, some scientists are urging people to simply move away from animal products and more toward plants.
I’ve been cooking far less meat, especially red meat, and I’m liking it. At home we eat more beans and eggplant Parmesan and eggs and soup and fish and pasta (a fair number of the classics are entirely meatless or pescatarian), all delicious. And so below you’ll find recipes that minimize meat, rely on fish or are totally vegetarian. I’m firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to get in touch.
Here are five dishes for the week:
This recipe by Ali Slagle is a speedy way to make chili, and the eggs take it to a pleasingly shakshuka-like place. Cheddar has a more significant carbon footprint than chicken or pork (you need cows to produce the milk, and a lot of milk to produce the cheese), so dial it back here or lose it altogether in favor of toppings like avocado and chopped onion, or even better, pickled onion or jalapeño. Serve with corn tortillas.
To quote a comment I recently saw on NYT Cooking: “This recipe is the business.” People love it. And fish can be a good option for the climate-friendly cook, depending on what kind you buy; check Seafood Watch to see what’s sustainable. Kay Chun uses salmon here, poaching it in a light coconut broth flavored with miso, ginger and garlic. Cod would also be great.
Chile crisp, a fiery sauce from Sichuan Province, has been steadily gaining devotees in the United States, including Sam Sifton, who wrote this easy, delicious vegetarian recipe for marinated tofu and blistered green beans. (Sub in a little sugar for the honey and it becomes vegan.) Use extra chile crisp on an ice cream sundae.