Meat Free Monday #4 & #5: White Bean Shakshuka & Pumpkin-Sage Pasta

Between school, my fitness motivation, and now general crappiness I feel likely thanks to my endometriosis… I got a little behind on my MFM updates. So I’m going to try to squeeze in last weeks and this weeks in one update.

Week #4
For breakfast, yet again it was another shake. I don’t think I’ve had any other breakfast since starting this. We had a busy day on campus with a faculty candidate visiting, so I went with an Amy’s frozen meal for lunch. This one has always been one of my favorites. Though, I maybe snarfed this down pretty quickly. By the time dinner came, I wasn’t quite sure what to make. I was going between a few recipes, and finally settled on this Smoky White Bean Shakshuka from Budget Bytes. I’d never had shakshuka before, but I’m all about some breakfast for dinner. It’s got North African Arabic roots, but a lot of recipes now will associate it with Israel (or sometimes, Palestine). What I can say, though, is there is a sort of perfectness in the simplicity of the flavors. I cannot wait to make this again! (Recipe at the bottom)

Week #5
Bet you can’t guess my breakfast… Yep. Shake. Eventually I might have to get another flavor. Never thought I’d get a little tired of chocolate. For lunch, I made something my mom’s loved for a while and is essentially the only things she gets at Panera: a hummus and veggie sandwich. However, it’s not so easy making a veggie sandwich when, oh say, you don’t like the texture of raw tomatoes or you get unpleasant, yet different, bodily reactions to things like mushrooms and bell peppers. It cuts down your options a lot. So for mine, I used some sandwich slims (though pita would have been good), spread on my hummus on both sides, and then sliced up some cucumbers and carrots. And that was it. It was good. And basic. But, you know, worked. Maybe next time I’ll add some grilled zucchini and spinach. I’ve looked at a lot of recipes for this challenge, and for dinner I decided to try one I’d put on the back burner for a while. I made this Quick Pumpkin-Sage Pasta from NY Times Cooking. I’m not going to retype the recipe here, since I really didn’t make too many changes. I used ground sage, and accidentally too much, rather than whole sage. Oh, and added some milk to the sauce. And added a ton of parmesan cheese to make up for the extra sage. It was warm, it was hearty, and now I have a ton of leftovers.

Going forward…

I don’t think I’m going to continue fully with the Meat Free Monday plan. I am, however, going to continue adding meatless meals throughout the week. It was a fun challenge, but just the whole day thing didn’t quite work out well for me. I am appreciative that this made me mindful of my food choices and kind of got me out of this rut of thinking I always need animal proteins for most of my meals (especially dinners). I had kind of gotten into a food funk, so I’m very happy his helped shake me out of it.


Shakshuka with White Beans

A savory and hearty meal perfect for any time of the day

  • olive oil (to coat pan & onions)
  • 1/2 onion (diced)
  • 1 can tomatoes ((I prefer crushed))
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 can white beans ((I used Great Northern Beans))
  • garlic
  • 1/2 tbsp paprika
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • red pepper flakes
  • parsley
  • parmesan ((or feta!))
  1. Saute onions (and whole sliced garlic if that’s what you use) in oil until translucent. Helps to use a deeper skillet for this recipe.

  2. Add the canned tomatoes, crush if you’re using anything but crushed tomatoes. Add in the garlic, paprika, cumin, oregano, and red pepper flakes. Stir so it’s well mixed. Salt & pepper to taste. Let simmer and stir occasionally.

    *If you haven’t noticed by now, I typically don’t measure out my spices and just go “to taste” — however, I put the original recipe’s measurements so you could see the ratios I keep in mind when I made this.

  3. Drain the beans and add to the skillet, again, mix well. Simmer for a bit longer.

  4. Crack the eggs into the mixture and allow to poach in the tomatoes. Cover and continue to cook for another 5 or so minutes. Cook until the whites of the eggs are fully cooked and set, and the yolk is to your liking.

  5. Top with cheese and parsley and enjoy! Crusty bread or toast goes well with this to mop up the sauce.