Since April Fool’s Day is in a couple of days, I wanted to share this “Meat Fooled” column with you as I have been getting more and more requests for meatless and dairy-free recipes. Some requests are to stick to readers’ Lent requirements where many give up meat, dairy, eggs … even cooking oils. Others are dietary allergies. Our religious commitments all vary where some are giving up a food during this Lenten season, a time when many observe fasting, repentance, moderation, self-denial and self-discipline. Others may abstain from other things such as Facebook, computer games, wine and movies … even texting. Others still may give up impatience, intolerance, harsh judgments and selfishness. All of these sacrifices and many more seem to make us better people. In fact, the Orthodox call Lent the season of “Bright Sadness.” It is a season of sorrowful reflection that has breaks in the fast on Sundays.
I am sharing a few of my favorite, unique recipes which I hope you enjoy enough to not miss the foods you are abstaining from for a few weeks or have completely eliminated from your diet for your ongoing health. “Please Join Our Table” and enjoy these “Meat Fooled” recipes. I promise you won’t miss the meat!
This will be the best home-made vegan burger you have ever tasted!
Meat-Fooled Juicy Burgers
1 package Beyond Meat burger (beyondmeat.com; I have found this at H-E-B, Kroger Central Market and Whole Foods, but if unavailable use any meat-substitute burger)
4 slices Tomato
CHAO slices (fieldroast.com; also available at H-E-B)
Buc-ee’s Sweet Fire pickles and peppers, drained (buc-ees.com)
4 large gluten-free hamburger buns
1 large avocado
4 slices red onion
4 tomato slices
Lettuce, spinach, arugula, etc. (your choice)
Condiments of choice, mayonnaise, mustard, etc.
Toast buns in oven or toaster. Cook burgers according to package directions, then top with the CHAO slices. Place the bottom buns on plates. Spread condiments on buns. Carefully place burgers on the bottom buns. Add remaining ingredients. Top with top bun. Serve with chips and enjoy!
This is a fantastic, dairy-free dip for vegetables, crackers or pita bread.
Potato Garlic Dip
6 medium potatoes
7 cloves of garlic, peeled
1/4 cup slivered almonds
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup water (from the boiled potatoes)
1 tablespoon sea salt
Wash and peel the potatoes. Place them in a large saucepan, cover with cold water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer and cook for about 30 minutes (the potatoes need to boil until very, very tender). Drain potatoes really well and keep them hot. Save about 1/2 cup of the boiling water. In a food processor, mix the boiling water, garlic, almonds and red wine vinegar, and season with salt. Blend until the garlic and almonds are finely blended. Cut the potatoes into pieces, place them in the food processor, and blend to mix well. Pour in the olive oil a little bit at a time until the oil is incorporated and the mixture is smooth and creamy. If you want your dip to have a milder garlicky taste, boil the garlic in some milk* (see below) for about 5 minutes before using. I serve it with toasted pita bread.
Note: The potatoes have to be hot. If the potatoes are cold, then it will be hard to combine the ingredients and the dip will be lumpy.
*If your diet doesn’t allow dairy, use cashew or almond milk.
My Cretan Garlic Spaghetti with Shrimp, Lemon and Saffron
1 pound dry spaghetti or linguine
Sea salt to taste
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
20-24 medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
12 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
1/4 cup dry white wine (not cooking wine; use wine you would drink)
1/4 teaspoon saffron, soaked in 1 teaspoon of warm water
1/2 to 2/3 cup of pasta water
Zest of 3 lemons
Juice of 1 lemon
1/2 teaspoon of chili flakes
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
1/3 cup chopped green onion tops or chives
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Sesame seeds for garnish
Season the shrimp with salt and pepper. Put 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet and heat to medium-high. Add the shrimp and saute’ each side for about 30 seconds or until just pink. Remove from the skillet and set aside. In the same skillet on medium-low heat, add the remaining olive oil and add the garlic slices and saffron; cook for 2-3 minutes. Do not brown the garlic; it will turn bitter. Add the wine and simmer for 2-3 minutes. Turn off the heat, add the shrimp back into the pan, set it aside and cook the pasta. Place a large pot of water on the stovetop and bring to a boil; add about 2 teaspoons of salt or until the water tastes like the sea. Add pasta and cook for 7-8 minutes to al dente’ then drain, saving about 1 cup of pasta water. Add pasta to the shrimp pan with about 1/2 cup of pasta water and gently toss. Add the remaining pasta water, lemon zest, lemon juice and the chopped fresh parsley and toss. Add more pasta water if dish is too thick. Serve drizzled with olive oil and topped with sesame seeds and chili flakes. This makes about four main dishes.