Featured Kid-Friendly meatless Recipes — 12 February 2016


Explore the world through new flavors and help fight world hunger.

By: Jodie Shield, RDN

Mardi Gras feasting is officially over. Got any fasting plans for Lent? Check out CRS Rice Bowl and discover how what you give up for Lent can change lives. You and your family can transform your meatless Friday meals into an international dining experience and fight world hunger. Once again, CRS is offering five simple, easy-to-prepare, meatless recipes from countries around the globe and inviting everyone to donate the savings from not eating meat – about $3 per person per meal – to help feed our brothers and sisters in need around the world. Each global kitchen recipe features an inspiring cultural story of a person from the country where the recipe originated, along with how-to tips from CRS volunteer families who prepared the recipes.  There’s also a free app available for you to quickly download the recipes, track your meatless meal savings, read daily reflections, and much more.

For the past four years, I have been analyzing the recipes for CRS Rice Bowl and this year’s recipe lineup offers a tasty eating adventure. Each Friday during the 40 days of Lent, I will be sharing one the Global Kitchen recipes from Colombia, Laos, Rwanda, Honduras, and Madagascar. And if you purchase my app Time To Eat Healthy, I will be donating all of the profits made during Lent to CRS Rice Bowl. This week’s Friday menu comes from Colombia:

Cheese Empanadas wit Beans 

6 – 8 servings

Preparation time: 30 minutes

Cook time: 20 minutes



2 cups flour

2 tablespoons vegetable shortening

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 cup cold water mixed with 1 teaspoon salt

12 ounces queso fresco or farmer’s cheese, shredded

4 tablespoons fair trade olive oil


2 (16-ounce) cans of kidney beans, drained

1 onion, diced

1 red bell pepper, chopped

1 teaspoon cumin

Cilantro (for garnish)


  1. Mix flour, shortening, baking powder and salted water in medium-sized bowl. Knead until combined.
  2. On floured surface, form dough into a roll. Cut into 6 to 8 equal pieces. Flatten each piece into a circle about 5 inches in diameter.
  3. Place about a tablespoon of cheese on one half of the circle and fold the other half of the dough over the cheese, making sure to seal cheese inside.
  4. Add oil to large pan and heat until very hot. Place one empanada in the pan. Once the bottom is browned, turn over to cook the other side. Remove from pan and place on paper towel to absorb extra oil. Repeat with other pieces of dough.
  5. To make the beans: In separate pan, sauté onion and bell pepper with oil. Add beans and cumin until warm. Garnish with cilantro.

Nutritional Information per serving (with beans):  480 calories,  20 grams protein,  52 grams carbohydrate,  21 grams fat,  7 grams saturated fat,  29 milligrams cholesterol,  8 grams fiber,  936 milligrams sodium

Need another international meatless meal recipe? Check out this video for West African Stew from Niger!

Note: CRS (Catholic Relief Services) is the official international humanitarian agency of the Catholic community in the United States. The agency alleviates suffering and provides assistance to people in need in 100 countries, without regard to race, religion, or nationality.

Related Articles


About Author


Jodie Shield, M.Ed., R.D., L.D.N. Jodie Shield has been a consultant and spokesperson in the field of nutrition for over two decades. A former national media spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association (1989-1995), she has worked extensively with the Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke’s Medical Center and taught nutrition and medical dietetics at the University of Illinois. Currently she is a complemental faculty member of the College of Health Sciences in the Department of Clinical Nutrition at Rush University in Chicago.

(0) Readers Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *