With Lent upon us, now is as good a time as any to add to your repertoire of meatless recipes. Although many Americans eat meat three times a day, any vegetarian or vegan will tell you that you don’t really need meat to eat well. If you want something other than good old fish sticks and tuna casserole for dinner, read on.
Jackfruit carnitas tacos with a spicy chipotle sauce are a quick, easy meaty-feeling vegan option. Another almost effortless option is zesty sizzling ginger scallion sauce with pan-seared tofu. “Blackened” snapper with a salad of crunchy pickles will also light up your taste buds with little effort. Orecchiette, little pasta “ears” with breadcrumbs and broccoli rabe, is a texture fest that leaves you feeling like it was hours rather than minutes in the making.
Don’t be scared off by seemingly labor-intensive dishes. A vegetarian paella has fewer ingredients and many fewer steps than the classic version. No-boil noodles let you make a pan of lasagna without having to deal with the hassle of the pasta pot and noodles sticking together. Using bechamel sauce instead of tomato sauce for lasagne further reduces the preparation time. The luscious eggplant timbale is sort of like a reconfigured eggplant Parmesan — just as delicious and notably eye-catching.
Most of these dishes — and those below — can be prepared in an hour or less and are suitable for both casual and special-occasion meals. You may not be eating meat on Fridays during Lent, but you don’t have to do away with beautiful, delectable dinners full of flavor and texture.