Well I’m a pro at this meat free stuff now. :-) It’s been a meat free Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday for me since Oct 1. I decided to take the vegetarian challenge since it is Vegetarian Awareness month and I honestly thought it was going to be hard. But you know what? It’s been easy. It’s not like I have been dying for meat products and have to use sheer will power to not eat it. It’s not like giving up chocolate. I just have to be more conscious of what I’m putting in my mouth. On day 2 the hubby brought home some chicken wings for lunch and without even thinking, I almost picked one up to take a bite. It had nothing to do with a craving for it, just a habit of picking up and eating whatever I want. So if I falter during this month, I don’t think it will be because I just have to have meat, fish or poultry, but more because I’m not paying attention.
Going through this reminded me of my first pregnancy. The thought of eating meat made me nauseous for a good 6 to 7 months. I never had food cravings, but this was one food aversion that pregnancy brought on. So I know I can get through this month no problem. And back then I wasn’t as diverse in my meatless recipes, so I’m in a much better position now.
And the recipe I tried this past weekend hit me from all directions. First I saw it on a Facebook newsfeed, and then I saw it in my latest Vegetarian Times magazine. It’s like it was calling for me to try it. And boy am I glad I did. This one was good. The pictures just don’t do it justice. I’m not a great photographer.
The first step is to release the moisture from the zucchini, or “sweat” them out:
I’ve done this with eggplant before to get rid of some of the bitterness, but never with zucchini.
The original recipe is actually vegan-friendly, but since I did not take a “vegan challenge”, I substituted as indicated below. Please try this one. It is delicious! A friend of mine asked me how I was going to take in all my protein as a vegetarian, well this recipe has 8g of protein per serving, thanks mainly to the quinoa. Try it, you’ll like it!
- 2 large zucchini, cut lengthwise into 12 1/4-inch-thick slices
- 1 tsp. salt
- 2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
- 1 cup quinoa, rinsed and drained
- 1/2 cup tomato sauce
- 1/4 cup finely chopped onion
- 1 tsp. dried oregano
- 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped
- 1/4 cup fresh parsley leaves, chopped
- 2 Tbs. nondairy cream cheese, such as Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese, optional – I used regular cream cheese
- 1 25-oz. jar marinara sauce
- 1/2 cup shredded nondairy cheese, such as Daiya Mozzarella, optional – I used regular mozzarella cheese
1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Place zucchini slices on bed of paper towels. Sprinkle with salt, cover with paper towels, and let stand to release moisture while preparing quinoa.
2. Bring broth, quinoa, tomato sauce, onion, and oregano to a boil in saucepan. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer 25 minutes, or until all liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat, and stir in basil, parsley, and cream cheese, if using.
3. Spoon 1/3 cup marinara sauce over bottom of 8-inch square baking dish. Blot remaining moisture and salt from zucchini slices, and lay 4 zucchini slices over marinara sauce in pan. Spoon half of quinoa over zucchini, and cover with 1/3 cup marinara. Repeat with 4 more zucchini slices, remaining quinoa, and 1/3 cup marinara. Top with remaining 4 zucchini slices, remaining marinara, and shredded cheese, if using. Bake lasagna 30 minutes, or until zucchini is tender and top is bubbly.
Nutritional Information (original recipe)
Per 1-cup serving: Calories: 213, Protein: 8g, Total fat: 4g, Saturated fat: <1g, Carbs: 39g, Cholesterol: mg, Sodium: 735mg, Fiber: 7g, Sugars: 15g