This meal is hearty and delicious, and has a tiny carbon footprint compared to its counterpart. It’s from Forks Over Knives, one of my go-to websites for recipes. Click here for the full original recipe with portobello and porchini mushrooms. I made this dish with crimini mushrooms, since that is what I had on hand (see below for pic).
Carbon footprint of the ingredients:
|1 lb Portobellos||332||1 lb Beef||12,035|
|1/2 lb Criminis||166||1/2 lb Criminis||166|
|12 oz. Tofu||286||12 oz. Sour Cream||887|
|4 cloves garlic||4||4 cloves garlic||4|
|1 lb pasta||264||1 lb pasta||264|
The difference, (12,302 g CO2-eq) is equivalent to taking a 55 mile drive!! This really adds up—if you made a similar shift once a week for a year, it would equal the carbon equivalents of driving 2,860 miles!!
To keep your carbon footprint low, try not to boil more water than necessary when making your pasta. There’s a great book by Mike Berners-Lee called How Bad are Bananas? The Carbon Footprint of Everything. I found it a great read. (You can buy the kindle or paperback version on Amazon here.) In the book, the author gives estimates of the carbon footprint of heating water in various ways. Stove top kettles are the most efficient efficient, resulting in a footprint of 50 g CO2-eq per quart of water. An electric kettle has a footprint of 70 g CO2-eq to boil a quart, while a saucepan on the stove without a lid and with flames up the side has a footprint of 115 g CO2-eq. In general, forgetting to use a lid wastes 20% of the heat, and having flames up the side wastes another 20%.
Even if you are just making tea, it’s a great idea to make sure you are only heating the water you need. Adding double the amount of water to the kettle can increase the carbon footprint of your tea by 20 g CO2-eq. (This statistic is also from the How Bad are Bananas? The Carbon Footprint of Everything book.)
Enjoy! And please follow the blog for more recipes!
Conversion Factor Sources:
Most of the footprint conversions for this recipe come from Heller and Keoleian (2014) (see below for full citation). However, there is no value for tofu, so I used this reference. I averaged the values of 0.814 g CO2-eq / g for conventional tofu and 0.857 g CO2-eq / g organic tofu.
Heller, M.C. and G.A. Keoleian. 2014. Greenhouse gas emission estimates of U.S. dietary choices and food loss. Journal of Industrial Ecology.