Are you a meal planner? I am! On Sundays, I write out what we are going to eat for dinner throughout the week. I have found that it helps us eat out less. Lately, we’ve been enjoying Meatless Mondays in an effort to eat healthy and reduce our carbon footprint. Have you heard of Meatless Mondays? It’s an international campaign that encourages people to not eat meat on Mondays to improve their health and the health of the planet. The campaign was started in 2003 by Sid Lerner, the Founder of The Monday Campaigns, in association with the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future.
Swapping animal based products for healthy plant-based foods can help reduce the incidence of chronic preventable diseases and preserve precious land and water resources.
The message is simple: “skipping meat once a week” works because it provides a regular cue to take action on Monday, which research shows is the day people are most open to making positive changes. Starting each week by practicing Meatless Monday can lead people to eat more fruits, vegetables, and plant-based meals throughout the rest of the week.
Do you think you can do it? Can you eat meatless for one day a week or maybe more? Just doing a quick search online for meatless meals has inspired me to try a couple vegetarian recipes this week. For instance, this butternut risotto with leeks (instant pot or stovetop) has got me salivating. I plan to make pasta with broccolini, preserved lemon, and chickpeas for Meatless Monday this week. Want to join me? I think you can make meals that are more simple, but this one looks pretty fun and easy. I plan to use lemon zest and juice because I have not preserved my lemons thus far. Let's get to it!
Pasta with Broccolini, Preserved Lemon, and Chickpeas
Recipe: from Feasting at Home
- 8 cups water
- 8 ounces spaghetti
- 10–12 ounces broccolini, cut in half lengthwise ( or use regular broccoli see notes)
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 fat shallot, finely diced
- 6 cloves garlic, rough chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon Aleppo, Urfa Biber or regular chili flakes
- 1/4 teaspoon sumac (optional)
- 1–2 tablespoons preserved lemon, chopped (or sub lemon zest from one lemon)
- 1 cup cooked chickpeas (optional)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper
- 1 cup reserved hot pasta water
- 1–2 tablespoons lemon juice (if not using preserved lemon)
- 1/2 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
- 1/4 cup pecorino or parmesan
- Optional: additional 1 tablespoon olive oil or butter
- salt and pepper to taste
In a large pot, bring 8 cups of water and 1 tablespoon salt (measure both) to a boil. Add spaghetti and simmer until al dente. Add broccolini to the pasta water and cook 2-3 minutes, or until just tender and vibrant green. Drain, reserving 1 cup of the pasta water.
While the spaghetti is cooking, heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Saute shallots and garlic 3-4 minutes until fragrant and tender. Add chili flakes, sumac, preserved lemon ( or lemon zest), chickpeas if using, and salt and pepper. Saute 1-2 minutes, turn the heat off.
When the pasta and broccolini are done (save 1 cup pasta water) add it to the garlic shallot mixture in the skillet, over medium heat. Add 1 cup hot pasta water, and give a good toss. Taste. Add a squeeze of lemon juice if you like (especially if not using. the preserved lemons).
Toss in the fresh parsley and pecorino, taste again, and adjust salt, pepper and chili flakes. You want to taste the salt and lemon, both. 😉 For extra richness, mix in another little drizzle of olive oil – or a little butter (my husband LOVES it this way).
Divide among bowls and enjoy.
*Leftovers reheat well and will keep 3-4 days in the fridge.
*If using regular broccoli, allow a couple of extra minutes of cooking time (florets and stems tend to be bigger).
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JoAnn Gruener, RD, CDE
Health Advisor | Email JoAnn