With Ash Wednesday fast approaching, this year it is on February, 10th, I decided I better start gathering some meatless recipes. There is just so much tuna noodle casserole and eggplant parmesan a girl can eat. ;)
If you are unfamiliar with Ash Wednesday and Lent, let me give you a little background. As a Roman Catholic, you must abstain from eating meat and all foods made with meat on Ash Wednesday and all the Fridays of Lent which lead up to Easter Sunday.
Since I am Italian, my go to is pasta. I love anything served over pasta...peas, beans, etc. I also have a thing for lentils especially as an alternative to meat. I have always used my mom's recipe, but being a mom of busy teens, I went in search for a slow cooker recipe. I found one that I doctored up to my liking and thought I would share it with you. Trust me you will love this meatless meal even if you are not a bean lover. :)
1 (1 lb) bag of dried brown lentils, rinsed (I only use Goya)
2 medium carrots, chopped
1 celery rib, chopped
1 large yellow onion, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, minced
2 (32oz) cartons of chicken broth
1 (6 oz) can of tomato paste
1/2 cup dry sherry
1-1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried thyme
salt & pepper to taste
-Spray slow cooker with cooking spray or insert a liner
-Mix all ingredients in slow cooker
-Cover and cook on low for 10 hours
-Serve over ditalini pasta and sprinkle with parmesan cheese.
I also found this Lentil Soup with Rice & Spinach Recipe on italianfood.about.com that I thought sounded fabulous if you have a bit more time to for meal prep.
1 cup short-grained rice
1 cup lentils, soaked for 4 hours
1 bunch spinach, washed and cut into strips
2 cloves garlic
1 rib celery
1 cup plain tomato sauce
4 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper
Rinse the lentils and cook them for 45 minutes in 2 quarts of water with the onion, celery, and salt and pepper to taste.
Remove the lentils with a slotted spoon, and strain the broth, discarding the celery.
Slice the onion and sauté it in a pot with the oil and the garlic for 3 minutes, then add the tomato sauce and cook 2 minutes more. Add the lentils and the spinach, and then the lentil broth.
When the soup comes to a boil add the rice and cook, stirring occasionally, until it is done, about 15 minutes.
Yield: 4 servings
I plan on sharing my family's favorite Lenten meatless meals with you every week. :)