As part of our How Much Meat campaign, we thought it was only right to take on the drop a day challenge ourselves, and experiment with the canteen’s menu for a week. A decision was made to make Monday, Wednesday and Friday completely vegetarian days, and for Tuesday and Wednesday to have meals made with minimal meat, alongside a vegetarian option (as per every normal day).
Canteen manager Kelsey is fantastic at creating imaginative meals where veg is the star anyway, so this didn’t come as a challenge to her.
Featured breakfasts in our vegetarian week included a Spanish omelette with sourdough toast and avocado, and a vegetarian full English, with sautéed potatoes, roasted tomatoes, fried eggs, mushrooms, baked beans and toast.
Vegetarian lunches consisted of mushroom, potato and kale pie, a chickpea, cauliflower, potato and coconut curry, a roasted carrot, ginger and lentil dosa (Indian pancake) and flatbreads with roasted beetroot, homemade cheese and spiced almonds.
So what did the staff make of it all? Some of the staff start very early and by 9.30am they are well and truly ready for their bacon sarnie. They weren’t so keen on the idea of a vegetarian breakfast. After all, is a full English really a full English without bacon and sausages? Other staff often have breakfast before work or bring it with them, but ‘fry up Friday’ has become a bit of weekly tradition, so a meat free breakfast did seem a little disappointing to some – especially as it’s a weekly treat. However, the vegetarian alternatives were delicious, and still provided a plate full of a variety of flavours and foods.
The feedback for lunches was quite different, and the reception from many people was that as long as the food was flavoursome and exciting, you don’t always need meat. A lot of meat eaters said that they often opt for a veggie meal anyway, because the food is so good that they don’t feel they are missing the meat, and they are conscious of not eating too much of it.
In general, the consensus was that many people would be happy to have a couple of meat free days a week, and the rest of the time it’s good to have a choice. If we could consider doing this, and serving meals with minimal amounts of meat on the other days (like the gnocchi with small amounts of crispy pork, chilli, sage and sweet potato) then we could probably reduce our meat consumption by a significant amount.
What many dedicated meat eaters seem to have learned from working and eating at Riverford, is that meat doesn’t need to be the main component of a meal. With thousands of vegetarian ingredients available, like veg, grains, dairy etc, the possibilities are endless; all you need is a little creativity (and lots of tasty veg!).
Have you taken our pledge to drop a day yet? Head over to our www.riverford.co.uk/how-much-meat to find out more. To enter our drop a day competition, simply upload a photo of your vegetarian masterpiece to our Facebook page, or to Twitter or Instagram, using the hashtag #dropaday, and you’ll automatically be entered to win a month’s worth of veg and meat boxes.