Yes, I know it’s Wednesday. But I’m going whacky and instead of Wordless Wednesday today, I’ve headed toward meal planning instead. (It’s pretty much always on my brain in some fashion. Because if I didn’t plan these things out ahead of time, we’d starve.)
My friend Katie — who’s a vegetarian — and I chatted a bit about meatless Monday meal ideas recently, so we wanted to share her fabulous ideas. Thanks, Katie!!
Katie’s recipes and ideas for readers who want to partake in Meatless Mondays:Florentine lasagna1 package lasagna noodles (you’ll really use about half; I use 9 noodles for this)1 pound mushrooms, your choice1 T. olive oil1 small onion1 15-oz. container ricotta cheese OR one package of tofu1/4 c. Parmesan (or more, if you like. Mmm. Parm)2 10-oz. packages frozen spinach1 egg1 1/2 c. mozzarella, divided useAbout 36 oz. pasta sauce, your choice (canned, homemade, whatevs)fresh, chopped parsley for sprinklingWhile you put your pasta water on to boil, saute mushrooms and onions in oil. Create or add pasta sauce and simmer. Meanwhile, microwave packages of spinach without adding water; set aside to cool; then press the water out thoroughly. Mix ricotta or pressed, drained tofu with 1/2 c. mozzarella, the Parmesan, the egg, and the spinach. If using tofu, add 1/2 tsp. garlic powder and a healthy pinch of black pepper. One lasagna noodles are just barely al dente, drain them and rinse in cold water. In a 9 x 13 pan, spread half the sauce, put down a layer of noodles, spread creamy spinach mixture on top, the second noodle layer, and the other half of the sauce. Top with remaining cup of mozzarella and fresh parsley. Cover and bake about 25 minutes at 350*; uncover and bake about 10 minutes more.Mujadara (aka rice, lentil, and caramelized onion pilaf)2 large onions, diced2 tablespoons olive oil (canola will work)1 cup brown or basmati rice1 cup brown lentils4 cups water (approximate)1/2 teaspoon salt (you can use more or less, but some is definitely recommended)Heat oil in pan. Add onions, and cook on medium high heat until they are brown and caramelized, stirring occasionally (this will take some time). Stir in rice and lentils, mix in with onions. Add water. Add salt and stir. Cover and simmer. This will take at least an hour. The water will be absorbed into rice and lentils. You may need to add more water so that rice and lentils cook until softness.Notes: Some people make this with a quarter-teaspoon each cumin and cinnamon as seasoning; some add black pepper and cayenne onto that. Some people sub in vegetable brother for some or all of the water. Any way is good.This version is awesome served with a sprinkle of feta cheese and a healthy squeeze of fresh lemon.Mushroom bourguignon by Smitten KitchenChana Masala by Smitten KitchenThis is awesome with the Indian Spiced Cauliflower and Potatoes at the same site:Sweet Potato and Black Bean burritos/enchiladas(adapted from Moosewood Restaurant Low-Fat Favorites by someone online who’s clearly less lazy than I am)Ingredients5 c. peeled, cubed sweet potatoes1/2 tsp salt2 tsp vegetable oil3 1/2 c. diced onions4 large garlic cloves, minced or pressed1 T. minced fresh green chile4 tsp. ground cumin4 tsp. ground coriander4 1/2 c. cooked black beans (or 3 15-oz. cans, drained)2/3 c. lightly packed cilantro leaves2 T. lemon juice1 tsp. salt8 eight-inch flour or corn tortillasEnchilada sauce or tomato salsaPreheat oven to 350.Place sweet potatoes in pot with water to cover. Cover and bring to boil. Simmer until tender, about 10 minutes. Drain and set aside.With 2 T. oil in a non-stick skillet, saute onions, garlic, and the chile. Add water as necessary to keep from sticking. Cover and cook on medium-low heat, stirring occasionally until onions are tender, about 7 min. Add cumin and coriander and cook 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and set aside.In food processor, combine beans, cilantro, lemon juice, salt, and cooked sweet potatoes. Puree until smooth. (OR You can also mash the ingredients in a large bowl by hand using a potato masher. The result will be a less smooth but nicely textured filling.)Transfer to a large mixing bowl and mix in cooked onions and spices.Grease a large baking dish. Spoon about 2/3 to 3/4 C. of the filling into center of each tortilla, roll closed, and place seam side down in baking dish. Cover tightly with foil and bake at least 30 minutes, until piping hot. Top with hot enchilada sauce or tomato salsa.Other meatless meal inspiration:• Falafel sandwiches: Serve falafel (you can find a mix in the Middle Eastern foods section of the grocery store) on top of toasted pita spread with hummus and dressed with cucumbers, tomatoes, onions and parsley.• Use canned, chopped chickpeas or lentils in place of ground beef for a yummy taco filling.• Toss matzo balls into a boiling “no chicken” broth infused with sauteed carrots, celery and onion, bay leaves, pepper and thyme.• Vegetarian chili + macaroni and cheese. Homemade or not: Mmmm.• Test out Fleischmann’s Pizza Crust Yeast (http://www.pizzacrustyeast.com/) and follow the lightning-quick dough recipe on the back (seriously, it’s my new love). Create a quick pizza sauce with tomato paste, water and a little Italian seasoning; top with whatever combo of veggies and cheese makes you happy. Bake, then devour.• Serve black beans, seasoned with garlic and oregano, on a bed of hot cooked quinoa. Top with sliced avocado, salsa, yogurt, cheese, onions, cilantro, or some combination. Thank me later.• When in doubt, stir-fry the vegetable contents of your crisper with garlic, black pepper, a little teriyaki sauce and a little sesame oil at the very end.