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Seafood and vegetarian recipes for Lent

Michele Borboa, MS is a freelance writer and editor specializing in health, fitness, food, lifestyle, and pets. Michele is a health and wellness expert, personal chef, cookbook author, and pet-lover based in Bozeman, Montana. She is also...

Mouthwatering & meat-free

If you are among the millions of people observing Lent - starting February 17 this year - and planning on meat-free Fridays, sink your teeth into these seafood and vegetarian recipes.

Shrimp Pocket

Going meat-free is good for your health

Did you know that a flexitarian diet – a diet that includes both vegetarian recipes and meat – has been proven to be a healthy move, even if you avoid meat one day a week? The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health recently released the findings of a study which concludes that eating a full day of vegetarian meals just once a week can reduce the average intake of saturated fat by up to 15 percent. This can also dramatically reduce the risk of heart attacks, strokes and cancer. In addition, flexitarians weigh 15 percent less, live 3.6 years longer than meat-eaters and flexitarianism is also eco-friendly.

For more information on flexitarianism, read The Flexitarian Diet – Being vegetarian & carnivore.

Opt for succulent seafood

Fit seafood into your Lenten season and reap the many health benefits fish and shellfish have to offer. In addition to being chockfull of omega-3s (fatty fish like salmon and tuna or tilapia) or lean and low in calories (shrimp and crab), seafood is easy to incorporate into your diet, particularly during the Lenten season. Experts recommend two servings of fish per week – try Fish Fridays or Shrimp Sundays during Lent and then make it a weekly habit for the rest of the year and beyond.

Or go meat-free with vegetarian dishes

The health benefits of a balanced plant-based diet are unquestionable, and many people chose to give up meat for Lent as a way to go vegetarian and improve their diets. You can eat vegetarian throughout the Lenten season or you can join the Meatless Monday movement and simply eat vegetarian every Monday of every week. Meatless Monday is a national health campaign in association with the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health to help Americans prevent heart disease, stroke, diabetes and cancer - four of the leading causes of death in America

Seafood recipes for Lent

Make your Fish Fridays and Shrimp Sundays (or seafood dishes any night of the week) an easy endeavor by taking advantage of the growing selection of frozen seafood in your supermarket's freezer aisle. Not only does frozen seafood make getting your meals on the table convenient, it is quite economical. Keep your freezer stocked and a succulent seafood meal is only minutes away. Don't believe it? Try the following seafood recipes, courtesy of SeaPak, a leader in the frozen seafood industry.

Shrimp Pockets

Serves 4

Ingredients:
1 (12-ounce) package frozen SeaPak Shrimp Scampi – Butter and Garlic
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/3 cup chopped fresh basil
2 Roma tomatoes, chopped
4 tablespoons grated Parmesan, divided
1 pound frozen pizza or bread dough, thawed according to package directions

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Coat a large baking sheet with cooking spray. Prepare shrimp according to package directions. Halve shrimp crosswise and reserve scampi sauce in skillet for later use.

2. Transfer shrimp to a large bowl and add mozzarella cheese, basil, tomatoes, and 2 tablespoons of Parmesan. Set aside.

3. Divide dough into four equal pieces and roll each piece into a ball. Roll each ball into a 6-inch round. Mound 1/4 of the shrimp mixture onto half of each round, leaving one side untopped.

4. Fold over untopped side of dough, covering the filling and making a half moon. Pinch the edges together to seal and transfer pockets to prepared baking sheet. Brush the surface of pockets with some of the reserved scampi sauce, keeping remaining sauce for dipping.

5. Sprinkle remaining Parmesan over top. Using a sharp knife, make a few slits on the top of each pocket. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until golden brown. Cool 5 minutes before serving.

Sunshine Tilapia Salad with Dijon Dill Dressing

Serves 3

Ingredients:
1 (14-ounce) package SeaPak® Tilapia Tenders
1 bag of mixed salad greens
2 roma tomatoes, diced
1 avocado, cubed
2 carrots, shredded
1/2 cup light mayonnaise
1/2 teaspoon dried dill
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoons lemon juice
3 tablespoons water

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Place the frozen tilapia tenders on a baking sheet and bake according to the package instructions.

2. To make dressing, add mayonnaise, dill, Dijon, lemon juice and water together in a small bowl. Stir well to incorporate. Place bowl in the refrigerator until ready to use.

3. Assemble salads in three bowls , tossing together lettuce, diced tomatoes, avocado cubes, and shredded carrots.

4. Cut fully cooked tilapia tenders into bite size pieces and place over salads. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons of Dijon Dill dressing and serve immediately.

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