Ash Wednesday begins the Lenten season for Catholics. For some, it is a time of prayer and fasting that leads up to the celebration of Easter. During Lent, many Catholics abstain from meat on Fridays in addition to Ash Wednesday and Good Friday because of the Canon Law.
To make life a little easier for you during Lent, here are a few meatless recipes to try on those eight days of fasting:
Asparagus Lasagna: Giada De Laurentiis' recipe calls for pancetta (Italian bacon), but it can be left out to make this delicious vegetarian meal. Serves 6 to 8 people.
- 9 lasagna sheets (dried)
- 1 teaspoon olive oil, plus 1 tablespoon, divided
- 2 (8.5-ounce) jars sun-dried tomatoes, drained
- 1 1/2 packed cups fresh basil leaves
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan, plus 3/4 cup
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 4 bunches asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 (15-ounce) container ricotta cheese
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
- 2 tablespoons butter
1. After bringing a pot of salted water to boil, add 1 teaspoon of olive oil then cook the pasta for 8 to 10 minutes or until tender. Drain pasta.
2. Finely chop (or combine in a good processor) the sun-dried tomatos and basil to create a sun-dried tomatoe pesto. Transfer into a small bowl and stir in 1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese. Set aside.
3. In a large skillet add 1 tablespoon of olive oil, the onion and garlic and cook until tender (about 4 minutes). Add the asparagus and cook until tender (about 4 minutes). Transfer the mixture in to a large bowl and add the ricotta cheese, salt and pepper and stir.
4. Preheat the over to 350 degrees. Spring some of the sun-dried tomato pesto mixture on the bottom of a 9 by 13-inch baking dish. Then place three of the lasagna sheets. Top the noodles with half of the asparagus mixture. Sprinkle some mozzarella cheese and some of the remaining Parmesan. Repeat this for 1 more layer. Top with lasagna sheets and spread the remaining sun-dried tomato pesto mixture and cheese on the very top. Dot the top with butter. Bake until the lasagna is heated through or until the cheese is melted (about 25 minutes).
Vegetable Mac & Cheese: Disney's Family Fun Magazine offers a spin on a classic recipes that is sure to be a favorite. Serves up to 4 people.
- 1 1/2 cups dried elbow macaroni pasta
- 3 medium carrots, peeled and cut diagonally into 1/4-inch slices
- 10 ounces of frozen or fresh broccoli, stems sliced, florets separated
- 1/2 cup frozen peas, thawed
- 1 cup cottage cheese
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1/4 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
- 4 to 8 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
- 4 ounces mozzarella cheese, shredded
- 1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
1. Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Grease a 2-quart baking dish with cooking spray.
2. Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling, salted water for about 4 minutes. Stir in the carrots and cook for 2 minutes. Add the broccoli and cook for 2 minutes. Drain, but save 1/2 cup of the water and return the pasta and vegetables back to the pot. Add the peas.
3. Combine the cottage cheese with the reserved water from the cooked pasta then add the mustard, Tabasco sauce and blend until smooth in a food processor. Stir into the pasta and vegetables. Mix in the cheddar and mozzarella cheeses then pour into the baking dish. Sprinkle the top with Parmesan.
4. Bake uncovered for 20 to 25 minutes (or until the top is golden brown). Let the macaroni and cheese set for 10 minutes.
All-Star Veggie Burger: This veggie burger from AllRecipes.com is a great alternative to a traditional beef burger. Serves 8 people.
- 1 (15.5 ounce) can garbanzo beans, drained and mashed
- 8 fresh basil leaves, chopped
- 1/4 cup oat bran
- 1/4 cup quick cooking oats
- 1 cup cooked brown rice
- 1 (14 ounce) package firm tofu
- 5 tablespoons Korean barbeque sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 3/4 teaspoon dried sage
- 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1. In a large bowl, stir together the mashed garbanzo beans and basil. Mix in the oat bran, quick oats and rice. The mixture will be a little dry.
2. In another bowl, mash the tofu with your hands. Try to squeeze out as much water as possible. Drain the water and repeat the process until there is any water worth pouring off. Pour the barbeque sauce over the tofu, and stir to coat.
3. Stir the tofu into the bean and oat mixture. Season with the salt, pepper, garlic powder and sage, then mix until blended.
4. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Form patties out of the bean mixture, and fry them in the hot oil for about 5 minutes per side. Add your favorite burger toppings and enjoy.
Hummus Club Sandwiches: But what about lunch? Try Cooking Light's easy recipe for a healthy sandwich. Serves 4.
- 3 tablespoons plain fat-free yogurt
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon tahini (sesame-seed paste)
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled
- 1 (15 1/2-ounce) can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained
- 12 (1-ounce) slices whole-wheat bread
- 2 cups shredded Bibb lettuce
- 8 (1/4-inch-thick) slices tomato
- 4 (1/4-inch-thick) slices red onion
- 1 cup (1/8-inch-thick) slices cucumber
- 4 cups alfalfa sprouts (4 ounces)
1. Combine the first 8 ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth.
2. Spread the 2 tablespoons over your hummus mixture over 1 bread slice. Top with 1/2 cup of lettuce, 2 tomato slices, 1 onion slice, 1 bread slice, 1/4 cup cucumber, 1 cup of spouts and top with 1 bread slice.
3. Repeat the procedure with the remaining ingredients to make 3 more sandwiches.