Leah is a follower of the 21-Day Fix. She works in mental health.
I grew up in a kosher household. We have separate dishes for meat and dairy, and we don't mix the two in our house. However, being kosher in America (most parts, at least) makes it very difficult to eat at a restaurant—especially at an Italian restaurant. So, the unspoken rule in our house was that it was okay to eat non-kosher food, as long as it was out of the house. That's how I know how amazing an Italian dish that pairs mozzarella cheese with chicken or beef can be.
I love Italian food. The bold, zesty flavors paired with cheese are an incredible combination. But if I want to have a protein-packed meal, it's difficult to incorporate cheese and keep it kosher. I use Gardein products in my cooking at least once a week. They provide protein and a flavor that is as close to beef as I can get without using actual beef. Many of the products are vegan and gluten-free, and the best part is that they are kosher!
This is where my creativity comes in. It allows me to cook meals that have similar flavors to non-kosher restaurant foods, while still keeping a kosher kitchen.
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- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, for the skillet
- 1 zucchini, diced
- 1/2 box whole wheat rotini
- 1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
- 1 (13.7-ounce) package Gardein beefless ground
- 1 (14-ounce) can or 1 package sliced mushrooms, optional
- 1 cup part-skim mozzarella, shredded
- 1/2 teaspoon Himalayan or sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 1 teaspoon crushed garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon basil
- Crushed red pepper flakes, to taste
- Prepare the pasta according to the directions on the box.
- Put the olive oil in a large skillet, and sauté the zucchini over medium heat until it begins to soften. If you're using fresh mushrooms, add them about 2 minutes after the zucchini.
- Add the Gardein beefless ground to the skillet, stirring frequently until it is heated through (about 5 minutes).
- Add the mushrooms (if you're using fresh), diced tomatoes, garlic, salt, pepper, oregano, and basil. Mix well and continue to cook over medium to medium-low heat until everything is hot.
- Top the pasta with the veggies, and then add 1/4 cup of mozzarella cheese to each serving.
- Add some crushed red pepper flakes (if you'd like), serve, and enjoy!
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21 Day Fix Container Counts
If you're following 21 Day Fix, the container counts for this recipe are:
- 1 yellow container
- 2 green containers
- 1 red container
- 1 blue container
This recipe can be quickly modified to save time. I work full-time as a therapist, and some days I don't have the energy to stand over a stove and cook. Some days, it's just too hot. I like to cook meals that will have leftovers, so I don't have to prepare a lunch the next day. Some ways that you can save even more time with this are:
- Cooking extra pasta. I came up with this recipe because I had cooked way too much pasta about a week ago. I threw the pasta into a big Ziploc bag and put it in the freezer. I didn't have to microwave it—I just put two servings of pasta into a colander and ran some hot water over it. Presto—pasta in under a minute!
- The leftover veggies and Gardein also freeze well. I put the other servings into another Ziploc bag, and into the freezer it went. This way, I have pasta AND the toppings ready to go in minutes the next time I don't feel like cooking.
- Prepping the zucchini beforehand is another time-saver. I often buy fruits and vegetables, wash them, and cut them up right away so I can just grab them and start cooking.
- Crushed garlic can be found in a jar in the produce section of your local supermarket. This makes it much quicker to prepare this meal, rather than having to crush the garlic myself.
- My favorite time saver: Meals that only use one pot or pan. I hate washing dishes with a passion!
Tweak This Recipe to Meet Your Needs
This delicious, healthy recipe can be easily tweaked to accommodate a variety of dietary restrictions and preferences.
- Gluten-free. Just make this with gluten-free pasta. There's a lot of different kinds out there, and some of them are REALLY GOOD! It can also be served over rice.
- Low-carb. Swap the pasta for cauliflower rice. This sneaks an extra serving of vegetables into the meal as well.
- Meat eaters. If you aren't kosher, you can make this with ground turkey, beef, pork, or veal. If you are kosher and prefer the real deal, just leave off the mozzarella.
- Vegan or dairy-free. Skip the cheese, or use your favorite dairy-free substitute.
- Swapping out whatever vegetables you have on hand. I don't eat onions, but those could be a great addition to the meal (if you like that sort of thing). If you don't have zucchini, try spinach, broccoli, or asparagus. Or basically any veggie that you like and have handy.
Tag me in your creations—I'd love to see your creativity! Just use #leahskosherfix.
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© 2018 Leah