As regular readers know, Shabbos is one of the most challenging times for me for staying on track with my weight loss plan. I’ve been giving it a great deal of thought because it is very frustrating to be so controlled for most of the time and then set myself back. The key I think, is planning and preparation. So today, I started Shabbos prep a little earlier than usual, and a lot of it was mental preparation. I’d like to explain the challenges a little and perhaps my lovely readers can help me with some menu suggestions! You don’t need to be Jewish to answer, as I shall explain everything.
For Jews (such as myself) there are a multitude of laws (halachos) related to the observance of Shabbos and as part of them we are not permitted to cook from sunset on Friday until night fall on Saturday. So we have to have at least two proper festive meals – one at night and one in the day- but they have to be made in advance, and to complicate matters further, only dry food can be reheated. Wet food (e.g. chicken in gravy) can be heated before Shabbos comes in, and then kept hot for the nighttime meal. For lunch, wet foods (e.g. a stew or soup) can be cooked in a slow cooker from before Shabbos or dry foods (e.g. roast chicken without gravy, kugel, roast potatoes) can be reheated on a hot plate. This is obviously not a comprehensive guide to cooking on Shabbos, it’s all very complicated, but it is a brief introduction to explain the menu complications.
I find the issue of vegetables for lunch to be a tricky one, as I have found that if I make, say a big pan of roasted vegetables to reheat for lunch, when I take it out of the fridge to reheat it, loads of water will have seeped out of the vegetables, making it problematic to reheat. Cholent is a slow cooked stew, usually made with very fatty meat, barley, potatoes and beans. It is a traditional dish for Shabbos lunch because it works halachically. Personally, I don’t really enjoy cholent all that much, and depending on the meat it is really not very diet friendly. I’ve tried loading up the cholent with extra onions and carrots, but they are so overcooked by the time it is time to eat them, they just taste yuck.
Kugels are also very popular. They are loaves made from any combination of vegetables, potato and onion being the most traditional – like a giant hash brown essentially. They are often loaded with oil and sugar, e.g. a carrot kugel is basically carrot cake served as a side dish instead of a dessert, same goes for apple kugel. Because they are a dry food though they can be reheated and usually do reheat very well in terms of taste and texture.
In the summer, it’s salads all the way, and my Shabbos lunch menus are not such a difficulty but in the depths of winter who seriously wants to fill up on salads?
For this week I made a spinach kugel (recipe to follow), which is about 65kcal per serving, although perhaps the service is a little stingy and it is more like 130kcal a serving. I really want to have far lower calorie options than that though.
So here is the challenge, delicious healthy vegetable side dishes which are dry, and will stay dry in the fridge overnight or can be cooked for about 18 hours in a slow cooker without tasting revolting.
I await your brilliant ideas. Oh, one more condition, they must be non dairy.
Thank you in advance.
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