Food Notes: Tasty recipes for meatless meals during Lenten season

Amanda M. Rye

The annual wassailing of the apple trees at Terhune Orchards is one more event that could have been a casualty of the COVID-19 pandemic. But you don’t have to miss out on the festivities thanks to the inventive ideas of the owners who have made it possible to celebrate virtually or in person at the farm in Lawrence.

The orchard traditionally stages the wassail event amid its oldest apple trees each winter, with dancing, music and cider-soaked bits of bread to thank the trees for the last harvest and bless them for the next one. Based on an ancient British custom that is designed to help keep them safe from evil spirits, it’s a bright spot during the cold winter months.

For a virtual celebration visit the website, to watch a celebratory video with Terhune staffer Elaine Madigan. Alternatively, visitors can come to the farm in person during regular hours and hold their own celebration. Those visitors can bring noise makers and generally raise a ruckus to scare off the evil spirits. They also can sing the wassail song and recite the Orchard Blessing; both are posted amid the trees.

For more on wassailing at Terhune, see the website

Virtual healthy eating workshop

Local healthy lifestyle consultant Kendra Thatcher will lead a digital workshop, “Personal Assessment: Healthy Eating for Every Lifestyle” at 1 p.m. March 13 via Grounds for Sculpture in Hamilton.

Billed as a down-to-earth and sustainable approach toward improving their relationship with food at all stages of life, the workshop gives participants the opportunity to assess their personal health, environment, eating habits and culture.

The workshop is $25 for members and $35 for nonmembers. For information and to sign up see the website

New date for market

Inclement weather canceled last Thursday’s Princeton Farmers Market.

The outdoor market, held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at 46-80 Franklin Ave. in Princeton, has been rescheduled for tomorrow, Thursday, Feb. 25. The March markets will be held on schedule on the 4th and 18th, weather permitting.

The Princeton market has vendors offering produce in season, meats, eggs, poultry, cheeses, pies, quiches, olive oils, baked goods, pickles, soaps and honey. Some vendors encourage ordering ahead of time for pickup during market hours. See the website for connections to vendors.

The market follows state protocols for wearing masks and maintaining social distancing.

Other markets observing winter hours include the Stockton Market in Stockton (, the Trenton Farmers Market in Lawrence ( and the West Windsor Farmers Market ( held outdoors two Saturdays each month.

Puff Pastry Baked Eggs

This recipe from the spice experts at can help add color and flavor to a meatless meal during the current Lenten season and beyond.

  • 1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed (half of 17.3-ounce package)
  • 1 small yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 cup chopped bell pepper
  • 1 cup asparagus pieces, (1-inch pieces)
  • 2 teaspoons oil
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 4 eggs
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place thawed pastry sheet on lightly floured surface. Cut into 4 squares. Place squares on one side of large, shallow baking pan sprayed with no stick cooking spray. Prick top of pastry squares all over with fork. Set aside.

2. Toss vegetables with oil in large bowl. Sprinkle with Italian seasoning, Parmesan cheese and salt; toss again to coat well. Spread vegetables on other side of pan next to the pastry squares. Bake 10 minutes or until puff pastry is lightly browned. Remove pan from oven.

3. Make an indentation with back of large spoon in center of each pastry square. Place vegetables evenly around indentations, making sure to cover edges of pastry squares. Sprinkle squares with mozzarella cheese. Break an egg into each indentation. Sprinkle with crushed red pepper.

4. Bake 10 to 15 minutes longer or until eggs are softly set.

Spinach Lasagna

Whether you are observing Lent or avoiding meat for any other reason, this simple recipe from is filled with flavor and nutrition. Make your own Italian tomato sauce or pick up a couple jars at the supermarket.

  • Italian tomato sauce
  • 1 package (16 ounces) lasagna noodles
  • 2 containers (15 ounces each) ricotta cheese
  • 1 package (8 ounces) shredded mozzarella cheese (2 cups), divided
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
  • 1 package (16 ounces) frozen chopped spinach, thawed, drained and squeezed dry
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon parsley flakes
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

1. Prepare Italian tomato sauce.

2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cook pasta as directed on package. Drain and rinse with cold water. Lay flat on wax paper or foil to keep noodles from sticking together. Set aside.

3. Mix ricotta cheese, 1 ½ cups of the mozzarella cheese, ¼ cup of the Parmesan cheese, spinach, eggs, parsley, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper in large bowl.

4. Spread ½ cup of the sauce onto bottom of 13×9-inch baking dish. Top with ¼ of the noodles, overlapping edges. Spread 1/3 of the cheese mixture over noodles. Top with 1 ½ cups of the sauce. Repeat layers two more times, ending with a layer of pasta and 1 ½ cups of the sauce. Cover with foil.

5. Bake 40 minutes. Remove foil. Top with remaining ½ cup mozzarella cheese and ¼ cup Parmesan cheese. Bake 10 minutes longer or until center is heated through. Let stand 15 minutes before cutting. Serve with remaining sauce, if desired.

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