As a Catholic mom, I fast during lent and on Fridays by serving and eating meatless meals. I’m also dieting and have had success eating vegetarian. Rice is a great non-meat food source, but gets a bad rap for being high in starch and calories. Here are rice recipes that give you the most nutritional bang with the lowest caloric intake. I’ve written these recipes to meet other religious dietary restricitions. Recipes of Asia gives a guide. Islamic halal, non-kitniyot Jewish kosher. Kitniyot foods, like rice, are sometimes restricted by Jews, particularly Ashkenazi, during Pesach or passover. To observe kitniyot, quinoa could be substituted for rice. AISH says this is okay. These recipes follow eastern Ahimsa practices (except for the recipe with tuna). They can be made vegan by using soy for dairy or fish or by omitting. For all recipes, use brown or white jasmine rice (white has fewer calories).
* Lemon Meringue Rice: Sounds decadent but it’s super healthy takeoff on rice pudding. I was raised in a Dutch household where rice was a staple for every meal, including breakfast. Enjoy this recipe for a healthy, vegetarian jumpstart to your morning. Steam rice with chopped apples. I used raisins until I saw how many calories they contained! Add nutmeg, lemon curd (or lemon emulsion or juice) and vanilla to taste. Mix in 1-2 teaspoons diet butter per serving. Sweeten with 1 teaspoon honey, blue agave syrup or Splenda if you can stand it (I can’t). Top with plain non-fat yogurt sweetened with reduced-sugar lemonade.
* Tuna Rice Casserole: Steam rice in with sage, rosemary, celery seed and pepper. Make your own “cream soup” base as an alternative to the high calorie content of canned soup. Chop and add onions, green peppers and celery (my version of mire poix or Cajun “Holy Trinity”). Saute in a quarter-cup of extra virgin olive oil. Add reduced-fat cream cheese or ricotta. Simmer on low till melted. Add half a cup of grated parmesan cheese. Blend cooked rice, tuna (3 ounces per serving) and sauce. Bake 15-20 minutes to set. Garnish with colored peppers, fresh sage leaves or paprika.
* Squash Rice Tacos: Pare and cube butternut squash. Cook rice. Saute squash with water, two 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). Fill 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 80 calories without cheese and 100 with half an ounce. To make burritos, fill unbaked shells with squash, rice and cheese. Top with salsa or chopped tomatoes and bake. Add toppings.