Catholic families to observe Lenten fasting during Lent and on Fridays by serving and eating vegetarian, meatless meals. Vegetarian meals work for weight loss, too. And a good starch for weight loss is rice. Rice is multi-purpose food source (heck, it must be as half the world survives on it!) But rice gets a bad rap in western cultures for its high glycemic level, starch and calorie content. But starch isn’t all bad for weight loss. It fills you up and keeps you going, especially, believe it or not, non-dietary fiber starch. Rice is high in B vitamins that help brain function and slow aging. It’s fat-free and has protein, too. Brown rice is generally better than white rice but jasmine and basmati rice taste the best in rice recipes.
Here are vegetarian rice recipes for weigh loss and for Lenten fasting. These rice recipes were created to meet other types of religious fasting–Islamic halal and non-kitniyot Jewish kosher fasting. Kitniyot foods, like rice, are sometimes restricted by Jews, particularly Ashkenazi, during Pesach or passover. To observe kitniyot fasting, quinoa could be substituted for rice. These rice recipes can be made vegan by using cashew or almond milk for dairy and nuts, seeds, beans or tofu for fish or by omitting it altogether.
Lemon Meringue Rice recipes. This sounds decadent and it is, but it’s also good for weight loss. It’s a super healthy takeoff on rice pudding. In Dutch households, rice was a staple for every meal, including breakfast. Enjoy this recipe for a healthy, vegetarian jumpstart to your morning. Steam brown rice with chopped apples. Add flaxseed, chia seed, pumpkin seeds and almonds or walnuts. Flavor with nutmeg, cinnamon, allspice, lemon curd (or lemon emulsion or lemon juice) and vanilla to taste. Mix in 1-2 teaspoons light yogurt or olive oil butter per serving or use spray margarine. Sweeten with 1 teaspoon blue agave syrup or Splenda. Mix lemon curd, Greek yogurt and Splenda, monkfruit or blue agave syrup for topping.
Lenten tuna rice casserole. Steam rice in with sage, rosemary, celery seed and pepper. Weight loss gets a lot easier when you make your own “cream soup” base as an alternative to the high calorie, high salt canned soup. Chop and add onions, green peppers and celery (mirepoix or Cajun “Holy Trinity”). Saute mirepoix in 1 T. extra virgin olive oil. Add two cups water and 1 T. Better Than Bouillon vegetable broth. Blend in 1/3 cup plain Greek yogurt and simmer on low till melted. Add 1 T. feta cheese. Steam broccoli and blend with cooked rice, tuna (3 ounces per serving) and soup. Bake 15-20 minutes to set. Garnish with colored peppers, fresh sage leaves or paprika.
Very vegetarian squash rice tacos: This nutrient-packed tacos are ideal for weigh loss. Pare and cube amber or butternut squash. Cook rice. Saute squash with water, one tablespoons of olive oil, lime juice, oregano, cumin, minced garlic and chopped onion. Season with chili pepper, Hungarian hot pepper or Cajun red pepper blend. Toast corn tortilla shells in toaster (to cut fat calories). Or substitute large romaine lettuce leaves for tortillas. Fill leaf or shell with two tablespoons each of rice and squash. Add salsa, lettuce, chopped tomatoes, fresh onions and jalapenos (or hot sauce) as desired. Omit cheese or substitute reduced-calorie Mozzarella cheese. Top with plain yogurt instead of sour cream. Each taco has about 50 calories wrapped in lettuce! To make burritos, fill unbaked shells with squash, rice and cheese. Top with salsa or chopped tomatoes and bake. Lenten fasting just got that much tastier!