Our best non-red-meat recipes for #NoRedOctober

Join us for an experimental month cutting out red meat, and do the planet a solid.
shaved carrot tart with ricotta

Whip up a treat like this shaved carrot tart with ricotta. Photograph by Beth Galton | Food Styling by Mariana Velasquez

Braised Egyptian Greens With Crispy Chicken (Egyptian Molokhia)
Braised Egyptian Greens With Crispy Chicken (Egyptian Molokhia) Dan Q. Dao

This story was originally published on Saveur.com.

Few truer phrases have been uttered than “cow farts are a big problem,” which is how our buddy and Popular Science editor-in-chief Joe Brown puts America’s red meat problem. Livestock alone are responsible for 12 percent of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, including billions of pounds of methane released every year from cows, pigs, sheep, and other land mammals that we eat.

On an ever-warming planet, that’s a growing issue, which is why Pop Sci and us are doing a little social experiment: #NoRedOctober, a month without eating red meat. We’ll be documenting our experiences with Pop Sci and sharing daily recipes, and we want to hear from you, too. Join in with us and let us know how your #NoRedOctober is going.

To that end, we’ve assembled a list of recipes below to keep you cooking for every day for the month of October. It’s a diverse list of seafood, poultry, and vegetarian dishes, all with the following criteria in mind:

  • Real substantial dishes, not rabbit food
  • Easy to make at home
  • Not just pasta and other obvious picks
  • Relatively eco-friendly (instead of bluefin tuna and piles of cheese, we went for more sustainable sea critters and a variety of legumes)

Plus a few cheat day oddballs, because some days you just need to tuck into some lasagna bread. Take a spin with the recipes below and hashtag your meals with #eaththeworld and #NoRedOctober, and we’ll share our favorites.


Turkish Steamed Anchovies and Tomatoes (Hamsi Bugulama)

At Emre Balikcilik, a charmingly rustic spot in Giresun, on Turkey’s eastern Black Sea coast, Turken Tunan prepares simple stovetop dishes with fish pulled from her fishmonger husband Turgay’s display case, which sits at the entrance. Bugulama (from bugulamak, Turkish for “steamed or boiled”) describe a whole range of ways of preparing fish on the Black Sea coast; there are probably as many versions as there are cooks. Bugulama can be soupy, saucy or dry; cooked on the stovetop or in the oven; spare and simple, little more than fish poached on the bone with parsley and garlic, or lush with juicy tomatoes and lots of freshly churned Black Sea butter. Get the recipe for Turkish Steamed Anchovies and Tomatoes (Hamsi Bugulama) »

Roasted Vegetable and Cod Casserole

Laced with garlicky croutons and topped with crispy fried shallots, this parsnip-and-cod casserole from chef Justin Smillie of Upland, is the perfect bubbling thing when the weather turns cold. Get the recipe for Roasted Vegetable and Cod Casserole »

Water boiled fish

Give mild fish a serious lick of heat with homemade chile oil and fermented black soy beans. You can serve the fish and vegetables with just a little broth, as shown here, or as a soup. Get the recipe for Spicy Sichuan “Water Boiled” Fish and Celery »

Japanese Sashimi and Rice (Chirashi)

Making sushi at home can be a challenge fraught with angst. That’s where chirashi comes in. It’s a rice bowl covered in colorful slices of fish, glistening balls of orange roe, and a rainbow of other garnishes from sesame seeds to seaweed promising all the architectural potential we lust for in a well-made sushi platter—but with far less effort. This recipe comes courtesy of chef Mike Lim of Chicago’s Roka Akor. Get the recipe for Japanese Sashimi and Rice (Chirashi) »

Goa cod curry

Goa, located on the west coast of India, has a regional cuisine known for seafood and coconut milk. But there’s another ingredient in the Goan pantry that calls back to its Portuguese colonial roots: vinegar. That’s what gives the slight tang to this easy, not-too-spicy fish stew. Like many curries, the flavor improves the next day, so I suggest making the base for the sauce the night before, even freezing it, and reheating it when you’re ready for dinner. Once the sauce is simmering, cooking the fish and getting dinner on the table takes just a few minutes. Get the recipe for Goa Fish Curry »

Sardine and Lemongrass Salad

Combining sardines with Thai spices moves the flavor away from purely fishy in this sweet and spicy salad. Get the recipe for Sardine and Lemongrass Salad »

Jose Garces Fish Tacos

Chef Jose Garces uses a batter of rice flour and vodka to produce shatteringly crisp fish bites that he then stuffs into warm tortillas and tops with cool, crunchy slaw. Get the recipe for Jose Garces’ Fish Tacos »


Braised Egyptian Greens With Crispy Chicken (Egyptian Molokhia)
Braised Egyptian Greens With Crispy Chicken (Egyptian Molokhia) Dan Q. Dao

The name of this stew—named after the leafy green that’s used to make it—is one of Egypt’s most popular dishes. Molokhia, the grassy-tasting, green vegetable also known as jute or Jew’s mallow, is occasionally available fresh at farmer’s markets, but the frozen leaves are far easier to find. Look for them at Middle Eastern and North African grocery stores. Get the recipe for Braised Egyptian Greens With Crispy Chicken (Egyptian Molokhia) »

schnitzel sandwich

Raegan Steinberg, co-owner of Arthur’s Nosh Bar in Montreal’s hip Saint-Henri neighborhood, calls her partner chef Alex Cohen an “everything and the kitchen sink kind of cook.” Called the McArthur Sandwich, this high-piled schnitzel-filled creation adapted from the restaurant is the perfect example of his genius. Pounded and breaded chicken is topped with sweet honey, salty dill pickles, and vinegar-y iceberg slaw, then served upon crispy challah toast. The secret to the crunchy yet hearty schnitzel breading: instant mashed potato flakes mixed into the breadcrumbs. Get the recipe for The Ultimate Fried Chicken Schnitzel Sandwich »

khan plov (chicken pilaf in a lavash crust)

Like many rice pilafs from the region, this one is spattered with saffron-infused water to create patches of fragrant yellow rice. The whole pilaf is wrapped in butter-saturated lavash to create a crispy, golden-brown casing that’s cracker thin. Any shape of lavash will work—just trim the pieces as needed into strips, rectangles, or ovals to fit the pot. Get the recipe for Chicken Pilaf in a Lavash Crust (Khan Plov) »

Buffalo Chicken Khachapuri

When we were brainstorming nontraditional variations for khachapuri, a cheese-filled Georgian bread, we kept coming back to our 2017 motto: “when in doubt, Buffalo everything”. We replaced the cheese filling with sliced chicken breast, buttery-tart buffalo sauce, and a generous helping of pepper jack. Enjoy it hot out of the oven by ripping off a piece of crust and dunking into the molten chicken-and-cheese well. Get the recipe for Buffalo chicken khachapuri »

Hatch green chile enchiladas

Roasted Hatch chiles are the most important ingredient for this recipe. You can purchase green chiles fresh or frozen online (find our favorite Hatch chile sources here), available in mild, medium and hot varieties. From July to October, some produce shops and farmers markets carry them fresh. As a substitute, use roasted Anaheim or other green chiles (but don’t tell anyone from New Mexico). Get the recipe for Hatch Green Chile Enchiladas »

Pan-Seared Chicken with Riesling Cream Sauce, Chanterelles, and Chard

Pan-roasting—as opposed to slow-braising—renders the chicken skin golden and the meat tender and juicy for this dish with riesling cream sauce, chanterelles, and Swiss chard. Get the recipe for Pan-Seared Chicken with Riesling Cream Sauce, Chanterelles, and Chard »

Chicken Ramen

When Kyle Itani of Itani Ramen makes ramen at home, this chicken version is his go-to. The broth is a relatively simple but deeply flavored chicken base layered with fresh ramen noodles, poached chicken breast, soft soy eggs, and a delicate fennel oil. We recommend Sun Noodle for fresh ramen noodles, but if you can’t find them, dried will do in a pinch. Other common toppings you can buy include: Bamboo shoots, fish cake, pickled mustard greens, and corn kernels. Get the recipe for Home-Style Chicken Ramen »

Blueberry Barbecue Chicken

Similar to a shrub—a fruit syrup punctuated by vinegar—this blueberry sauce makes a bracing drink when mixed with club soda or booze. It’s also the first step in a fruity vinaigrette and is a perfect glaze on oven-baked chicken. Keep in mind this is not a marinade. Brush it on toward the end of cooking and let the chicken soak up more of the sauce before serving. The final soak is key. Get the recipe for Blueberry Barbecue Chicken »

Green Chicken and White Bean Chili

This rich tomatillo- and green chile-based stew cooks much faster than versions made with red meat, but tastes like it cooked all day. Get the recipe for Green Chicken and White Bean Chili »

Roasted Chicken with Harissa

An earthy North African Aleppo pepper paste—perfumed with cumin, caraway, and coriander—flavors this juicy roast chicken from chef Michael Solomonov. Get the recipe for Roasted Chicken with Harissa »

Kak-Ik, Turkey Soup

This rustic turkey soup—often served when christening a new home in Guatemala—has a sweet-sour broth made from puréed tomatoes, tomatillos, and lots of garlic. Classically, the vegetables are toasted on a comal or griddle over fire, then crushed into a purée using a grinding stone, but a cast-iron pan and blender work just as well. Serve kak-ik like the locals do: with a small bowl of chile paste on the side to customize your own spice level. Get the recipe for Guatemalan Turkey Soup (Kak-Ik) »

Easy Veg Mains That Don’t Suck And Aren’t All Pasta

pesto and trofie pasta

In Genoa, pesto is most commonly tossed with trofie, a short, twisted pasta, or trennete, a thin, flat noodle. Never heat pesto on its own—the pasta will warm it—and add it sparingly (around ½ cup pesto per pound of pasta). Get the recipe for Trofie Pasta with Pesto »

Burma Superstar's Shan Tofu Salad

This traditional Burmese salad is a refreshing mix of silky, turmeric-infused chickpea tofu mixed with crunchy fried garlic and onions and tamarind ginger dressing. Get the recipe for Chickpea Tofu Salad (Burmese Salad with Shan Tofu) »

Piles of colorful carrot ribbons—which skew more savory than sweet, thanks to a lemony coriander-flecked dressing—come out of the oven glistening and retaining some of their bite. The keys to the couldn’t-be-flakier crust beneath: keeping the ingredients as cold as possible, and not overhandling the dough. Leftovers of the tart can be refrigerated and recrisped in the oven the next day. Get the recipe for Shaved Carrot Tart with Ricotta »

Roasted Eggplant

This recipe originated in the Ottoman palaces. Use small eggplants for a better eggplant-to-stuffing ratio, since the key is to bake as much vegetable and tomato flavor into the eggplant as possible. Feel free to play around with the filling: swap in vegetables like sweet corn or zucchini for a seasonal twist. Turkish Stuffed Eggplant (Imam Bayildi) »

Spiced Dal with Peanuts and Dill

Dill adds a fresh flavor to this Maharashtrian-style dal. Get the recipe for Spiced Dal with Peanuts and Dill »

Persian kuku sabzi

A classic Persian herb-loaded egg dish with the fragrant lift of rose petals. Get the recipe for Persian Kuku Sabzi »

Lasagna Bread (Scaccia)

A street food popular in its native Ragusa, scaccia is an exercise in rustic simplicity: A pizza-style dough is rolled super-thin, smeared with tomato sauce, showered with D.O.P. caciocavallo cheese (similar to a spicy provolone), and folded into a lasagna-like loaf. In some versions, yeast is left out of the dough, which results in a more pasta-like dough that gets layered into a thinner, free-form rectangular pie, served cut into squares. But whatever the shape, the pie is best served warm from the oven while the cheese is still gooey. Get the recipe for Lasagna Bread (Scaccia) »

Yogurt and Chickpea Soup

Packed with green lentils, wheat berries, and black-eyed peas, this filling, tangy soup is brightened with handfuls of fresh parsley and mint. Get the recipe for Chilled Yogurt and Chickpea Soup »

Watercress Ricotta Torte

Packed with grassy, spicy watercress and plenty of cheese, this frittata-like tart works wonders at brunch. Get the recipe for Watercress Ricotta Torte »

Cauliflower Shawarma Berber

This dish will make you dust off the grill in preparation for spring, and the taste of pomegranate will remind you of warm days on the way. Get the recipe for Cauliflower Shawarma Berber »

Slow-Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Garlic Labneh

Slow roasting enhances the potatoes natural sweetness, making this a standout side dish or vegetarian entrée. Garlicky labneh and quick trip under the broiler add tang and smokiness. Get the recipe for Slow-Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Garlic Labneh »

Spicy Roasted Cauliflower with Tahini

Whole cauliflower is quartered and roasted with paprika, turmeric, and jalapeño in this wintry side dish. Get the recipe for Spicy Roasted Cauliflower with Tahini »

Corkscrew Pasta with Eggplant and Tomato-Basil Pesto (Busiate con Pesto alla Trapanese)

The North African tradition of serving almonds in savory dishes is reflected in the pesto for this dish, in which the nuts are mixed with tomatoes and basil and tossed with busiate, the traditional corkscrew-shaped pasta from Trapani. Though we call for homemade pasta, you can substitute 12 ounces of dried busiate, available from Alma Gourmet, or your favorite noodle. Get the recipe for Corkscrew Pasta with Eggplant and Tomato-Basil Pesto (Busiate con Pesto alla Trapanese) »