#MeatlessMonday: Tasty Recipes That’ll Make You Forget About Meat

Life & Love | Gerren Keith Gaynor | 12/16/2013 | 02:30 PM EST

Meatless options never looked so good

Haven’t joined the Meatless Monday bandwagon as of yet? Fret not. Centric’s got it all covered. Transitioning into a meatless diet, even if just for one day out of the week, can be intimidating. Many people are skeptical of having a meal without meat, but medical experts say it could do a world of good for your health. So why not give it try? Check out these tasty recipes to get you started.

Hungry Mack ‘Bella Stack Burger

For the sauce:

1 1/2 tbsp. fat-free Thousand Island dressing
1 tsp. finely minced onion or 1/2 tsp. dried minced onion
1/8 tsp. granulated white sugar
1/8 tsp. white wine vinegar

To complete the sandwich:

2 Portobello mushroom caps
1 1/2 small light hamburger buns (1 top and 2 bottoms)
1/4 cup shredded lettuce
1 slice fat-free American cheese
1 tbsp. diced onion
3 hamburger dill pickle chips

Directions: In a small bowl, thoroughly mix sauce ingredients. Bring large skillet sprayed with nonstick spray to medium-high heat. Place mushroom caps in the skillet, rounded sides down. Cover and cook until soft, about 4 minutes per side. Spread one bottom bun with half of the sauce. Top with 2 tbsp. lettuce. Top with cheese and 1 mushroom cap, and sprinkle with 1/2 tbsp. diced onion. Spread remaining half of the sauce on the other bun bottom, and place it on the sandwich, sauce side up. Top with pickle chips and remaining 2 tbsp. lettuce. Top with the remaining mushroom cap and remaining 1/2 tbsp. onion. Add the bun top.

***

Black Bean Burrito

2 (10 inch) flour tortillas 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 small onion, chopped
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 (15 ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 teaspoon minced jalapeno peppers
3 ounces cream cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

Directions: Wrap tortillas in foil and place in oven heated to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Bake for 15 minutes or until heated through. Heat oil in a 10-inch skillet over medium heat. Place onion, bell pepper, garlic and jalapenos in skillet, cook for 2 minutes stirring occasionally. Pour beans into skillet, cook 3 minutes stirring. Cut cream cheese into cubes and add to skillet with salt. Cook for 2 minutes stirring occasionally. Stir cilantro into mixture. Spoon mixture evenly down center of warmed tortilla and roll tortillas up. Serve immediately.

***

Vegetarian Four Cheese Lasagna

2 cups peeled and diced pumpkin
1 eggplant, sliced into 1/2 inch rounds
5 tomatoes
1 pint ricotta cheese
9 ounces crumbled feta cheese
2/3 cup pesto
2 eggs, beaten
Salt and pepper to taste
1 (15 ounce) can tomato sauce
Fresh pasta sheets
1 1/3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Place pumpkin on baking sheet and roast in oven until browned and tender, about 30 minutes. Grill eggplant on a charcoal grill or fry in a skillet, turning once, until charred and tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Halve tomatoes and place on baking sheet in oven for last 15 min. of pumpkin time; cook until tender and wrinkly. In a medium bowl, stir together ricotta, feta, pesto, eggs, salt and pepper until well mixed. Fold roasted pumpkin into ricotta mixture. Spoon half of the tomato sauce into a 9x13 baking dish. Lay two pasta sheets over the sauce. Arrange a single layer of eggplant slices over pasta and top with half the ricotta mixture. Cover with two more pasta sheets. Arrange roasted tomatoes evenly over sheets and spoon the remaining half the ricotta mixture over the tomatoes. Sprinkle with half mozzarella. Top with remaining two sheets of pasta. Pour remaining tomato sauce over all and sprinkle with remaining mozzarella and Parmesan. Bake in preheated oven 30 to 40 minutes, until golden and bubbly.

(Photo: Susan Tusa/Detroit Free Press/MCT/Landov)

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