In order to stay full and still eat healthy during the nine days leading up to Tisha B’Av, when you don’t eat meat, follow the same guidelines that you would for a meat meal; nice protein-packed main dish, whole-grain side dish or small serving of carbohydrates and lots of green leafy vegetables. Yes, of course I also make salmon because it’s popular, affordable (kinda), and easy to make, but I additionally serve creative vegetarian dishes that are super flavorful and thus very satiating. Additionally I like to include new ingredients and flavors that make the dishes a bit more special. Try these options for the Nine Days and you may even add them to your rest of the year repertoire.

Miso Glazed Salmon

Serves 4

Miso is an awesome ingredient that is available in national markets with a hecksher. It’s made from soybeans, mixed with rice or barley then fermented. It’s highly flavor enhancing. It’s used in Asian foods and is packed with protein, vitamins and minerals. I use all varieties, white, red and brown, but they are strongest in flavor the darker the color. I use it in salad dressings, mixed in sauces and atop roasted chicken and vegetables. This is definitely an ingredient you should try.

  • ½ cup white miso paste
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 4 (6 ounce) salmon fillets, about 1-inch thick

In a large resealable plastic bag (like a zip-top plastic bag), mix together the miso, wine, and sugar. Mix it together at the bottom of the bag. Add the salmon fillets, and close bag with as little air as possible. Gently turn the bag to have the sauce coat the fish. Marinate for at least 4 hours and up to overnight.

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a sheet pan with foil and brush with a little oil or non-stick cooking spray. Remove fish from the marinade, letting excess drip, and place on the pan skin-side down (if fish has skin).

Cook on middle rack in the oven for 12 minutes (it will not be fully cooked). Remove from oven and preheat the broiler. Flip fish over and return to oven, about 4 inches from the broiler, and broil, until miso starts to bubble and brown a bit, about 2 minutes or until fish is cooked through. Note - if fish is browning too much, cover loosely with foil and continue to broil another minute or 2 to cook through.

Salmon Burgers

Serves 6

Canned salmon has all the Omega-3’s that fresh does and is so affordable that if made right, it’s a winner. These can be made with tuna too, but I like the flavor combination with salmon best. Don’t be afraid of the chilis in this recipe, it just gives it loads of flavor and not that much heat. Serve with a zesty coleslaw, or a traditional one, pickles, and some baked fries.

  • 2 tablespoons light mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
  • ½ red bell pepper, finely chopped
  • ½ small red onion, finely chopped
  • ½ cup corn kernels, frozen (thawed) or canned (rinsed)
  • 1 tablespoon canned green chilis, minced (more if you like heat)
  • 1 ¼ cup panko bread crumbs
  • 3 cans (5 ounces each) boneless, skinless, salmon, drained
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • Buns, optional
  • Sauce
  • ½ cup nonfat plain greek yogurt, mayonnaise or sour cream
  • ¼ cup chopped chives
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

For the burgers: Whisk mayonnaise, lime juice,egg, soy sauce, cayenne and salt together in a medium bowl. Add pepper, onion, corn, and chiles and combine. Add panko and stir. Gently mix in salmon.

Divide mixture into 6 equal parts and shape into a ball, then pat into a 3-inch diameter patty, about 1-inch thick.

Heat oil in a cast iron or heavy bottom skillet over high heat. When pan is hot, reduce to medium, and add patties. Cook until golden brown on the bottom, 2 - 3 minutes, then gently flip with a spatula and brown the other side, an additional 2-3 minutes. Transfer to a paper lined plate.

For the sauce: Whisk yogurt, chives, and Worcestershire sauce in a small bowl.

Serve burgers on a toasted bun with sauce.

Crustless Spinach and Mushroom Quiche

Serves 8 - 10

This quiche is both adult and kid friendly. I like cooking the vegetables separately before adding them to the egg mixture because the flavors are more enhanced in the overall dish. The combination of cheeses (and feel free to substitute others), makes it rich and creamy. Omitting the crust makes it a bit more guiltless.

  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cups sliced mushrooms
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 (10 ounce) packages frozen, chopped spinach, thawed, drained
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup milk
  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 ¼ cups shredded mozzarella, divided
  • ½ cup grated parmesan cheese or other shredded cheese, like cheddar, or pepper jack, divided
  • ¼ cup herbed goat cheese, or Boursin cheese, optional

In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook until translucent and softened. Add mushrooms, spinach and garlic and cook for an additional 4 minutes.

In a bowl, whisk eggs, milk, mayonnaise, flour, salt, pepper, and 1 cup mozzarella cheese and ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese. Add onion mixture, with as little liquid as possible, and gently mix it all together.

Grease an 8 x 8 square or round baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. Pour mixture into dish. Sprinkle with remaining mozzarella, grated Parmesan, and crumbled goat cheese on top.

Bake for 30-45 minutes or until puffed in center and tester comes out clean.

Black Bean and Butternut Squash Enchiladas

Serves 6

This is a flavor packed, protein rich, vegetarian dish that’s filling and fresh tasting. I’m a big fan of Mexican food and this simplified version is perfect for a busy summer night.

  • 2 cups cubed butternut squash (fresh or frozen)
  • 1 (15.5 ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 tablespoons butter, softened
  • Zest of 1 lime
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 8 corn tortillas
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can crushed tomatoes or fire roasted diced or crushed tomatoes in can (my favorite)
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 jalapeno, seeds and membranes removed
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese (about 8 ounces)

Preheat oven to 350°F.

In a medium saucepan, combine squash with enough cold water to cover by about 1-inch. Gently boil until tender, about 6 minutes. Drain squash and return to pot. Add beans, butter, and lime zest. Mash until a bit chunky, then season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

Spread tortillas on a sheet pan and warm in oven until heated through, about 4 minutes, they should be soft not crisp.

Prepare the tomato sauce: In a medium bowl, combine the tomatoes, oil, hot sauce, smoked paprika, honey, water and lime juice, and season with a little more salt and pepper.

Lightly cover a 9 x 13 baking dish with some of the tomato sauce. Dip each tortilla in the tomato sauce, then spoon about ⅛ of the bean mixture into the tortilla and roll it up. Arrange the filled tortillas in the baking dish, seam side down, cover with remaining tomato sauce, and top with cheese. Bake for 25 minutes. Cheese should be bubbly and melted, serve warm.

Sicilian Eggplant and Tomato Rigatoni with Ricotta

Serves 6

Upper Crust is a local restaurant in Cedarhurst that my kids love. I’m not a big pasta eater but cannot resist the one they make like this one. This is my version of it, with hopes they will one day share the authentic version they make (anyone know the owner? HELP!). The eggplant is first sauteed to soften and flavor it and the fresh tomatoes and basil give it Italian authenticity. Season with salt and pepper as you go, to keep building and enhancing the flavors.

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for greasing
  • 1 pound rigatoni
  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium eggplant, cut into 3/4-inch dice
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 4 large tomatoes (2 pounds), cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • ½ cup canned crushed tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup fresh basil, sliced thin
  • 1 cup fresh ricotta cheese, divided
  • 3 ounces fresh mozzarella, shredded (1 1/2 cups)
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Butter a 9-by-13-inch ovenproof baking dish. In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook the rigatoni until al dente, about 8 minutes. Drain, then transfer to a large bowl. Toss the pasta with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil.

Meanwhile, in a large nonstick skillet, heat 1/4 cup of the olive oil. Add eggplant and season with salt and pepper. Cook over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Add the eggplant to the pasta.

Heat remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil. Add the onion to the skillet. Cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the onion is lightly golden, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, tomatoes, crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, and crushed red pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until they have broken down and thickened to a sauce consistency, 7 to 8 minutes. Add salt and pepper. Stir in the 4 tablespoons of butter.

Add the tomato sauce to the pasta and eggplant. Stir in fresh basil and ½ cup of the ricotta cheese. Transfer the rigatoni to the prepared baking dish. Top with remaining ricotta, the mozzarella and Parmesan cheese and bake for about 20 minutes, until bubbling and golden on top. Let the pasta stand for 10 minutes before serving.