In recent years there has been a growing international movement called Meatless Mondays for people to consciously not eat meat once a week for the health of our bodies and planet. New York Times best-selling author Pam Anderson (along with her family) not only made a commitment to eat meatless every week, she recently published, Cook Without a Book: Meatless Meals a cookbook dedicated to encouraging families and individuals to do the same.
I had the great pleasure of interviewing Pam about her newest book and the meatless movement.
Alice: As an author of seven cookbooks, what made you decide to write, Cook without a Book: Meatless Meals?
Pam: I had just turned in my last book–Perfect One-Dish Dinners–in June of 2009. A few weeks after that, my daughters Maggy and Sharon, my husband David, and Maggy’s husband Andy headed off on a beach vacation. It was one of the most relaxing carefree vacations of my life. Before that vacation we had all talked about our response to factory farming in this country, but none of us had actually made a real commitment. One night after a leisurely dinner we got into a discussion, and it was then that each of us took time to figure out what we could do. My husband and I decided we could eat meatless a couple of days a week. My daughter Maggy and husband Andy regularly eat vegetarian as well. And my daughter Sharon and her new husband Tony are serious locavores which means they eat less meat as well.
Alice: With more people becoming more conscious of their food choices and the environmental impact it has on their health and planet, do you see the meatless movement as a current food trend or a growing sustainable lifestyle?
Pam: People are certainly talking about eating meatless, but I think when they take meat out of the equation, it leaves a pretty big gap on the plate and they don’t quite know what to do. I know I certainly experienced this… which is why I wrote the book!
Alice: You’re a mother of two daughters, what advice would you give parents on how to incorporate more meatless dishes into their family diets and meal planning?
Pam: Make it fun! I’ve got recipes for really good (and quick) bean burgers, meatless sloppy Joe’s and tacos made from lentils. My meatless Caesar has chopped boiled egg and hash brown croutons. The whole point of Cook Without a Book: Meatless Meals is to make meatless pleasurable, a day you look forward to.
Alice: Finally, what is your most favorite recipe in your cookbook?
Pam: In addition to the burgers, sloppy Joe’s, tacos Caesar salad that I just mentioned, I love the French Onion Soup and the quesadillas. For breakfast I love my wrap and runs–perfect for on-the-go families, and the breakfast fruit pizzas are very family friendly.
Thanks Pam for sharing your thoughtful insights on how to incorporate more meatless dishes into our family meal time and for your Fruity Breakfast Pizzas recipe from, Cook without a Book: Meatless Meals (Rodale 2012). For more about Pam, read her interview on PBS Food’s Kitchen Careers.
Pam’s headnote: Fruit pizzas work year-round. When the weather’s warm, make an array of summer fruit pizzas – plum, apricot, blackberry, and raspberry. For fall, bring an apple, pear, grape, and fig. For spring, showcase strawberries, mangoes, and pineapples.
Pam’s fave combos for fruity breakfast pizzas:Apples, hazelnuts, and cinnamon
Figs, pistachios, and vanillaApricots, slivered almonds, and orange zest
Strawberries, sliced almonds, and orange
Blueberries (or raspberries and/or blackberries), sliced almonds, and lemon zest
Pineapple (or peaches), pecans, gingerGrapes, walnuts, and cinnamon
Recipe: Pam Anderson's Fruity Breakfast Pizzas
A vegetarian recipe for Breakfast Fruit Pizza by Pam Anderson.
- 1/2 cup (4 ounces) reduced-fat cream cheese
- 2 tablespoons honey or agave nectar plus extra for drizzling
- Flavorings (Pick 1): see note below
- 1 pound store-bought pizza dough
- Cornmeal, for baking sheet
- 2 to 3 cups Fruit (Pick 1 or more): see note below
- 1/2 to 3/4 cup Nuts (Pick 1): see note below
- Flavorings / Pick 1***
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon finely grated lemon or orange zest
- 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
- Fruit / Pick 1 or more***
- Firm, crisp apple or pear-quartered, cored, each quarter halved crosswise and sliced
- Fresh figs-quartered
- Apricots or plums - pitted and sliced
- Peaches (peeled) or nectarines - halved, pitted, each half halved crosswise, and sliced
- Strawberries - stemmed and sliced
- Blueberries, raspberries, blackberries (halved if large)
- Pineapple-peeled, cored, and cut into medium dice
- Seedless grapes - halved
- Nuts / Pick 1; buy roasted nuts or toast the nuts yourself***
- Toasted walnuts, pecans, hazelnuts, pistachios, chopped
- Toasted whole (chopped), slivered, or sliced almonds
- Adjust an oven rack to the lowest position and preheat the oven to 500 degrees F.
- Microwave the cream cheese for 15 seconds to soften slightly. Mix the cream cheese with the 2 tablespoons honey or agave and the Flavoring.
- Cut the dough into 4 equal pieces and stretch each portion into a rectangle about 12 by 4 inches, arranging all 4 crosswise on a large cornmeal-coated baking sheet. Spread the cream cheese mixture over each portion of dough. Top with Fruit and sprinkle with Nuts.
- Bake until the crusts are crisp and golden brown and the fruit is bubbling. 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from the oven; drizzle with additional honey or agave, cut into portions, and serve hot or warm.