Articles / There Is No Meat in This Episode

There Is No Meat in This Episode

Published May 31, 2022

Talks with Ethan Brown and Frances Moore Lappé

“I read a lot around Darwin as I got older, and I began to understand that the feelings that I was having of a connection to animals were based on biology, not just emotion. I was seeing life forms that were more like me than not. And I grew up with that, and I tried to integrate that in my own life. And it’s always imperfect, but over time I think I’ve gotten better at it.” — Ethan Brown

“It’s not the magnitude of the challenge that does in the human spirit. It’s whether we can see a place for ourselves.” — Frances Moore Lappé

On today’s episode of Food with Mark Bittman, I talk separately to two of my favorite people — really. The first is Ethan Brown, who is the founder, president, and CEO of Beyond Meat. Ethan and I joke that we’ve been having an ongoing conversation for 13 years, but it’s true. I wrote about him in the Times in 2012, and we’ve been friends ever since, despite — or maybe because — he’s trying to change me. He’s a wonderful guy.

My second guest is another longtime friend, the great Frances Moore Lappé, who wrote the trailblazing book, Diet for a Small Planet, which just celebrated its 50th anniversary. (In all, it’s sold more than three million copies.) Frankie, as she’s known to many, is a true inspiration, someone I frequently quote and refer people to.

As you may have noticed, today’s episode has a theme, that of plant-centered eating. The first reason is one I’ve already mentioned: Both Ethan and Frankie are people that I find inspirational and wonderful. The second is that I just released an interactive guide to cooking called How to Eat Less Meat. My team worked incredibly hard on this course; take one look at it, and that much is evident. It’s an entirely new way to cook, and I don’t want you to be put off by the format, because it can seem strange — it’s text-based. But don’t let that stop you from trying it; think on-demand, completely-tailored-to-your-time-frame cooking.

Back to the podcast: Please listen, subscribe, and review. And we’d love to hear your food-related questions, as we’d like to start doing live Q&A: Email us: food@markbittman.com. The recipe featured in this week’s episode is below.

Thank you, as always. — Mark

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Garlic and Leek Ricotta Spread

Makes: 4 servings

New for this edition, this rich and savory spread is delicious atop toasted bread and served alongside a bowl of greens. Great as an appetizer for a small gathering or for a special lunch. — Diet for a Small Planet, Revised and Updated


  • 1 small head of garlic

  • Olive oil

  • 1 medium leek (white and light green parts only), rinsed well and roughly chopped

  • 1 ½ teaspoons tamari

  • 1 cup ricotta cheese

  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper


Preheat the oven to 400°F. Cut and discard about 1/4 inch from the top of the garlic head, exposing the cloves. Place the garlic on a sheet of aluminum foil and drizzle 1 teaspoon oil over the exposed head. Wrap it with the foil and bake for 25 minutes.

While the garlic is roasting, heat a pan with 1 tablespoon oil and add the leeks. Sauté for 3 to 4 minutes until the leeks are translucent, then add the tamari and cook until browned. Place the ricotta in a serving bowl.

Once the garlic is done roasting, allow it to cool, and then squeeze the garlic cloves from their skins into a small bowl and mash them with a fork. Discard the skins. Mix the smashed garlic along with about half of the sautéed leeks into the bowl with the ricotta. Top with the remaining leeks and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.

— Recipe from Diet for a Small Planet, Revised and Updated