Recipe ideas for the Nine Days, a time when we refrain from eating meat and chicken, can be challenging for families that prefer a “meat” meal. With so many vegetarian and vegan diets today, the options are not limited to pizza, pasta and salmon. I work on creating wholesome and filling dinners choices that do not leave you feeling heavy and stuffed like some of the traditional dairy options. These recipes are all simple and delicious. Try these fish and vegetarian ideas during the nine days and who knows you might add them to your weeknight repertoire.

Mexican Quinoa Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

photo from simplyquinoa.com

Serves 8

This recipe is the perfect mix of tangy and sweet. It’s super filling and packed with superfoods. You can double the recipe too.

  • 4 large sweet potatoes
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 chopped bell pepper
  • 1 cup corn (can use frozen or fresh)
  • 1 cup of cooked quinoa
  • 2 cups canned black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 tablespoon chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

Optional toppings:

  • Guacamole, melted cheddar cheese, tahini, hot sauce, or sour cream

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Rinse sweet potatoes and prick sweet potatoes with a fork all over. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 40 minutes, until softened but still holding shape. Cool slightly.

While the sweet potatoes are roasting heat the oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the onions and peppers and sauté until tender, about 5 minutes. Add corn, quinoa, black beans and spices and cook, stirring about another 5 minutes.

Slice sweet potatoes in half. Then take a knife and make a slice the long way loosening the flesh. Top with the quinoa mixture. Add any toppings and enjoy!

One Pot Shakshuka with Chickpeas

photo by thepetitecook.com

Serves 5 - 6

Breakfast is by far my favorite meal of the day and I’m all for having it for dinner too! This can be made with or without the chickpeas and replaced with quinoa, farro, rice or potatoes as well.

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 red onion
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 handful fresh basil leaves (or 1 teaspoon dried basil)
  • 1 handful fresh parsley (or 1 teaspoon dried parsley)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ½ cup canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (14 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 4 large eggs

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Heat a large oven-safe skillet or cast-iron skillet over medium high heat. Add oil. When oil is hot, add red onion and bell pepper and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, paprika, cumin, oregano and salt and pepper and cook until warmed through, about 1 minute. Add crushed tomatoes and reduce heat to simmer for about 5 minutes. Add chickpeas and continue to allow the mixture to simmer for another 3-4 minutes. If the mixture gets too dry you can add a little water as needed. With the help of a spoon make a hole in the middle of the mixture, making space for the eggs. Crack eggs into small individual bowls and gently drop into holes.

Place the shakshuka in the oven rack for about 5-8 minutes depending on how runny you prefer your eggs. Remove from oven and sprinkle fresh basil and parsley over mixture. Enjoy with delicious bread.

Zesty Lemon Herb Baked Flounder

Photo by goodhousekeeping.com

Serves 5-6

This is a great fish alternative to salmon. It has a milder taste and is less fishy. I serve this with angel hair pasta, rice or roasted potatoes and broccoli.

  • 2 lbs of flounder filets
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 2 medium lemons
  • 1 lemon, sliced thin
  • 3 tablespoons butter or olive oil
  • ½ cup of breadcrumbs
  • ½ cup chopped fresh parsley

Preheat oven to 400°F.

In a 9x13 pan arrange flounder filets in an even layer. Season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle top with minced garlic, zest of both lemons, breadcrumbs, and butter or olive oil. Slice one lemon and place on top and around flounder. Roast in the oven 12 to 15 minutes, until the fish is opaque in the center. Once cooked remove from oven and garnish with fresh parsley.

Italian Pasta Salad for Summer

Photo by pinchofyum.com

Serves 8 - 10

This salad is a summer staple and can be served with a light fish and fresh corn for the perfect summer dinner. For those gluten free or low carb you can make this recipe with gluten free, brown rice, chickpea, lentil, quinoa, or black bean pasta.

Dressing:

  • 1 cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup red wine vinegar
  • ¼ cup water
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil and dried oregano
  • 1 box pasta, any shape
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes cut in half
  • 10 ounces fresh mozzarella chopped in small cubes, or feta cheese
  • ¾ cup kalamata olives, chopped
  • ½ small red onion, sliced thinly
  • ½ cup fresh parsley chopped

In a small bowl or jar with a cover, whisk dressing ingredients until fully combined.

Cook pasta according to package directions. Rinse with water and place in a large bowl. While pasta is still warm, pour on desired amount of dressing. When fully cooled, add cherry tomatoes, cheese, olive, red onion and parsley.

Salmon with Pistachio Pesto

photo by rachaelrayeveryday.com

Serves 4, can be doubled

Nutty and fresh, this salmon is a showstopper everytime. I love the vibrant color and the taste is even better. I like the combination of parsley, parmesan, and pistachios, it’s naturally salty and rich. I make this all year round. The salmon can also be broiled, roasted, grilled or poached in this recipe.

  • 1 large bunch flat-leaf parsley, stems removed
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese, optional
  • ¼ cup shelled pistachios, lightly toasted
  • 5 – 6 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, divided
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ¼ –1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter or oil
  • 4 (7 ounce) pieces salmon fillet

In a food processor, pulse the parsley, cheese, pistachios, 4 tablespoons lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper until finely chopped. With the machine running, stream in the olive oil and process until a pesto forms.

Season the fish with a little salt and pepper. In a large nonstick skillet or cast-iron pan, heat butter/oil until hot. Add the fish and cook undisturbed for about 3 minutes to form a little browning on top, flip and cook on the other side until opaque, about 4 more minutes. Drizzle with remaining 2 tablespoons lemon juice.

Serve salmon with pesto.