Words by Roki Ferrer; photos by Mia Aguila (The Foodie Station Correspondents)

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Sustainability is a big buzz word in recent times, given the hastened effects of climate change and global warming. As food is scarce and the population is exponentially rising year-on-year, it is important that we all contribute in helping make the Earth livable for future generations. In fact, Filipinos waste rice enough to feed 4.3 million people; that is equivalent to the population of Laguna and Bicol combined. #TheSustainableDiner program of the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) aspires to inspire and inform everyone to source and prepare food with the least carbon footprint, reduce food waste in both commerical and residential kitchens, and eat healthier meals using local ingredients.

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“With The Sustainable Diner project, WWF-Philippines hopes to lessen food wastage and contribute to the improvement of the implementation of sustainable consumption and production processes in the food service sector. The Sustainable Diner project aims to engage the government, food service businesses, and consumers in promoting sustainable dining practices and in making The Philippines’ food service industry more environmentally friendly.”, said Project Manager Melody Melo-Rijk as she briefly discussed the key takeaways and pillars of sustainable dining.

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Inside the USDA Theater of the Center for Culinary Arts (CCA) Manila, Chef Robby Goco, Executive Chef of renowned Cyma, Green Pastures, SOUV!, Layag, and the most recent culinary concept Juanh Mi, educated an enthusiastic group of bloggers, media, WWF advocates, and members of the academe with his own sustainability principles applied in their kitchens. Who knew that aside from their olive oil, every ingredient in Cyma comes from the Philippines? “Greek in technique, but locally sourced”, said Goco. Plus, they do not have a can opener in any of his restaurants. Talk about fresh!

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Chef Robby and his team demonstrated three dishes that were prepared with fresh vegetables one could easily find in the market. Meat monsters, don’t fret because we can attest that these dishes will titillate your taste buds and make your heart feel good knowing you are helping Filipino communities and the planet flourish. Everyone in the plenary also had the chance to recreate the dishes inside the CCA kitchen, so we are now sharing these recipes with our fellow foodies!

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Avocado Hummus

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300g chickpeas (garbanzo beans), cooked
500g avocado
1 tablespoon minced garlic
½ cup tahini (sesame paste)
3 teaspoons lemon juice
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

1. Combine all ingredients in a blender and pulse until smooth.
2. Chill for an hour.
3. Arrange on a plate with avocado slices, sunflower seeds (optional), and whole chickpeas.
4. Drizzle with olive oil and cracked black pepper.
5. Serve with warm pita bread.

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Terra Natura

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Vegetables
500g fresh button mushrooms
500g pumpkin
500g red beets
500g red onion sliced
60mL olive oil
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
salt and pepper

1. Arrange vegetables on a roasting pan, drizzle with olive oil, salt, pepper, and chopped rosemary.
2. Bake in a 350oF for 35-40 minutes until soft. Let cool.
3. Slice mushrooms into quarters, peel and cube beets and pumpkin, dice onion.

Miso Dressing
100g white miso paste
30g Dijon mustard
30mL water
60mL lemon juice
60g honey
150mL sunflower oil
15g grated ginger
10g minced spring onion

1. Blend all ingredients and chill.

Cashew Brittle
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1 cup panutsa, grated
½ cup honey
¼ cup water
1 cup cashew nut
2tablespoons unsalted butter
1teaspoon baking powder
1pinch salt

1. Combine panutsa, water, and honey in a saucepan.
2. Boil until syrup reaches 338oF. Add cashews.
3. Take pan off the heat and stir in butter, baking powder, and salt.
4. Spread on a buttered tray and cool before breaking into small pieces.

Assemble the Salad
150g cooked adlay grain
30g kale
150g roasted mushrooms
75g roasted pumpkin
60g roasted beets
90g baked onion
30g cashew brittle
90mL miso dressing
5pcs basil leaves
salt and pepper

1. Combine adlay and 2 tablespoons of dressing. Put on serving plate.
2. Toss kale with 2 tablespoons of dressing. Place beside adlay.
3. Arrange roasted vegetables on plate.
4. Top with basil and drizzle with more miso dressing.
5. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

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Konoupidi (Roasted Cauliflower in Tomato Sauce)

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Pickled Onion
60g red onion
30mL distilled white vinegar
30 mL water
30 mL honey
1pc bay leaf
1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
1 tablespoon salt

1. Combine all ingredients except for julienned onions.
2. Bring to a boil and add to onions.
3. Let it cool and place in the chiller.

Roasted Cauliflower
300g whole cauliflower (without stem)
45mL extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

1. Place cauliflower on a roasting pan, drizzled with olive oil, and seasoned with salt and pepper.
2. Place in a 350oF oven and cook for 30 minutes until tender.
3. Crank up heat to 375oF and cook until cauliflower is golden brown.

Tomato Sauce
30mL extra virgin olive oil
4 cloves garlic, smashed with skin
45g caramelized onion
15g tomato paste
150g grated tomato
15g harissa paste (chili paste)
60mL water
1pinch cinnamon powder
15mL honey
salt and pepper to taste

1. Heat olive oil, add garlic and fry until golden. Remove garlic and set aside for garnish.
2. Add caramelized onion, tamato paste, grated tomato, and harissa.
3. Add water and bring to a boil. Add cinnamon and honey and season with salt and pepper.
4. Place in the blender until smooth.

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From professional chefs to avid diners, each one of us has an important role to play to make this world a better place, in delicious ways! Patronize eco-friendly restaurants who have pledged their commitment to #TheSustainableDiner program.

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Try these plant-based recipes that use sustainably sourced local produce. More importantly, make sure no food goes to waste as a sign of respect for the farmers who grew them, the hands that prepared them, and Mother Nature.

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Stay informed about #TheSustainableDiner program:
Facebook: WWF.Philippines
Instagram: @wwfphilippines
Email: mmelorijk@wwf.org.ph (Melody Melo-Rijk, Project Manager)