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Mon, Oct. 21

Make Meatless Mondays delicious with savory recipes

Meatless Mondays have become trendy in food circles both for economic and health reasons. Even just one weekly meal with more emphasis on vegetables and whole grains gives health benefits to combat obesity, diabetes, heart disease and other health issues. Here are a few recipes to get you started.

DOUBLE-BEAN BURRITOS

1 (3 1/2 oz.) bag boil-in-bag brown rice

1 cup chunky bottled salsa

1 (15 oz.) can black beans, or your choice, rinsed and drained

6 10-inch flour tortillas

6 tbsp. bean dip (such as Frito Lay)

1/4 cup (3 oz.) shredded Monterey Jack cheese with jalapeno peppers

1 peeled avocado, cut into 6 slices

12 cilantro sprigs

6 lime wedges

Cook rice according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. While rice cooks, combine salsa and black beans in small saucepan; cook over medium heat 5 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Stack tortillas; wrap stack in damp paper towels. Microwave at high 25 seconds or until warm. Spread 1 tbsp. bean dip over each tortilla; top each tortilla with 1/4 cup rice, 1/3 cup bean mixture, 2 tbsp. cheese, 1 avocado slice and 2 cilantro sprigs; roll up. Serve with lime wedges if desired. Adding a green salad gives another serving of those important veggies!

SPAGHETTI SQUASH WITH MARINARA

If spaghetti squash is a new variety to you, it has a very mild flavor and is easily prepared.

2 whole spaghetti squash

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Salt and freshly ground pepper

1 28 oz. jar marinara sauce or your own homemade

Preheat oven to 450. Carefully cut the squash in half lengthwise and scrape out seeds. Line a baking sheet with parchment or foil. Sprinkle the cut sides of spaghetti squash with olive oil, salt and pepper. Place flesh-side down and bake 30-40 minutes or until tender. Remove from oven and let rest until cool enough to handle. Heat marinara sauce in large sauté pan. When squash can be easily handled, use a large spoon to scrape the strands of squash from the inside of the skin, which will resemble spaghetti strands, into the sauté pan of sauce. Stir over low heat for just long enough to heat through. Serves 6. A green salad with this also makes a nice meal with some toasted French bread slices.

SPAGHETTI WITH VEGETABLES AND PINE NUTS

Vegetable cooking spray

2 tsp. olive oil

1 cup each fresh broccoli flowerets, cauliflower flowerets, julienne zucchini and carrots

1 tbsp. plus 1 tsp. minced garlic

1 c. snow pea pods, trimmed

1/4 cup canned no-salt-added chicken broth, undiluted

1 cup halved cherry tomatoes

8 oz. uncooked spaghetti

2 tbsp. toasted pine nuts

2 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley

Coat a large nonstick skillet with cooking spray; add oil. Place over medium-high heat until hot. Add broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini, carrot and garlic; sauté 4 minutes. Stir in snow peas and chicken broth. Cover, reduce heat and cook 6 minutes. Stir in tomato halves and cook 3 more minutes. Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat; drain.

Add pasta to vegetable mixture; toss well. Sprinkle with pine nuts and parsley. Serve immediately. Serves 8 with 161 calories per 1 cup serving.

WARM QUINOA AND ROASTED VEGETABLE SALAD

If this is a new grain to you, you will appreciate that it is packed with protein containing all nine essential amino acids. Since it is still warm, it makes a great lunch salad and is also a filling entree. It is also gluten-free.

1 cup quinoa, well washed and drained

1 1/4 cup water

1/4 tsp. sea salt, plus more to taste

4 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided

1 medium yellow onion, cut into half-moons

2 stalks celery, chopped

1 carrot, sliced into 1/4-inch-thick rounds

1/2 large golden beet, halved lengthwise and cut into

1/4-inch slices

2 1/2 cup broccoli florets

2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar

1 large clove garlic, minced or pressed Juice of 1/2 lemon

1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley

2 oz. feta cheese, crumbled, optional

Preheat oven to 425. Combine quinoa, water, salt and 1 tbsp. olive oil in 2 qt. saucepan. Bring to boil; then immediately reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer 15-20 minutes until all water is absorbed. Let stand 5 minutes, then fluff with fork. While quinoa cooks, toss onion, celery, carrot, beet and broccoli with 1 tbsp. olive oil and salt to taste. Spread in single layer in baking dish or sheet. Roast in oven about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until tender crisp.

Meanwhile, combine vinegar, garlic, lemon juice, a pinch of sea salt and few grinds of black pepper in small bowl. Whisk in remaining 2 tbsp. olive oil. Place quinoa and vegetables in large bowl; add parsley. Stir dressing and pour over mixture; toss to coat. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and freshly ground pepper. Divide among bowls and top with crumbled feta, if using. Serves 4. This is a nice recipe to keep in your files if you are serving several salads for a gathering, as this is a protein substitute and very filling. It can also be a nice side dish when serving chicken or other meat meals.

Enjoy these meatless offerings and chances are you won't even miss the meat!

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