By Carlie Saint-Laurent Beaucejour, RD,LDN
Lenten season begins on Ash Wednesday, the day after Mardi Gras, and lasts for 6 weeks. It’s a time a portion of the American population takes to engage in a routine that is not regularly done, like meditating, fasting, or donating household and clothing items. Sometimes the Lent engagement may mean surrendering to a guilty pleasure like social media, TV, clothes shopping, and most notably a certain food and beverages.
According to Christian daily, a whopping 86% of the18-24 year old age group, eliminate their favorite food or beverage, followed by 50% of 25-34 year old age group, 58% of 35-44 year old age group, 55% for 55-64 year old age group, and 43% of adults over the age of 65. The Lenten season also may entail meatless Fridays which can easily make ordering cheese pizza the fastest and easiest dinner selection for families. Planning your meatless meals ahead of time can ensure a more nutritious, balanced, and healthy dish.
Whether you celebrate Lent or not, meatless options can be a really healthy choice! Here are not 1 but 2 meatless recipes we found to bring variety to your weekly menu planning, leading up to Easter Sunday or any day!
Spinach and Artichoke Pizza
§ 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
§ 1 pound pizza dough (store-bought or homemade)
§ 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
§ 4 cloves garlic, chopped
§ 1 (6-ounce) bag baby spinach
§ 1 (12- to 14-ounce) jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained thoroughly (and sliced if needed; see Recipe Note)
§ 1 1/2 cups (6 ounces) shredded mozzarella cheese
§ Crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
1 Preheat the oven to 450ºF. Position an oven rack in the lower half of the oven. Grease a 13×18-inch baking sheet with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil.
2 Roll out the dough: If your pizza dough has been in the refrigerator, remove it and set it on the counter at room temperature for 20 minutes.
Generously flour a pastry board, and then turn the dough out onto the board. Use a rolling pin to roll the dough into a large rectangle.
3 Transfer the dough to the pan: Transfer the dough to the oiled sheet pan, stretching it out to the corners of the pan. If it springs back, wait a few minutes and then try again.
Drizzle 1 tablespoon of the olive oil onto the dough. Use a pastry brush or your fingers to gently spread the oil all over the dough, taking care not to create any tears. Sprinkle the Italian seasoning evenly over the dough.
4 Wilt the spinach: Heat the remaining tablespoon of oil and the garlic in a large skillet over medium heat. When the garlic begins to bubble, add the spinach. Sauté until the spinach has wilted, about 2 minutes, then turn off the heat.
5 Top the pizza: If the dough has shrunk away from the corners, give it a final stretch to reach the sides of pan. Sprinkle on half of the mozzarella over the pizza, followed by the sautéed spinach and then the artichokes. Sprinkle with the rest of the mozzarella.
6 Bake the pizza: Bake the pizza until the cheese is bubbly and golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes.
7 Slice and serve: Use two spatulas to lift the pizza from the pan and transfer it to a large cutting board to slice into squares, or use a pizza wheel to slice it right in the pan. Serve the pizza piping hot, sprinkled with crushed red pepper flakes (optional).From Simply Recipes ~ https://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/spinach_artichoke_sheet_pan_pizza/
QUINOA GADO-GADO BOWL (30 MINUTES!)
Author: Minimalist Baker
PREP TIME7 minutes COOK TIME23 minutes TOTAL TIME30 minutes
Cuisine: Gluten-Free, Indonesian-Inspired, Vegan
· 1/2 cup white or red quinoa (well rinsed and drained)
· 1 cup water
· 1 cup greens beans (trimmed)
· 1/2 medium red bell pepper (thinly sliced)
· 3/4 cup mung bean sprouts
· 2/3 cup thinly shredded red cabbage
· 2 whole carrots (thinly sliced with a knife or mandolin)
SPICY PEANUT SAUCE
· 1/3 cup salted creamy peanut butter (or sub almond butter, cashew butter, or sunbutter)
· 1 Tbsp gluten-free tamari (or soy sauce if not GF)
· 2-3 Tbsp maple syrup (to taste)
· 3 Tbsp lime juice
· 1 tsp chili garlic sauce (more to taste // 1 Thai red chili, minced // or 1/4 tsp red pepper flake // amounts as original recipe is written)
· 3-4 Tbsp water (to thin)
FOR SERVING optional
· Lime wedges
· Red pepper flake
1. Heat a small saucepan over medium heat and add rinsed, drained quinoa. “Toast” for 3-4 minutes, stirring frequently, to remove excess liquid and add a nutty flavor to the quinoa. Then add water, stir, and bring to a low boil. Then reduce heat to a simmer, cover, and cook for about 18-20 minutes or until all liquid is absorbed and quinoa is tender. Fluff with a fork, remove lid, and set off heat.
2. While quinoa is cooking, steam green beans until just tender. You can do this either in the microwave (covered, in 1-minute increments) or by placing green beans in a steamer basket inside a large saucepan filled with 1 inch of water. Bring the water to a simmer on medium-high heat, cover, and cook until just tender – about 4 minutes.
3. Once steamed, add green beans to a bowl of ice water to “shock” them (stop them from cooking). Set aside.
4. Make peanut sauce by adding peanut butter, tamari, maple syrup, lime juice, and chili garlic sauce/Thai chili/red pepper flake to a small mixing bowl and whisking to combine. Then add water 1 Tbsp (15 ml) at a time until a semi-thick but pourable sauce is formed.
5. Taste and adjust flavor as needed, adding more tamari for saltiness, lime juice for acidity, maple syrup for sweetness, or chili garlic sauce/Thai chili/red pepper flake for heat! You want this to be a balance of tangy, sweet, salty, and spicy, so don’t be shy with the seasonings!
6. To serve, divide quinoa between 2 serving bowls (as original recipe is written // adjust if altering batch size) and top with green beans, red bell pepper, mung bean sprouts, and carrots. Serve with peanut sauce and any additional toppings (optional), such as cilantro, lime wedges, and red pepper flake.
7. Store leftovers separately in the refrigerator up to 4-5 days (peanut sauce keeps for 1+ week). Best when fresh.
*To reduce calories/fat, simply cut back the amount of sauce made (i.e. 3 Tbsp (48 g) peanut butter instead of 1/3 cup).
What is your favorite meatless dish?