Low-carbon recipes are mindful of the energy and resources that go into producing, packaging, and transporting food.
Choosing local and in-season produce wherever possible is a good way to reduce the distance your food had to travel to get to you. Where your food comes from is one factor to consider, especially when looking at the bigger picture (ethical, sustainable, responsible farming practices and labour), but the most effective way to reduce the carbon footprint of your food is to focus on what you are eating.
As a general rule of thumb, plant-based dishes require less energy.
Dried beans of any kind!
The GHG impact of beans is 0.4kg/50g, compared to 2.9kg of GHG per 50g of poultry or 17.7kg of GHG per 50g of beef
- Bigger is better for this recipe. Butterbeans, navy beans, lima beans, chickpeas, any variety of larger heirloom bean you might get in your CSA? Avoid little lentils for this recipe.
- Tip: consider buying beans in bulk and bringing your own reusable jar. If you are not able to do this, buy bigger bags
Herbs, spices, and other seasonings of your choosing.
Choose items that are in season and grown locally, if possible
- This is a great way to use up fridge items that are on their way out and reduce food waste in your home.
- Some suggestions: dried cumin and lemon, a slice of overripe tomato and oregano, wilted mint and coriander seeds, cooked garlic and onion, chilli flakes
- Fresh or frozen greens, to be stirred in at the end
- Finish with a splash of vinegar (sherry, white wine, red wine, etc.)
Soak dried beans in water in the fridge (do it overnight).
- 1 cup of dried beans is 3 cups of cooked beans. Cover beans with a couple of inches of water.
Avoid wasting water by cooking your beans in the soaking water. Bring to a boil, skimming the foam, and add a teaspoon or so of salt.
Lower to a simmer and add a few tablespoons of olive oil (as little as a light layer pooling over the water and as much as ~1 inch cap on top – up to you).
Add seasonings of your choice (if using). Taste broth and add more salt, if needed.
Stirring gently, cook on a low simmer until beans are tender (anywhere from 20 minutes – 1 hr, depending on the bean).
When beans are tender and creamy (but still holding their shape), stir in fresh or frozen greens (if using). Add a splash of vinegar (if using). Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.
Serve warm! Drizzle with more oil and any herbs or seasoning you used. Freeze leftovers. Save the bean broth for making soups, stews, or to use as cooking liquid for grains.