February 27, 2024
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Eggs and Quinoa: Answers to Your Nine Days Recipe Crisis

Health gurus and hipsters around the world have been promoting “Meatless Mondays” for a number of years, yet no one does it better than the Jews during the Nine Days. Little do people realize that the concept wasn’t actually born out of environmental or health concerns, but rather as a war effort.

The U.S. Food Administration declared that “food will win the war” during World War I, and encouraged citizens to participate in Meatless Mondays and Wheatless Wednesdays. President Roosevelt and President Truman revived the venture during and after World War II, helping American soldiers and Europeans devastated by the war. Only in 2003 did the effort focus on health and preventing illness caused by too much meat consumption. Sid Lerner, of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health’s Center for a Livable Future, advocated the campaign to reduce meat eating.

Since then Meatless Mondays have spread like wildfire. Celebrities, authors and food advocates such as Oprah Winfrey and Michael Pollan have endorsed the idea. Websites and cookbooks have been created, full of vegetarian recipes that make it easy to forget the lack of meat. It was deemed the top food trend in 2011. Schools and universities are incorporating the campaign into their weekly menu; L.A. even passed a city council resolution to be a “Meatless Monday city.”

For most, it’s not difficult to forgo the meat one day a week, but the Nine Days pose more of a problem. There’s only so much tofu one can eat before feeling carnivorous cravings. Here are some simple and creative dishes to spice up your meatless menu!

Shakshuka

serves 2–4

Ingredients

1 tbsp olive oil

½ medium white onion, chopped

1 medium red bell pepper, chopped

1 medium tomato, diced

2 tbsp tomato paste

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp chili powder, optional

Salt and pepper, to taste

4 large eggs

Crusty bread or pita, for serving

Procedure

Heat olive oil in large skillet over medium flame. Saute onion until soft, then add pepper. Continue to saute for about 5–7 minutes, until softened.

Add the tomato and tomato paste, stir to combine. Mix in spices and allow to simmer for about 5 minutes. Adjust spices according to taste.

Crack eggs one at a time into skillet, evenly spaced. Cover and allow to simmer over medium-low for about 10–15 minutes, until eggs have cooked “over easy” style. The longer the eggs cook, the less runny they will be!

Remove from heat and serve with bread or pita.

Black Bean Quinoa Casserole (inspired by Two Peas and Their Pod)

serves a crowd (8–10)

Ingredients

1 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed

2 cups water

1 tbsp olive oil

1 onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 red bell pepper, diced

1 cup corn

½ cup chopped cherry tomatoes

Juice of 1 lime

1 tsp cumin

1 tbsp chili powder

⅓ cup chopped cilantro

Salt and pepper, to taste

2 (15 oz.) cans black beans, drained and rinsed

2 cups red enchilada or taco sauce

2 cups shredded cheese of choice

For topping: Avocado, scallions, extra chopped cilantro and/or sour cream

Procedure

Preheat oven to 350of. Apply cooking spray or parchment paper to a 9 x 13 baking dish.

In medium pot, bring quinoa and water to boil over medium heat. Boil for 5 minutes, then let simmer for approximately 15 minutes, until water is absorbed. Remove from heat and cover.

Heat olive oil in large skillet, over medium-high heat. Saute onion and garlic until soft, about 5 minutes. Add pepper, tomatoes and corn, and cook 3–4 minutes. Stir in lime juice, cumin, chili powder, cilantro, salt and pepper.

Combine quinoa, sauteed vegetables and black beans in large bowl. Stir in enchilada/taco sauce, then add ½ cup of cheese.

Pour mixture into prepared baking dish. Top with remaining cheese. Cover with foil, bake for 20 minutes, then remove foil. Bake about 10 minutes more, until cheese melts and edges are bubbly.

Remove from oven and allow to cool for 5–10 minutes. Serve warm, with toppings if desired.

This casserole freezes extremely well, so feel free to double the recipe or split into 2 smaller pans and freeze half! May need to adjust baking time slightly for smaller pans.

Sara Linder is a JLNJ summer intern. She is a Teaneck resident and a student at the University of Maryland-College Park.

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