Eat More Plants … Help Our Planet

About the author : Lara Seng

Sustainable Living Manager at Sodexo North America

Published on : 5/17/22
  • Combating climate change can sometimes make us feel overwhelmed, hopeless and paralyzed to act. But we all can take simple, impactful actions — like eating more plant-based foods — that inspire others to follow.

    Working in the field of sustainability can feel like a roller coaster ride. One minute, you’re elated and filled with hope for the future and the positive impact your work can have. The next, you’re overtaken by doubt and anxiety. 

    Truthfully, the scope and scale of the challenges we face today can overwhelm anyone. A recent survey by Yale University indicates that 35% of Americans are very worried about climate change. Younger generations are especially concerned, which can lead to feelings of hopelessness, sadness and fear. Sometimes, we just don’t know where to begin. 

    Fortunately, individual action really can make a difference, and it does not have to be complicated or expensive. Analysis by Drawdown Solutions, the research arm of Project Drawdown, reveals that individual and household actions have the potential to produce roughly 25 to 30% of the total emissions reductions needed to avoid dangerous climate change.

    Eating a more plant-rich diet is one of the top two most impactful actions individuals or households can take to combat climate change, according to Drawdown Solutions.

    A plant-rich diet is more impactful (and more accessible) than driving an electric car or installing solar panels on your home. And eating a diet filled with whole, plant-based foods can deliver significant health benefits as well. 

    When we are healthier and happier from contributing to a safer planet, our friends and family notice. We can inspire those around us to join in.  

    Restaurants and grocers take notice, too, and our interest in plant-based eating can motivate them to offer more creative, delicious options in the future. We know the market responds to consumer tastes and demands, so we can help create that market by requesting and purchasing more plant-based foods. 

    At Sodexo, we believe doing good by the planet can and should taste good! So, we continually develop appealing new recipes that make choosing plant-based meals simple, satisfying and approachable — whether you are new to plant-based eating or a longtime fan.  

    Globally, we are committed to 33% plant-based planned menus by 2025, which will give our guests greater access to delicious, sustainable meals that have a lower impact on carbon emissions. In our U.S. college campus dining rooms, we’re aspiring to have 42% of our planned menu offerings be plant-based by 2025

    We train our teams in plant-based cooking techniques and in naming plant-based menu items to ensure we’re delivering outstanding, appealing culinary experiences. We understand that tempting, mouthwatering product names entice guests to try new dishes. And we’re piloting new practices, such as making plant-based the default option, to encourage more guests to try plant-based eating.  

    It all starts with the everyday. Small choices we make every day really do matter, like trying plant-based milk on your cereal or opting for a tasty black bean burrito at lunch instead of a meat option. These small actions fuel our hope and empower us to do more.  

    To inspire you, we’re sharing a tasty taco recipe here.  

    Why not start today?  


    Sweet and Smoky Tacos Recipe 

    Corn tortillas stuffed with smoky chorizo-style mushrooms, lentils, pickled onions, avocado and a pineapple salsa 

    Serves 4
    Portion: 2 Tacos 


    • 3 Tablespoons canola oil
    • 2 Pounds portobello mushroom caps, black gills removed
    • 3 Tablespoons smoked paprika
    • 2 Tablespoons chili powder
    • 1 Tablespoon ground cumin
    • 1 Teaspoon dried oregano
    • ¼ Teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • ½ Teaspoon kosher salt
    • 2 Tablespoons white vinegar
    • 2 Tablespoons chopped garlic
    • 8 Corn tortillas, white or yellow, warmed
    • 1 Cup lentils, cooked per package instructions
    • ½ Cup pineapple salsa, store-bought
    • ½ Cup pickled red onions, store-bought or see recipe below
    • 1 Avocado, sliced thin 



    1. Remove stems and gills from mushrooms and discard. Rough-chop mushroom caps to ½ inch-size pieces.
    2. Heat oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the mushrooms, dried spices, garlic and vinegar. Stir to combine.
    3. Cover the pan with a lid and cook for 8 to 10 minutes, allowing the mushrooms to release moisture.
    4. Increase the heat to medium-high and remove the lid. Continue to sauté, stirring frequently until mushrooms are well browned. Adjust seasoning as needed.
    5. While the mushrooms are cooking, prepare the pickled onions and lentils. 


    To Assemble the Tacos

    1. Combine chorizo-style mushroom mixture with cooked lentils. Spread approximately ¼ cup of the mixture on each warm tortilla.
    2. Top with one Tablespoon each of salsa and pickled onions. Garnish with sliced avocado and enjoy.  


    For Pickled Red Onions

    Combine one thinly sliced large red onion with the juice of 4 limes, 1 teaspoon of kosher salt and 2 teaspoons of dried oregano. Place into a jar or airtight container for a minimum of 12 hours to marinate in the refrigerator. For a little kick, add half of a habanero pepper.