Today is the first Friday of Lent, so I’m kicking off my annual Lenten project – sharing meatless meals every Friday. What began as simply a way to keep from eating plain spaghetti and pizza every Friday has grown into one of my favorite yearly blog projects.
But, nine years on, how do I keep this series fresh? I’ve spent a bunch of time thinking about our family’s current needs and how to get them to reflect in my meatless Friday posts.
Chinese takeout fake-outs have become some of my favorite Lenten dinners. Our local Chinese restaurant has limited meatless options so it isn’t really a great option for us during Lent. Cravings a few year back led me to Kung Pao Chickpeas and then General Tso’s Cauliflower.
All of these sort of hide the bulk of the meal with the sauce, so even if you’re not usually a cauliflower fan, you might like this. Battered, fried, and covered in the fresh orange sauce, you can barely tell you’re loading up on vegetables here. My kids happily gobbled it down!
1 small head of cauliflower, cut into small florets
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/3 cup water
1/3 cup cornstarch
1/4 cup flour
1 tsp. olive oil
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 Tbsp. olive oil
3-4 garlic cloves, minced
6 green onions, thinly sliced
1 tsp. olive oil
Zest of 1 orange + juice of orange
2 Tbsp. soy sauce
2 Tbsp. rice wine vinegar
1/4 cup orange juice
1 tsp. corn starch
1 tsp. brown sugar
Rice, for serving
Mix together egg, water, cornstarch, flour, and olive oil to create a batter. It should be thick enough to coat, but not clumpy – think waffle batter consistency!
In a large skillet or wok, heat the vegetable oil on medium high. When the oil is heated, dip each piece of cauliflower into the batter and then add it to the hot oil. Fry until browned, then transfer to a paper-towel lined plate.
In another skillet or wok, heat olive over medium-high heat and then add garlic and green onions and cook for a minute. Stir in orange zest and juice and cook for another minute. Add soy sauce and vinegar and bring to a boil.
Seriously, I’m getting ready to build an ark. I’m not sure the backyard is ever going to dry out at this rate. And let’s not even talk about that our sump pump died a few weeks back…
Suffice it to say, I’m really, REALLY dreaming of warm, sunny days. How nice would it be to be on a beach somewhere tropical? So, for this Lenten Friday, I’m cooking up some island-inspired sliders that are – of course! – meatless.
I made these as sliders because they’re the perfect size for the kids, but you could make these as four large burgers too.
1/2onion, chopped 3garlic cloves
1 14.5oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained 1/2cuprolled oats
1/2cupfrozen corn, thawed
1 green onion, chopped 2tsp.cumin 1/2tsp.curry powder 1/4tsp.cayenne pepper 1/4cup plan breadcrumbs Salt and pepper 3Tbsp.vegetable oil
12 pineapple slices
12 onion rings
Sweet bbq sauce
6 Swiss cheese slices, halved
12 slider rolls
In a food processor, pulse the onion and garlic until finely chopped. Add the beans, oats, corn, green onion, cumin, curry powder, and cayenne and pulse until well mixed – about 20 seconds. Scrape down the sides, add salt and pepper to taste, and process for another 10 seconds. Transfer to a bowl and chill for several hours.
When ready to cook, stir in breadcrumbs and form into a dozen equal-sized patties.
Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. Cook for 10-15 minutes, turning halfway, until their is an outer crust and the patties are heated through. Top with cheese during the last 2 minutes of cooking.
Add the cooked patties to the slider rolls. Top each with a pineapple ring, onion ring, and a drizzle of barbecue sauce. Serve immediately.
Since the meatless Friday series is over, how about a meatless Monday post?
I had full intentions of making these as one of our Lenten Friday meals. I must have had the ingredients hanging around for a full two weeks and something else kept coming up. I finally got around to making these last week and they’re sort of amazing.
Meatless burgers are a little hit-or-miss for me. I make a lot more than a share here. For me, it has to feel like a burger to be worth sharing – and boy, this one totally fits the bill. I think it may be the most “meaty” meatless burger I’ve made. And it’s smothered in buffalo sauce so it has that going for it, too.
It’s meals like this that make me think I could actually be a vegetarian.
1/4 cup uncooked quinoa
1 can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup old fashioned oats
1/4 cup minced shallot
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup buffalo sauce, plus additional for serving
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/4 cup breadcrumbs
4 hamburger buns
Blue cheese, for serving
In a medium saucepan, bring 1/2 cup water to a boil. Add quinoa, reduce heat and let simmer for 15 minutes or until all water is absorbed. Fluff with a fork and set aside.
In a food processor, pulse the chickpeas until they resemble crumbs. Transfer to a large bowl. Add oats to the food processor and pulse a few times until they are a finer crumb. Add to the large bowl with the chickpeas. To the bowl, add in the quinoa, shallot, garlic, buffalo sauce, egg, salt, pepper and breadcrumbs. Mix by hand until everything is well incorporated and divide into four equal sections. For each section into a patty.
Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Drizzle with oil and cook patties for 8-10 minutes, turning halfway through. Serve patties on buns, topped with blue cheese an additional buffalo sauce.