2 Almost Vegetarian Recipes from Mark Bittman

You can thank Mark Bittman’s bad knees, increasing girth, and other health problems for The Food Matters Cookbook. A plant-heavy diet has done wonders for the award-winning food writer personally—and, he says, cutting back on animal products is a way for every food shopper to fight global warming. (Not all dishes need to be meatless—as our first recipe shows.) Here, fall dishes that are good for your health … and the planet.

Plus, read about what Mark Bittman did to lose weight.

Cassoulet with Lots of Vegetables

  • 2 tbs. olive oil
  • 1 lb. Italian sausages in casing, bone-in pork chops, confit duck legs, or fresh duck breasts, or a combination
  • 1 tbs. minced garlic
  • 2 leeks, trimmed, well rinsed, and sliced, or 2 onions, sliced
  • 2 carrots, cut into 1-in. lengths
  • 3 celery stalks, cut into ½-in. pieces
  • 2 zucchini or one small head green cabbage, cut into ½-in. pieces
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 4 cups chopped tomatoes (canned are fine; include their juice)
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tbs. chopped fresh thyme or 1 tsp. dried
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 cups cooked or canned white beans, drained, liquid reserved
  • 2 cups stock, dry red wine, bean cooking liquid, or water, or more as needed
  • Pinch of cayenne, or to taste

    How to make it 

  • 1

    Put oil in large pot over medium-high heat for 1 minute. Add meat and cook, turning occasionally, until pieces are deeply browned on all sides, 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from pan and drain off all but 2 tbs. of fat.

  • 2

    Reduce heat to medium and add garlic, leeks, carrots, celery, and zucchini; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add tomatoes with their juice, reserved meat, and herbs; bring to boil. Add beans and bring to boil again, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat until mixture simmers gently but continuously. Cook for about 20 minutes, adding stock when mixture thickens and vegetables are tender, about halfway through cooking.

  • 3

    Take out meat and remove bones and skin. Chop meat into chunks and return to pot along with cayenne. Cook for about another minute to warm through; taste and adjust seasonings. Serves 4 to 8.

Roasted Sweet Potato Salad with Chili Dressing

  • 4 medium sweet potatoes (about 1½ lbs.), peeled and cut into large sticks
  • 1 large onion, preferably red, sliced
  • 8 tbs. olive oil
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 2 tsp. chili powder, or to taste
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • 1 cup chopped fresh cilantro

    How to make it 

  • 1

    Heat oven to 400°F. Put sweet potatoes and onion on large baking sheet, drizzle with 2 tbs. olive oil, toss to coat, and spread in single layer. Sprinkle with salt and pepper; roast, turning occasionally, until potatoes are crisp outside and just tender inside and onions are soft and brown, 35 to 45 minutes. Remove from oven; keep on pan until ready to dress.

  • 2

    Meanwhile, whisk together the remaining 6 tbs. olive oil with chili powder, lime juice, and a pinch of salt and pepper.

  • 3

    Toss warm vegetables with dressing and cilantro. Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary. Serve warm or at room temperature (or cover and refrigerate up to a day). Makes 4 servings.

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