Bowel Cancer Australia has announced the return of Meat Free Week, September 23-29, challenging Australians to try a plant based foods menu for seven days and raise funds for a great cause. The campaign aims to get people thinking and talking about how much meat they’re eating, and the impact consumption has on health and the environment. 

Now in its seventh year, support for Meat Free Week continues to grow with international celebrity campaigners and chefs such as Paul, Mary, and Stella McCartney, of Meat Free Monday, Anna Jones and our own Hetty McKinnon, Bill Granger and Rowie Dillon getting behind the cause.

On average, Australians consume 565 grams of red meat per week. Bowel Cancer Australia’s National Community Engagement Manager Claire Annear said the campaign was created to support conversations around meat consumption, and to help people find simple ways to eat for better health. 

‘Australians rank among the top in the world when it comes to meat consumption and 95% of us don’t eat enough vegetables or wholegrains.

Bowel cancer is Australia’s second deadliest cancer with 103 people dying each week from the disease.’ 

‘The latest findings show that eating three servings of wholegrains a day, such as brown rice, can reduce your risk of bowel cancer by 17%.’

‘Meat Free Week is all about awareness. For meat lovers, it’s not about promoting a complete shift to a vegetarian or vegan diet. The campaign supports a pause and for people to make more informed decisions if they’re eating over the recommended intake.’

Everyone is invited to take the Meat Free Week challenge and discover how easy it is to make small changes that can create a big difference.

Bill Granger’s Baked leek and goat’s cheese risotto

Bill Granger’s Baked leek and goat’s cheese risotto + apple and celery salad

‘I was always taught that you had to stand over the risotto pan and stir religiously for half an hour. I love rule-breaking, so I adore the controversial ‘no-stir’ risotto.’

Serves 4

2 tablespoons olive oil
25g unsalted butter
1 medium onion, finely chopped
3 leeks, cut lengthways and finely sliced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 teaspoon sea salt
2 teaspoons chopped rosemary leaves, plus extra to serve
250g arborio rice
850ml chicken stock, heated
120g soft goat’s cheese, rind removed and chopped
50g freshly grated parmesan cheese

Method

Preheat the oven to 200°C.

1. Heat a large ovenproof dish over medium heat. Add the olive oil, butter, onion, leek, garlic and sea salt, and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5–6 minutes, or until the vegetables are softened.

2. Add the rosemary and rice and stir over the heat for another minute. Pour in the stock and bring to the boil.

3. Remove from the heat and stir in the cheeses. Cover and bake for 25–30 minutes, or until the rice is cooked al dente.

4. Remove the cover and place under a hot grill for 5 minutes, or until the top is golden. Sprinkle with rosemary and serve with the apple and celery salad.

Apple and celery salad

100g rocket leaves
1 celery stick, sliced lengthways and cut into batons
1 head yellow chicory, leaves torn
1 head purple chicory, leaves torn
1 red apple, cored and cut into thin wedges
handful walnuts, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Method

Place the rocket, celery batons, chicory, apple and walnuts in a bowl and toss to combine. Dress with the lemon juice and olive oil and season well with freshly ground black pepper.

For more details, plant base foods and meat-free recipe ideas and to sign up, visit meatfreeweek.org. 

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