Lenten Recipes

As the Christmas season comes to a close this Sunday, I start thinking ahead to Lent. I know there are weeks of Ordinary Time, but Ash Wednesday begins on the 25th of February, not too far away.

I’m always on the lookout for a meatless meal that is free of eggs, milk, and wheat so I can serve it for the whole family. The Washington Post Food Section on January 7 had a recipe that I thought I’d “clip” and try for this Lent:

Quick Brown Rice With Tuna and Green Beans

If you’ve been trying to work more whole grains into your weeknight meals, let Wednesdays be the place to start. Today’s retro-inspired skillet supper is the first of six consecutive recipes that will feature a different, quick-cooking whole grain.

Cookbook author Lorna Sass is sharing three recipes from her latest cookbook plus three whole-grain recipes exclusively for Post readers. She’s done much work in testing new whole-grain products and will provide that insight as well.

Instant brown rice is first up. Sass prefers using (Kraft) Minute brand, because it ends up with a better texture than other brands on the market, she says. Toasting the quick brown rice before steaming it enhances the grains’ flavor.

The recipe can be cut in half, but it’s best to use the same amount of oil (1/4 cup). Serve this surprisingly hearty main dish on its own or with a side salad. Leftovers taste great cold.

Ingredients:
• 12 to 16 ounces frozen cut green beans
• 1 1/2 medium red or yellow onions
• 1/2 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes
• 2 6-ounce cans oil-packed tuna, oil reserved from 1 can
• 2 teaspoons dried Italian seasoning blend
• 1 teaspoon granulated garlic powder (do not use garlic salt)
• 2 cups (uncooked) instant brown rice, preferably Minute brand (see headnote)
• 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
• 2 cups water, plus more as needed
• Salt
• Freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

Place the green beans in a colander and run hot tap water over them to take the chill off and help separate any beans that are frozen together.

Coarsely chop the onions; there should be 1 1/2 to 2 cups. Coarsely chop the sun-dried tomatoes (no need to blot them dry).
Drain the oil from 1 of the cans of tuna into a large skillet; there should be about 1/4 cup total. Reserve the tuna; drain and discard the oil from the second can, reserving the tuna.

Heat the oil over medium-high heat, then add the onions, Italian seasoning blend and garlic powder, stirring to coat. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring. Add the rice and mix to incorporate; cook for 3 to 4 minutes, until the rice has lightly browned. Add the balsamic vinegar and cook for about 20 seconds, stirring, until it evaporates.

Add the water and let the mixture come to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium, cover and cook for 5 to 7 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the defrosted green beans and the sun-dried tomatoes, mixing well, then cover and cook for 5 to 7 minutes, until the green beans and the rice are just tender. Uncover to stir occasionally; if the mixture seems dry add a few tablespoons of water as needed.

Add the tuna from both cans, flaking it with a fork as you work. Mix well and remove from the heat. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot, warm or at room temperature.

Recipe Source:Adapted from Sass’s “Whole Grains for Busy People” (Clarkson Potter, 2009).

I like to buy from Trader Joe’s some frozen brown rice, that only takes 3 minutes to cook in the microwave, and dh and children love it. I also make brown rice cooked in chicken broth regularly. We have leftovers and easily incorporate them into other meals.

Not sure if the green beans will be a hit, but otherwise the recipe works in tuna and brown rice, some of our usual Lenten Friday choices.

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