The Catholic season of Lent arrives on Wednesday this year, and continues through April 5. The general observance is still to make a small sacrifice for the entire 40-day period, and an additional sacrifice on Fridays.
For many years, the specific rule was that meat was the extra sacrifice on Fridays until the Vatican II lifted it. The Vatican still, however, requires an extra sacrifice of your own choosing on Fridays, and many still go with the meatless tradition.
Many homes make their way through Lent Fridays with bland vegetarian or seafood dishes, but we live in a world where that is no longer necessary. There are a limitless variety of great, flavor-packed dishes that can make for great Friday dinners during Lent, or for any night of the year.
Downtown Dayton’s Olive, An Urban Diner has quickly made a big name for itself in the community for its gourmet vegetarian fare. (They also offer plenty of meaty dishes.) Here, Olive Chef Lee Anne House provides three yummy — and simple — recipes to get you off to a good start.
“I made a variety of vegetarian dishes for Lent,” House said. “All these recipes are super healthy and are packed with veggies, yet still have ample protein to keep you full. Eating vegetarian is easy and fun!”
For those who don’t have time to cook, House caters. For more information, call (937) 219-8639 or email Houseleonalee@gmail .com.
Red Lentil and Purple Kale Veggie Soup
This simple, laid-back dish can be made with ingredients almost entirely of your choosing.
Kale, chopped and cleaned
Assorted fresh vegetables
Assorted fresh herbs
“First, make the stock,” House said. “I use all the veggies I have laying around. Today, I used carrots, celery, onions, parsnips, tomatoes and beets with plenty of fresh herbs. Today’s herbs were marjoram, thyme, sage, rosemary and parsley. Throw in a few peppercorns and some garlic if you like. Fill your stock pot with water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and let it simmer for a few hours. Strain and season with salt and pepper-— done!”
“To make the soup, simply saute the onions, celery, and carrots until soft. Add more garlic if you like, pour in your stock, and bring to a boil. Add red lentils and kale. Simmer until soft. Ladle into a bowl and finish with fresh herbs — I like cilantro — a dollop of Greek yogurt, and a drizzle of sriracha.”
Lemon Garlic Tofu
Extra firm tofu
Salt and pepper
Extra virgin olive oil
Fresh lemon juice, preferably from a Meyer lemon
1. Wrap tofu in paper towels to soak up excess liquid.
2. Rub with garlic, and season with salt and pepper
3. Sear on medium-high heat in the olive oil until golden brown.
4. Finish with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.
Sweet Potato Fries
Extra virgin olive oil
Goya adobo cumin seasoning salt
“I used your typical store bought orange sweet potato,” House said, “and I also picked up some purple ones from an Asian market. Mine were purple on the outside but beige on the inside. These sweet potatoes can range from beige to dark purple on the inside; the darker, the healthier. The Asian ones were sweeter and a bit floral, a fun contrast to the more typical ones you find. I like to leave the skin on and cut them to look like French fries.”
1. Cut the sweet potatoes into fries.
2. Toss with olive oil and seasoning.
3. Bake on cookie sheet for 30 minutes at 375 degrees.
4. Flip and bake for another 10 minutes. When browned, remove.
“Chimichurri is an amazing sauce, and oh so versatile,” House said. “I use it as a salad dressing, for Cole slaw, to dip meats in, and even in place of pesto. My family loves it, even the kids.”
1 bunch cilantro — leaves and some stems
½ cup chopped parsley, no stems
¼ tsp cumin
1/8 cup lime juice
2 cloves garlic
1 dried hot Thai chili (more if you like things very spicy)
½ tsp Goya adobo cumin seasoning
2 tsp sugar or honey (“I used sugar here,” House noted.)
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
1. Place all ingredients except olive oil into food processor, and puree until almost smooth.
2. Slowly drizzle in olive oil.
3. Check the flavor. Add more salt or pepper to taste.
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