So we’re into our first full week of Lent with two meatless days under our belts already, and right about now you might be thinking, “We’ve done pizza. We’ve done fish fry. Now what?” I’ve got a combination of vegetarian and vegan recipes to see you through. I’ll start with a bunch today and add more in the coming weeks.
Before you click by this post because the word “lentils” scares you, especially in relation to pasta, I beg you to stop and just consider it for a moment because it is out-of-this world delicious. This particular recipe is actually a combination of two: a lentil sauce recipe from Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything Vegetarian and my own addition of roasted butternut squash and garlic that gets added in right before serving. (That change-up happened because I had a squash that needed to be used and, voila, a new recipe was born.) The result is a dinner that is not only vegan (no meat, dairy, eggs, etc.) but incredibly yummy, with a complex texture and taste even though it’s easy to make.
Recipe #4: Israeli Couscous with Apples and Dried Cranberries
Click HERE for a great side dish to go with your Lenten fish or tofu. The recipe I have posted suggests chicken broth, but that’s easy. Just swap it for vegetable broth.
Reciped #5: Creamy Polenta with Garlic and Cheese
This can be a main dish or a side dish. It can be vegan or not, with some minor adjustments.
1/2 cup milk, preferably whole, although I used skim with a splash of half and half (Use plain almond milk to make this vegan.)
2 cups water
1 cup coarse cornmeal
I tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 spring fresh rosemary chopped, or a teaspoon of dried rosemary
1 teaspoon of chopped garlic
1 tablespoon of butter (Earth Balance for vegan version)
Grated Parmesan cheese, optional
Combine milk and water with large pinch of salt in a saucepan over medium heat. When it’s close to a boil, add the polenta in a steady stream, whisking the whole time to keep away the nasty lumps. Add the rosemary.
Turn the heat down to a simmer and keep whisking until the polenta gets thick — about 10 or 15 minutes. If it starts to look too thick too soon, add a little water. (I did this. I was fine.)
Add the butter, cheese (if using), garlic and stir. Grind some pepper into it to taste. Serve immediately as a side dish or main course. I doubled this recipe for my hungry family and used it as a side dish with baked salmon and sauteed broccoli rabe.
Variation: You can make grilled or fried polenta by decreasing the amount of water and making a thicker mixture. Don’t add the butter, cheese. I’d probably skip the garlic and rosemary as well for this version. When it’s done, spread the polenta on a board and let it cool for a while. Then cut it into slices — about 1/2 inch thick. Now you can brush the slices with olive oil, salt and pepper and throw them on the grill or into a frying pan.
Stay tuned for more veggie recipes for Lent…