There's evidence that humans have been eating calf meat, which is now known as "veal," since at least biblical times. In the famous Parable of the Prodigal Son, the father slaughters a "fatted calf" to celebrate the titular son's long-awaited return. Nowadays, however, veal is seldom eaten by most Americans; each person consumes on average only a third of a pound per year!

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This may be because veal is substantially more expensive than the closely related beef (adult cow meat), because word has gotten out about some of the inhumane practices that can occur in the veal industry, or because the thought of eating baby animals just grosses a lot of out.

Though veal can be produced from calves of either sex, it is most often made from the male offspring of dairy cows; their sisters will likely be allowed to grow up and become milk-producing heifers themselves.

However, since dairy cows are a different breed than beef cows and far less bulls than heifers are needed to maintain a dairy farm, these male calves have no use except as potential veal. Since most male dairy calves not used for veal are shot at birth instead, some argue that not eating it would be downright wasteful.

Unfortunately, these male calves are not usually fed actual milk, because their mother's milk is going to us humans. In less humane veal operations, they are instead given an insufficient formula that's far less healthy for them and pumped full of chemicals, antibiotics and hormones that could have ill effects on our health as well as theirs.

Some veal calves are also deliberately deprived of iron so that their meat will maintain its signature white color, or kept in crates that restrict their movement so that their muscles will not toughen and lose their tenderness.

Fortunately, veal crating is now banned in the European Union and is being phased out in the US as well, with eight states having actively banned the practice. Plus, all American Veal Association members have committed to raising their veal under more human conditions since 2017.

Keeping calves better nourished and allowing them more room to roam may create a pinker "red" or "rose" veal that apparently still tastes great. Perhaps the best course of action if you do decide to include veal in your diet is to research how humane the farm it came from is before digging in.

veal

Even those who find it difficult to digest other red meats may find themselves able to digest the less developed but nutritionally similar veal, so it could be a good option for them to enjoy some of the health benefits they might otherwise miss out on.

A hundred-gram cut of lean veal has a similar calorie (180) and protein (20 grams) content to a comparably sized lean cut of beef. Veal is slightly higher in cholesterol and saturated fat, but few people eat veal often enough that they need to worry about it anyhow!

The micronutrient profiles of beef and veal are also slightly different. Beef has higher levels of the minerals iron and zinc, while veal is higher in minerals potassium, magnesium, copper, and phosphorus. On the vitamin side, veal has more vitamin B3, B5, and K than beef, though beef has more B12.

veal2

However, though veal itself is relatively healthy, we can't say the same thing about every veal dish out there. Anyone watching their weight should definitely avoid breaded and fried veal "schnitzel" or "veal parmigiana" slathered in cheese and oily sauces.

Instead, try our versions of Veal Piccata, Veal Florentine, and Veal Italian style, which get their crunch from low-calorie melba toast crumbs and their flavor from healthy ingredients like spices, lemon juice, and our light and tasty marinara sauce.

The tender taste and lighter flavor of veal make it more similar to chicken than beef, culinary speaking, so feel free to try these recipes if veal isn't your speed. We won't judge you either way!

Veal Italian Style

veal italian style

Enjoy this light spin on an Italian classic. Estimated nutritional value (with 1/2 marinara sauce recipe) of 266 calories and 5g fat.

Prep Time
15 minutes
Cook time
20 minutes
Yield
Makes 1 serving (1 protein, 1 fruit or vegetable, 1 Melba toast)

Ingredients

  • 100 grams veal cutlet
  • 1 serving Melba toast crumbs
  • 1 recipe marinara sauce
  • 1 tablespoon finely minced onion
  • 1 clove of garlic crushed and minced
  • ¼ teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/8 teaspoon dried oregano
  • Pinch of marjoram
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions
Mix Melba toast crumbs with dry spices. Dip cutlet in water or lemon juice and coat with crushed Melba spice mixture. Fry on high heat without oil. Top with marinara sauce and bake in 350 degree oven for 20 minutes. Add a little water to the bottom of the pan if necessary. Garnish with fresh basil, parsley, leftover Melba spice mixture and salt and pepper to taste.

Phase 3 Modifications
Top with provolone or mozzarella cheese and baste with olive oil. Enjoy with freshly grated parmesan or sautéed mushrooms.

Recipe provided by

Veal Picatta

veal picatta

Enjoy a light and tasty dinner of veal picatta! Estimated nutritional value of 294 calories, 5g fat, 106mg cholesterol, 27.4g carbohydrate, 2.8g fiber, 34.2g protein, and .7g sugar.

Prep Time
15 minutes
Cook time
15 minutes
Yield
Makes 1 serving (1 protein, 1 Melba toast)

Ingredients

  • 100 grams veal cutlet
  • 1 serving Melba toast crumbs
  • ¼ cup vegetable broth or water
  • 2 tablespoons caper juice
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 clove of garlic crushed and minced
  • Pinch of paprika
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Salt and black pepper to taste

Directions
Mix Melba toast crumbs with paprika, salt and pepper. Dip veal cutlet in lemon juice and coat with herbed Melba toast crumbs. Fry veal cutlet in a little lemon juice on high heat until cooked thoroughly. Set aside cooked veal cutlet. Deglaze the pan with vegetable broth, lemon and caper juice and add chopped garlic and bay leaf. Cook for 1-2 minutes. Remove bay leaf. Top the veal cutlet with remaining lemon sauce and garnish with lemon slices.

Phase 3 Modifications
Deglaze the pan with ¼ cup white wine and whisk in 2 tablespoons of cold butter. Pour over veal and enjoy.

Recipe provided by

Veal Florentine

veal florentine

This nutritious dish is veally worth trying! Estimated nutritional value of 370 calories, 6.4g fat, 106mg cholesterol, 38.6g carbohydrate, 12.1g fiber, 44.8g protein, and 3.4g sugar.

Prep Time
20 minutes
Cook time
20 minutes
Yield
Makes 1 serving (1 protein, 1 vegetable, 1 Melba toast)

Ingredients

  • 100 grams veal cutlet
  • 1 serving Melba toast crumbs
  • 2 cups spinach finely chopped
  • ¼ cup vegetable, beef broth or water
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon minced onion
  • 2 leaves of basil rolled and sliced
  • 1 clove garlic crushed and minced
  • Dash of garlic powder
  • Pinch of lemon zest
  • Pinch of paprika
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions
Manually tenderize veal cutlet until flattened. Mix Melba toast crumbs with paprika, lemon zest and dry spices. Then, dip cutlet in lemon juice and spiced Melba mixture. Fry on high heat with lemon juice until slightly browned and cooked. Remove veal cutlet from pan and deglaze the pan with the broth. Add garlic, onion, and basil. Add spinach to the liquid and toss lightly until slightly cooked. Top veal cutlet with spinach mixture and spoon remaining sauce over the top. Top with salt and pepper to taste and serve with lemon wedges.

Phase 3 Modifications
Fry with a little olive oil. Add ricotta and parmesan cheese to the spinach mixture. Top with toasted pine nuts and parmesan cheese curls.

Recipe provided by

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