Delicious Lenten Foods

Island Epicure

The six weeks of Lent feature fasting from animal foods, but not from good eating, and not from good nutrition. A yummy pairing of grains and beans creates complete protein and a helping of magnesium in a dish to satisfy an artist’s eye.  Magnesium is a mineral that the average.

American’s diet  notoriously lacks.  The USDA recommended intake of magnesium is 320 milligrams (mg for short) for women age 31 or over,  420 mg for men of that age range, 360 mg for girls 14-18, 410 mg for boys 14-18 years old,   400 mg for men 19-30,  for babies 6 months old, 30 mg, 12 months old 75 mg, and for little kids of one  to three years 80 mg,  four to six years old, 130 mg. Seven to fourteen years old, sliding up to 240 mg.
Plainly, my  Nutrition Almanac is giving us averages. People of any age come in many different sizes, nutritional levels, and tasts. Also, we don’t get much good out of, say an “average” parsnip’s 67 mg of magnesium unless we pair it with some food that contributes calcium. Magnesium and calcium work together to the advantage of both. Almonds are a good example. They give us almost equal amounts of magnesium and calcium. Another example: cooked navy beans provide 95 mg calcium and 107 mg magnesium. Quinoa yields 102 mg calcium, but a hefty 357 mg magnesium.

Rice gives you little of either mineral, but it pairs well with beans to form a complete protein.

Here is a main dish for Lent that uses navy beans. Steve and I like it,and I trust you will, too.

4 servings
½ cup red rice
1 ½ cups chicken broth
Cook in covered  rice cooker or saucepan until grains are soft, about 40 minutes.  Meanwhile, in a skillet, stir-fry until soft and shiny:
1 cup chopped onion
½ bell pepper, any color, chopped
¼ teaspoon dried thyme
2 cups cooked navy beans
Dash red hot pepper flakes
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 bay leaf, optional

Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer 15 to 20 minutes. When rice is done, stir it into the skillet. Remove from heat. Discard bay leaf if you’ve used it. Transfer ro a serving bowl.

If not keeping a strict lent, you might improve the flavor and nutrient content of this dish by sprinkling on top:
1/2 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese