Sunday, March 27, 2011

Not giving up a whole lot for Lent

About 3 weeks ago, the DH and I were in our local mini-mart, getting an ice cream treat to take on our evening walk. The two coeds in line in front of us asked if we were "observing"? No, we admitted, we were in there about once a week indulging!

We didn't ask what they were giving up, but many people refrain from meat, eggs and dairy for the Christian Lenten season. As we work to continue to be healthy, we're eating more fresh vegetables, fruit, legumes and whole grains - in other words, whole foods. At the same time, we find ourselves eating less meat - beef and pork - and chicken, and a bit more fish and shellfish. Also, lovely fresh fruit and vegetables cost less than meat and seafood. My friends tell me fresh fruit and vegetable spoil quickly, are tasteless or unavailable. I know it's harder for them to find fresh produce in the NE US compared to us, in Hawaii.

I am always looking for tasty recipes for vegetables and legumes, and I found 5 days worth in Martha Rose Shulman's NY Times series for the Lenten season. Here is one with carrots and lentils, that I prepared a few nights ago. In the left-hand sidebar, there are 4 other recipes for Lent, which all happen to be vegan.

In making the recipe, I also incorporated 1-1/2 tablespoons of pomegranate molasses before I added the mint. If I make this again, I would increase the pom molasses by another 1/2 tablespoon. An option would be to add several tablespoons of balsamic vinegar - to your taste - or a squeeze of lemon before eating. Any of these would brighten the flavors. Too, I would substitute some of the water in the recipe with 1/2 cup of wine. I might also add eggplant for another texture variation. Also, the pleasure of eating this dish would be greatly increased with a dollop of goat cheese. Of course, it would no longer be vegan! To make this a complete protein, serve with 12-grain rice, as I did, or brown rice is fine, too.

While this was a satisfying dish, the star of the meal was the tomato soup, which I'll write about in the next post!

And we're not giving up the occasional ice cream treat!

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