Wining & Dining
Not Your Grandmother’s Lenten Lunch
3/1/2019 12:00:00 AM

Protein Options for Meatless Meals 
Though some might be happy eating a protein-free meal, it’s not healthy to do so regularly. While you may enjoy seafood, some people dislike it or are allergic to it, and therefore, need other options. Let’s look at some alternative proteins you can introduce into your diet during Lent.

Beans, Lentils, & Chickpeas — Many cuisines make use of beans, lentils, chickpeas, and other legumes as a protein source. The wide variety of beans, as well as their budget-friendly nature, make them a fantastic alternative to meat. Buy them canned for a quick, meat-free protein option.

Cheese & Dairy — Don’t forget about cheese as a meatless option! Use it in pasta sauces, on pizza, for sandwiches, and more.

Nuts — As a snack or an add-in for meals, nuts can give texture and nutrients to a meatless meal.

Eggs — Breakfast food isn’t the only way to enjoy eggs. They’re packed with protein and nutrients, while also adding flavor and creaminess to dishes!

Meal Ideas

With those options in mind, here are a few meals that you can add into your rotation this Lent.
Lentil Taco "Meat” — Cook lentils (green and brown ones work well,) according to package instructions. Season with your favorite taco seasoning to taste. Use as a filling for tortillas or eat as nachos or on tostada shells. These pair well with lime wedges, avocado, and pickled red onions.

Chickpeas — Chickpea curry and roasted chickpea tacos are just a few examples of how you can transform a simple can of chickpeas into a delicious and filling meal. You can also check out recipes for Mediterranean cuisine, such as falafel and hummus. For best results, take the time to remove the skin from the individual chickpeas. It’s labor-intensive, but they’ll crisp up better when roasted and be creamier when cooked in a sauce.

Beans & Rice — Here in Southwest Louisiana, we’re all familiar with a pot of beans and rice. Choose your favorite dried beans, whether red, navy, lima, black, or white, and soak overnight in plenty of water. Cook the next day in a slow cooker or on the stovetop. When forgoing ham or sausage in your beans, be sure to season them well with onions, garlic, peppers, and plenty of good spices! Eat with rice or cornbread (or both!) for a frugal, delicious meal.

Egg Bowls — Top a bowl of roasted veggies, rice, quinoa, or toast with a fried or poached egg. Gently scramble eggs with Parmesan cheese and mix with still-hot pasta for creamy carbonara. Or, just make a delicious cheese and veggie omelet!

Plant-Based Meals — Want more creative ideas? Find cookbooks or blogs focused on plant-based meals. There is a lot of fantastic inspiration out there! From nut "cheese” to veggie burgers and loaded salads, you might be surprised at how flavorful and filling a meatless meal can be.

Hopefully, these ideas spark some creativity to liven up your Friday meals this Lenten season. Forgoing meat doesn’t have to mean boring carb-heavy meals. Instead, enjoy the many delicious and healthy options available through plant-based eating, while remaining faithful to your fast.
Posted by: Keaghan P. Wier | Submit comment | Tell a friend

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