[Totally irrelevant side note: Found Maria Carey’s entire 1995 “Daydream” album on Youtube this morning. Good Lord, do I love the Interwebs sometimes. I’ll be jamming to “Fantasy” and “One Sweet Day” for the next month or so, just so y’all know. 🙂 ]
For my friends of the Christian and Catholic varieties (or simply for those wondering why a few folks are walking around with dark spots on their foreheads?), today’s observance of Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent. While yesterday’s Mardi Gras was an opportunity to binge and go more than a little calorie-crazy (hello, paczkis that I ate en mass. NOM NOM NOM), Lent ushers in a time of penance, prayer and sacrifice. Even if you’re not particularly religious, a re-start on New Years Resolutions probably won’t hurt!
Among traditional sacrifices — no dairy (gasp!), eggs (whoa!), or sugar (oh man!) — Fridays, at least in the Catholic tradition, include fasting and not eating meat. Which is why, for the next 6 weeks, I’ll be including a new Meat-Free Friday recipe! Whether you’re religious, very much not, totally veg-loving or a carnivore all the way, we could all stand to try something new — and more often than not, trying something vegetarian is usually good for you, too.
So stay tuned for veg-friendly ideas for Friday night dinners, Friday lunches, and more. Here’s a starter: Broccoli Tomato Pasta for One. It makes a great quick lunch (use pre-cooked pasta to save yourself time if you’re eating at work), or a simple and tasty dinner. A Veggie win-win, and one that’s easily made vegan if you omit cheese or use vegan cheese.
Broccoli Tomato Pasta for One — easily doubled or quadrupled
- 1 cup cooked pasta, or 1/2 cup dried pasta
- 1 cup broccoli florets, fresh or frozen
- 1 roma tomato, diced
- 1-2 tbsp Parmesan cheese or other cheese
- A squeeze or two of lemon juice
- 1-2 tsp olive oil
- salt & pepper to taste
Here’s what you do:
- If pasta is uncooked, prepare according to package directions. If using raw broccoli, steam in microwave for 2 minutes on HIGH. If using frozen, heat according to package directions.
- In serving bowl, mix pasta, broccoli, tomatoes, cheese, lemon juice & olive oil. Add salt & pepper to taste.
- For an extra protein kick, add 1/2 cup chick peas (a.k.a. garbanzo beans).
Simple, clean flavors. Can’t beat ’em. Here’s to new ventures, new cuisines, and new health during this Lenten season. And if you’re not observant or Lent’s not your bag, here’s to experimenting with vegetarian food. Happy eating!
Are you folks Lent-observers? If so, what are you giving up this year? (If you’d like to share — feel free to keep your Lenten business private!) If you’re not observing Lent, what food-related resolutions did you make this year? How have they gone in the first month and a half of 2013? Cheers to starting fresh!