Make the Sacrifice, But not with Flavor

Lent is a time of sacrifice, commitment and solemn reflection. Depending on your denomination, this could mean giving up meat or some type of indulgent food like sugar, chocolate, butter, desserts or snacks.

You may not be able to enjoy some of your favorite foods, but that doesn’t mean you need to skimp on flavor. Plant proteins, flavorful sauces and proper seasoning can turn a vegetarian entree into a satisfying meal. Try stuffing bell peppers, winter squash, portobellos or eggplant with whole grains like farro, couscous or quinoa, or legumes like chickpeas, lentils or split peas. Served hot or cold and tossed in a flavorful vinaigrette or sauce, when you add a variety of vegetables, nuts and seasoning, the end result is a delicious combination.

Here is a recipe I enjoy as a vegetarian entree that is big on flavor, but full of healthy ingredients.

Roasted Bell Peppers with Couscous Medley
2 large bell peppers
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup mushrooms, chopped
1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
2 cups fresh spinach, chopped
1 Roma tomato, chopped
2 tablespoons black olives, chopped
2 tablespoons sliced almonds
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped
1 cup whole wheat couscous, cooked
1/4 cup Italian salad dressing
2 tablespoons parmesan cheese, grated

Cut bell peppers in half from top to bottom. Remove seed and veins keeping top intact.  Pour a little olive oil in your hands and rub the inside and outside of the peppers with oil. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a sauté pan heat oil over medium heat. Add onion, garlic and mushrooms and sauté until soft.  Add chicken broth, bring to a simmer and add spinach. Allow spinach to wilt. Remove from heat and stir in tomato, olives, almonds, salt, pepper, thyme and couscous. Add the dressing and spoon stuffing into pepper halves. Place peppers in a baking pan and bake for 30 to 45 minutes. Remove from oven. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and serve. Serves 4.

Published 2/15/21

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