[Kitchen 143] 3 meatless dishes to close out Lent

This is a wonderful opportunity to try new recipes without red meat that the whole family will like

Meatless Monday has always been a thing in our home. Being more aware of our decisions to lessen our meat intake means that we are making a conscious effort to use sustainable options for protein which, of course, has multiple effects on the environment.

Because we are observing the solemnity and prayerful time of Holy Week, this is also a wonderful opportunity to try new recipes without red meat that the whole family will like. Here are three dishes you can prepare for Holy Week that are easy and simple to throw together.

Spinach and Artichoke Breakfast Tarts
TARTS. Vegetarian Puff Pastry from Gavino’s is new to our kitchen, but works really well. This pastry can be eaten any time of day but would be lovely with scrambled eggs and a salad for leisurely set brunch. Photo by Michelle Aventajado

Making full use of all of the options from our favorite bake shop makes this dish simple to prepare. Puff pastry seems intimidating for many, but once you work with this frozen dough, a whole new world of possibilities opens up. Trying this vegetarian dough out for the first time was fun, and of course gave me the opportunity to explore the use of canned Robo Artichokes. These artichokes paired lovely with local Ricotta Cheese from Casa del Formaggio and levels up this dish to make it feel extra special.

By swapping out the ricotta, sautéed spinach with garlic and olive oil, and the Parmesan cheese with other ingredients, you can choose to go savory or sweet in a jiffy. Another variation of a savory tart in my recipes for the week included roasted beets from the Box All You Can event by Rural Rising in Alabang Town Center.

BEETS. Beets are a wonderful addition to put on rotation in your roasted vegetables. They are rich in nutrients but low in caloric content. They also fight inflammation and improve digestive health while offering a great source of folate and manganese, and they also reduce the risk of heart disease. Photo by Michelle Aventajado

Plus, something about beets and goat cheese just makes me want them to get married. They are perfect together. Add in caramelize onions and it’s a trifecta of flavors that is creamy, earthy, sweet perfection.

Tip: Defrost your puff pastry the night before in the refrigerator. Roll out your dough out quickly on a cool surface, cut to your desired shape, and fill with your favorite flavors. Bake at 400° F for 10-12 min.

Insalata de Riso
SALAD. Using Basmati rice for this dish makes it feel special. Cut a step from preparation by cooking the peas in the rice cooker too. Photo by Michelle Aventajado

Rice salad is a common summer staple for many Italian households. I found this recipe when I was looking for different ways to serve my homemade giardiniera. I was inspired to pickle the veggies Nino and I picked up through the work of Rural Rising. This foundation brings freshly picked vegetables (still warm from being in the earth) straight to consumers in Metro Manila at a fraction of the costs we would typically find in the grocery stores. They are certainly taking care of our farmers and our bellies with this amazing initiative.

My challenge was to find a recipe that could make use even of the cauliflower leaves! Hopefully, next time there is an opportunity, I will be better prepared. This dish is easy to throw together and can even use the leftovers you have in the refrigerator. If made during the season of Lent, you can easily swap out the usually included ham or chicken for canned tuna.

Tip: It’s not necessary to pickle your own veggies! Readily made Giardiniera is found in grocery stores in the jarred pickles aisle. Slice your veggies, choose your protein, add fresh mint and parsley and a little olive oil, and this dish is great to keep in the refrigerator for hot summer days.

Insalata di Riso

4c cooked Basmati rice
½ c frozen peas
½ c canned corn drained
1 jar Giardiniera (or about 2 c of the mix, if you made your own)
1 can of tuna drained
1 clove of garlic minced
3 Tbsp white wine vinegar
3 Tbsp EVOO
2 Tbsp of fresh parsley chopped
2 Tbsp of fresh mint chopped
Garnish with 3 sliced ​​hard boiled eggs
Salt and pepper


Cook frozen peas with the Basmati rice to save on time.
Let cool.
Add corn and chopped Giardiniera to the cool rice and peas mixture.
Add tuna, garlic, white wine vinegar, and EVOO.
Toss with the mint and parsley.
Garnish with hard boiled eggs and serve cold.

Tip: Use the pickling vinegar from the Giardiniera if you don’t have white wine vinegar. Swap out tuna for ham or chicken.

Crab Stuffed Mushrooms
CRAB. Having locally and sustainably source crab meat on hand by Pier 717 can inspire many meat-free dishes. Photo by Michelle Aventajado

Pier 717 has a variety of options that make it easy to incorporate sustainably source seafood into meatless dishes for Lent. While this dish has extra special feels because I usually make it on Christmas Eve, it is a dish that is always wiped out and is quite easy to make.

Tip: The filling for this dish is simple and can be used to stuff other vegetables too: crab, some bread crumbs, garlic, parsley, and grated parmesan. Roast in the oven at 400° F for 6-8 minutes or until the mushrooms are cooked.

As we all settle into the quiet time that Holy Week provides for us to reflect, pray, and spend time with those we love, I find joy in slowing down and preparing dishes that are nutritious, meaningful, and easy to prepare. These easy-to-make dishes can certainly provide opportunities to gather around the table in simple ways while preserving the solemnity of the season. – Rappler.com

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