Category Archives: Vegetarian Recipes

How To Give Up Meat For Lent

After giving up meat for Lent, a lot of people have asked us what we ate, or how we managed. The most popular comment from friends and family has been, “There is NO way I could have done that.” Well, yes you could have…and yes you can. 40 days of no meat was not bad at all and has actually passed very quickly. We have learned that meat, while exceptionally delicious, is more of a luxury than a necessity. In a recent brainstorming session, we tried to recall all (or most) of the meals that have allowed us to not only make it through our meatless Lent, but eat well along the way.

The following is a list of the Newly Feds meatless Lenten menu items in no particular order. These meals were all homemade by us, all of the recipes are very doable, and most were made on weekday nights.

If there is a recipe you would like to try or like to see us write about, let us know and we can make that happen.

  1. Scallion and Edamame Fried Rice
  2. Garden Vegetable Risotto
  3. Shrimp Po Boys with Low Fat Blue Cheese Broccoli Slaw
  4. Nicoise Salad with Grilled Tuna
  5. Scallops with Linguine in a Herb Wine Sauce
  6. Spinach Macaroni and Cheese
  7. Vegetable Lasagna
  8. Minestrone with Pesto Soup
  9. Vegetable Stir Fry
  10. Vegetarian Wild Rice Burgers
  11. Brown Sugar Mustard Glazed Salmon with Grilled Vegetable Ratatouille Salad
  12. Stuffed Portabella Mushroom Caps
  13. Fish Tacos
  14. Red Pepper Alfredo
  15. Shrimp Pad Thai
  16. Portabella Mushroom Stroganoff
  17. Boca Burger Tacos
  18. Coconut Shrimp with a side of Sesame Thai Noodles
  19. Spiced Lentil Soup
  20. Spaghetti with Caramelized Mushrooms
  21. Spring Vegetable Pizza
  22. Linguine Primavera with Pesto
  23. Beer Steamed Mussels
  24. Bocca Veggie Hot Dogs with Homemade French Fries
  25. Fish and Chips

We also have enjoyed various meals out and with family and friends that aren’t listed. But we promise, NO meat has been eaten during Lent (not even on Sunday).



Filed under Entrees, Lists, Vegetarian Recipes

Garden Risotto

Garden Risotto. Sounds fancy right? It may sound gourmet, but it actually super simple and very versatile. Risotto is another one of those meals that may seem overly complicated, but when all said and done, is really nothing more than rice cooked with broth. Yes, it truly is that easy. Basic risotto is a snap to make and, once mastered, you can throw in any extra veggies, herbs, or protein that you have lying around.  Heck, we just bought what was on sale this week (veggies and herbs. yeah!) and made the risotto to fit.

If you really want to impress someone (or several someones) with your culinary skills, risotto is the ticket. It is easy to make and it shows off well. Plus, it is incredibly forgiving. You really can’t screw it up. Oh, and if you are cooking for a crowd, you are in luck. This recipe made approximately 4-6 servings.


Garden Risotto

Adapted from Garden Risotto by Ellie Krieger (Kate loves her because she is a dietitian who makes GREAT Food).


  • 8 cups low-sodium vegetable or chicken broth
  • 3 teaspoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups Arborio Rice
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup sliced mushrooms
  • 3 lightly packed cups baby spinach leaves
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1/2 pound asparagus, steamed and cut into 3/4-inch pieces (we used frozen because fresh was too expensive this week)
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • Handful parsley, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons thyme, chopped


1. Bring the broth to a simmer in a medium saucepan.

2. Saute the mushrooms in a teaspoon of olive oil. Set aside.

3. Heat the remaining oil in a heavy saucepan over medium-low heat and cook the garlic and onion, stirring occasionally, until soft, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the rice and cook, stirring constantly (about 1 minute) until the rice is opaque. Add the wine and simmer, stirring constantly, until absorbed (about 1 minute).

4. Add 3/4 cup of the hot broth, the salt and a few grinds of fresh pepper and simmer, stirring constantly, until the broth is absorbed. Continue simmering and adding hot broth, about 3/4 cup at a time, stirring constantly and allowing the broth to be absorbed before adding more, until rice is almost tender and creamy-looking, about 18 minutes.

5. Add the spinach and peas and cook until the spinach is wilted. Add the asparagus and cook just until the vegetables are hot. Add the sautéed mushrooms. Stir in the Parmesan and Herbs and more broth if the risotto seems too thick.

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Filed under Entrees, Risotto, Vegetarian Recipes

Beer Steamed Mussels

As our quest for a meatless Lent continues, we have felt challenged at times to come up with recipes that are easy, fun, and, most importantly, deeply satisfying. While we have made some amazing soups, pastas, stir fries, and main entrees, there have been times where something was missing. It is not the meat that we miss so much (believe me, we do miss it. bad.), but rather the feeling that the meal is truly complete. This led us to think outside of the box a bit more, and focus on meals that we truly love to eat, either at home or at a restaurant. There are dozens of recipes that fit into this category, but very few that are meatless. We considered several options but kept coming up a bit short. Then we remembered a meal that is not just dinner, but an overall experience. One that is quick, easy, rustic, sophisticated, deeply flavored, respectful of the ingredients, and versatile enough to never get old. We, of course, thought of mussels.

If you have never had mussels, you are missing out on a really fun and easy dish. When cooked properly, they have the great ability to both take on and impart flavor to whatever ingredients they are paired with. They are great on their own, amazing in soups, and can transform a simple pasta dish into a high-end gourmet meal. They are on the menus of some of the best restaurants in the country, and you often pay a premium for them. The thing is though, that they are dead easy to cook and you don’t need to go to a restaurant to enjoy them. All you need is a deep saute pan, some herbs, garlic, and a bit of flavorful liquid to steam them in. Pair with a loaf of warm and crusty French bread for dipping in the rich broth, a light veggie side-dish, and a glass of your favorite beer or white wine, and you have a meal that is simply, complete.

Note: This recipe is incredibly flexible. We chose to take a very simple route, but almost any variation will yield a good result. If you think there is a combination of ingredients that would go well together, they probably will.

Beer Steamed Mussels

A Newly Feds original recipe.

Serves 2, but could easily be doubled (or tripled) to serve more.


  • 1-2 pounds of high-quality fresh mussels
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1-2 tablespoons of minced garlic
  • 1 small red onion, diced
  • 18-24 ounces Belgian or German beer (white wine works well here too)
  • 1 medium tomato, diced
  • 4-5 tablespoons of flat leaf parsley (basil would work here as well), chopped with some reserved for garnish
  • Good French bread, for dipping
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste


  1. Remove the mussels from their paper wrapping. Inspect each mussel individually, discarding any that are badly chipped, cracked, or broken. If a mussel’s shell is open, tap lightly on a hard surface. The shell should close. If it does not close, even slightly, discard. Rinse the mussels in cool water to remove any grit on the shells.
  2. In a large heavy-bottomed saute pan, heat the olive oil and saute the onion and garlic over medium heat until translucent. We chose to go heavy on the garlic, but you can go lighter (or heavier even) as you see fit.
  3. Place the mussels in the pan, being careful to leave enough room to place the lid on the pan. Slowly pour the beer over the mussels, covering approximately 2/3 of the shells. We used 1 and 1/2 beers (12 ounces). Be careful as the beer will foam upon hitting the hot pan.
  4. Immediately place the lid upon the pan, and steam the mussels for about 6-8 minutes, or until the shells have opened. Do not overcook, as the mussels can become tough. Add 3/4 of the chopped parsley. Stir with a wooden spoon or spatula. This will ensure that the flavorful liquid (often referred to as the liquor) released by the mussels is incorporated. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Transfer the mussels to serving bowls, discarding any mussels that have not opened in the cooking process. Ladle a generous portion of the broth over the mussels.
  6. Sprinkle the fresh tomato over the mussels and garnish with the remaining parsley.
  7. Serve with several slices of warm bread. Be sure to try dipping the bread in the broth. This often proves to be one of the best parts of the dish.


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Filed under Cooking Tips, Entrees, Seafood, Vegetarian Recipes

Spiced Lentil Soup

About 4 years ago, we served as full-time volunteers for a program in Chicago called Amate House. Amate House volunteers live in community and have very simple lifestyles. In short, we lived with a bunch of other people and had very little money for food. Since lentils, beans, rice, and pasta are fairly cheap and feed a lot of people, we ate these items for dinner more often than not.  After our year in Amate, Sean vowed he would never eat another lentil again. That is, until now.

Through her work as a dietitian, Kate receives a number of nutrition based emails daily.  This recipe came across her inbox last week. Not only did Sean love it, we decided it was deserving of a blog post! Lentils have made a comeback, big time.

Please enjoy. And to fellow Amate volunteers: believe it or not, lentils can be apart of a normal post-Amate lifestyle.

Spiced Lentil Soup

Slightly adapted from the Chicago Tribune

Tips: This recipe will work using any type of potatoes or lentils (except the red ones; they will disintegrate during cooking).

Prep: 30 minutes Cook: 1 hour Makes: 10 cups (This recipe could easily be halved)

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion
  • 5 chopped potatoes, cut into 1-inch dices
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 each, cut into 1/2-inch pieces: carrots, celery ribs (We added double this)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon each: ground cloves, ground ginger, red pepper flakes, black pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups French green lentils (The green lentils really seemed to hold up better then any other lentil we’ve ever cooked with)
  • 2 quarts vegetable stock
  • 1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup each, chopped: cilantro, parsley (We didn’t use this, and don’t think it would have made a huge difference)

1. Heat a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the oil; heat. Add the onion. Cook, stirring, until translucent, 5 minutes. Add the potatoes, garlic, carrots and celery; cook 5 minutes. Add bay leaves, cumin, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, red pepper flakes and black pepper.

2. Sort the lentils; rinse. Add to the saucepan. Add the stock. Cover; heat to a boil over high heat. Reduce to a simmer; cook until lentils and vegetables are tender, about 50 minutes.

3. Transfer 2 cups of the lentils with a little of the stock to a blender; puree. Return to the saucepan. Stir in the soy sauce, cilantro and parsley.

Nutrition Information Per cup: 156 calories, 17% of calories from fat, 3 g fat, 0 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 28 g carbohydrates, 5 g protein, 119 mg sodium, 6 g fiber

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Filed under Soup, Vegetarian Recipes

French Fries!

On Friday, The Newly Feds celebrated one of our favorite holidays… Opening Day! While the Twins and Cubs may have lost, we certainly won by staying in to watch baseball while drinking a beer or two and enjoying a taste of the warmer days to come.

In honor of the return of baseball, and in an effort to prompt Spring to hurry up with the warm and sunny weather, we decided to make our somewhat healthier version of a classic, all-time favorite. We hope you enjoy!

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Crispy Baked French Fries

A Newly Feds Original Recipe. Serves 2-4 .

The Ingredients:

  • 3 large Russet potatoes
  • Several cups of water (for soaking)
  • Canola oil for coating the fries (about 1/4 cup)
  • Non-stick cooking spray
  • Kosher salt (to taste)

The Plan:

1.  Preheat the oven to 425. Center the oven racks.

2.  Using a mandolin (recommended) or your chef’s knife, slice the potatoes into strips of even thickness. Soak the fries in a bowl of water for 10-15 minutes (or longer if needed) to bring out some of the starch and to prevent browning. Drain.

3.  In a large mixing bowl, coat the fries with the oil.

4.  Place a wire cooling rack on an aluminum foil lined jelly roll pan. Spray the wire rack with the cooking spray to avoid sticking. Spread a portion of the fries out on the cooling rack, leaving some space between the fries. Liberally salt the fries to taste.

5.  Working in batches, bake the fries for 20-30 minutes or until golden brown (cooking time will vary with the thickness of the fries and the performance of your oven).

6.  Serve hot with your favorite dipping sauce, we dipped ours in good-old-fashioned ketchup, but a garlic aioli would be delicious as well.


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Filed under Appetizers, Vegetarian Recipes

Vegetarian Wild Rice Burgers

For many, foregoing meat on Fridays during Lent is a huge challenge. Some find it challenging just to remember that it is Friday period. Most have difficulty remembering that it is a Friday, in Lent. That is, until after they bite into a big juicy burger.

This Lenten Season the Newly Feds are taking the meat-free-Friday challenge one step further. We have decided to give up meat. All meat. Even bacon. No meat for 40 days. Period. We are 16 days in and the withdrawal symptoms are coming on strong. It’s not that we need meat, its just that its so tasty. So far, the worst has been having brunch without bacon (really?) and grilling steak without being able to eat it. Other that that, so far, so good. We have been adapting old recipes and trying lots of new ones. All in all, we have eaten well and stuck to our guns. This challenge, though, requires a bit of creativity and that’s where wild rice comes in.

Ever been to Duluth, Minnesota? No? Why are we not surprised? Despite being covered in snow 363 days a year and having an average temp of 4, Duluth is home to some great food. Some of the best is found at a brewery and restaurant called Fitger’s Brewhouse. There, you can find one of the best burgers, meat or veggie, we have ever had. The folks over at Heavy Table have attempted to recreate this fantastic burger, and they are not far off. That said, the Newly Feds don’t follow directions very well and we added our own twists and sort of winged this one in places. Let’s be clear, though. You WILL NOT miss the meat…that much. While nothing beats a good old fashioned beef burger, this comes pretty close to taking the edge off.

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Vegetarian Wild Rice Burgers With Garlic Horseradish Mayo

Loosely adapted from Heavy Table. Makes approximately 8 burgers.

  • 1 12 oz package pre-cooked wild rice (found at Trader Joe’s)
  • 1 12 oz package pre-cooked brown rice (found at Trader Joe’s)
  • 1 cup diced fresh mushrooms (we used button, but portabella would be excellent here)
  • 1 1/2 cups HOT water
  • 2 vegetarian bouillon cubes
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • A few dashes (to taste) of each of the following: black pepper, onion powder, ground cayenne pepper, paprika, salt, and garlic
  • 1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • 3/4- 1 cup crushed saltine crackers
  • 8 good quality buns (we used Challah)
  • 8 slices sharp good quality sharp Cheddar cheese
  • Tomato slices (optional)
  • Several tablespoons of canola oil (for cooking).
  • 1/2 cup light mayonnaise
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1-2 tablespoons of horseradish spread


1. Cook both packages of rice, following package directions. Mix in a large bowl with the diced mushrooms. Cover and refrigerate overnight. This step is optional, but recommended.

2. The day of: Remove rice from the refrigerator. Take the hot water and bouillon cubes and mix until dissolved. Pour over the rice mixture and heat in the microwave until the rice is tender (approximately 5 minutes, depending on the power of your microwave).

3. Meanwhile, in a separate bowl, beat the eggs, and add the olive oil, and the seasonings. Mix well. Add the shredded cheese and mix to combine. Slowly, add the warm rice mixture, making sure the rice is not so hot as to curdle the eggs. Mix until combined. This mixture should still be wet. Add the crushed saltine crackers, a little at a time, adding enough crumbs until the mixture holds together loosely when formed into patties.

4. Heat a skillet, ideally cast iron, over medium-high heat. Once hot, add a small amount of canola oil to the pan. Form patties out of the rice mixture and place in the pan, being careful not to splatter the oil. We recommend cooking no more than three at a time. Cook for 3 minutes on medium-high heat. Flip with a pancake spatula and add a slice of cheddar cheese to the burger. Cook for an additional 3 minutes with a lid covering pan. Once done, remove the cooked burger and place on a plate lined with paper towels. Repeat for the rest of the burgers.

5. Serve burgers on the buns with lettuce, tomato and garlic horseradish mayonnaise (to make, mix the light mayonnaise, diced fresh garlic and horseradish).



Filed under Vegetarian Recipes