Experimenting With #Meatfree Monday Eating – Days 21 & 22 of Low Carbon Living

Black beans & quinoa mixed with chopped tomato, rocket & red onion in white salad bowl

Source: Gill King, Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0

Day 21 & 22 of 365 Days Of Low Carbon Living: I create a new meat-free dish with local ingredients.

How are you going with eating a lower carbon diet?

I find that hot weather, holidays, tiredness and being busy all contribute to lowering my imagination and energy when it comes to meal preparation.

However, in the interests of keeping the carbon footprint of my food down, and my success at the Climatarian Challenge up, yesterday I created a new dish…from local ingredients…with almost no cooking in this hot weather – and it was very easy. (Yay, me!)

What I did

An interesting and tasty salad containing black beans over Christmas inspired me to buy some black beans. It was the first time I had eaten them, and they intrigued me.

So I went out and bought some dried black beans from my local nut, bean and grain shop. I try to buy dry pulses because they have lower transport emissions embodied in them (because dry weighs a lot less than canned).

The shop even had Australian black beans, so (for people living in Australia) they came with lower transport emissions than ones overseas (usually USA or Canada). (I wouldn’t have bought foreign-grown beans because of their large transport emissions. Locally-grown produce also supports local farmers, which means stronger local communities (particularly in rural areas) – and resilient communities fare much better in times of stress, which we are increasingly seeing as the consequences of damage to our climate unfold.)

I have also been on the hunt for Australian-grown quinoa. Here in Australia, it would have much lower embodied transport emissions than quinoa from Bolivia. Finally, a couple of weeks ago, I found some – the first Australian-grown quinoa I have seen for some years. Naturally, I bought it.

And together the black beans and quinoa formed the basis of my salad.

The remaining ingredients all came from my garden (rocket) or my local farmers’ market (tomato, red onion, olive oil and lemon juice). (I am still waiting for this season’s production of those ingredients in my garden.)


Preparation was very quick:

  • soak the beans overnight
  • rinse the beans and the quinoa separately then cook them separately in fresh water (about ½ hour on a stove-top)
  • chop the red onion, tomato and rocket (arugula)
  • rinse the beans and quinoa briefly under cold water to cool
  • combine everything with olive oil and lemon juice to taste


The challenge

See how many meals you can make with:

  1. climate-friendly protein
  2. local ingredients

Join me!

Any change or challenge is easier if you have company along the way.

So let’s embark on this journey together.

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Till next time…