Hello all! Thank you for visiting my little blog 🙂
Lent is the time of year where Catholics and other Christians around the world go into a what you could call a “spiritual hibernation” period: a time for repentance, prayer and penitence. Starting on Ash Wednesday and lasting for 40 days, not including Sundays, Lent is one of the times during the year when the Catholic Church spiritually prepares for the biggest celebration in the liturgical year, the resurrection of Christ on Easter Sunday. Lent is the time when luxuries, indulgences, and vices are given up and spiritual reflections, self-control, and selfless acts are encouraged. Fasting and penitence are required during this time in order to reflect on Christ’s Passion and Resurrection as well as to observe the 40 days Jesus spent in the desert doing just that: praying and fasting.
The practices have changed and developed throughout the years and they currently vary from country to country, and from Eastern to Western rites within the Catholic Church, but the basic guidelines for Roman Catholics in the United States, as stated by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, are as follows:
“Ash Wednesday and Good Friday are obligatory days of fasting and abstinence for Catholics. In addition, Fridays during Lent are obligatory days of abstinence.
For members of the Latin Catholic Church, the norms on fasting are obligatory from age 18 until age 59. When fasting, a person is permitted to eat one full meal, as well as two smaller meals that together are not equal to a full meal. The norms concerning abstinence from meat are binding upon members of the Latin Catholic Church from age 14 onward.”
Ash Wednesday was on March 1st and Easter Sunday is on April 16th this year, that is 2 days of fasting (Ash Wednesday and Good Friday) and 6 Fridays of meat abstinence. Not that I’m counting but, at 1 full meal and 2 small meals per fasting day and 2 full meals and 1 small meal per abstinence day, that is a total of 14 full meals and 10 small meals without meat in a short 40-day period. Vegans/ Vegetarians and people who normally do not consume meat definitely have an advantage during this season, but if you’re an ordinary chicken tender lover like me, it can be a bit hard to come up with just over 20 meals that do not include meat without eating exclusively fish for every one of them. Here’s where my old friend Pinterest comes to the rescue. Pinterest has been a great ally every time I’m experimenting in the kitchen. Instead of endlessly browsing through the world wide web, I can “window shop” in Pinterest since I can see pictures of the finished product before even reading the title of the recipe.
These are some ideas to get you through these abstinence and fasting days without ending up hating fish. You may use these as inspiration and create your own versions or simply follow through with them, always keeping in mind not to indulge since the motive behind these restrictions is to get us to focus more on our spiritual battles and Christ’s redemption.
By the same token, you do not need to be Catholic or even Christian to enjoy some yummy meatless meals! You may include them in your weekly meals as part of Meatless Mondays or just to change things up.
It is worth noting these are all recipes for meals that I love eating myself (except one, keep reading to find out!), recipes I have tried and that there is no association whatsoever between me and these blogs. So without further delay, here are 10+ meatless recipes and ideas for lent that are not only fish.
White rice, black beans, and a fried egg is my absolute favorite meal in this world (yes, I do really love it that much). This a little twist on the classic Cuban meal using cilantro and lime in the rice. Don’t forget the fried egg 😉
I love pumpkin so when I discovered its much softer cousin the butternut squash I fell in love ❤ Make sure to pure the steamed squash enough before adding any liquid so avoid getting stuck with a chunky soup unless you prefer chunky soup of course.
I told you I loved butternut squash. I also love guacamole and tacos so this works great. I would probably skip on the beans, just because I’m weird, and add lettuce and tomatoes. But you can get as creative as you please 😊
Even though French Onion Soup is originally made with beef stock, substituting it with vegetable stock will yield an evenly delicious result.
8. Lentil Chili
This is great as a small meal or you can make it a full meal by adding…
These are seriously great! You can also try looking for the Red Lobster’s dry mix at your supermarket (Most Publix have them)
11. Caramelized Onion Grilled Cheese Sandwich
Onions and I have had a rough relationship through the years. I used to HATE them when I was younger and now I LOVE them, in limited quantities. But they will definitely give a great upgrade to a simple grilled cheese sandwich. Just get your favorite bread, any ‘melty’ cheese like mozzarella, add the caramelized onions and assemble! You can press the sandwich in a panini press, on a skillet with some butter, or on a toaster oven. Anything really works!
12. Morning Star Veggie Burger
The brand Morning Star Farms have great frozen veggie burgers (my favorites are the Spicy Black Bean and the Garden Veggie) that can be easily made into a great meatless meal just by adding your favorite burger toppings. Find them in the frozen section of your supermarket.
And last but not least….
Yes, you read right. Beer! In the 17th Century, Catholic German monks went through all 46 days of lent without having a single bite of food and drank beer instead. This may sound like the dream but don’t be fooled! They drank what is nowadays known as a bock beer, a very malty and rich beer that was considered “liquid bread” by the monks. This is the only thing I will not drink (eat?) from the list since I don’t like dark beers, but if you’re like my boyfriend and one of your favorite beers is Guinness, this could be a great small meal since you will feel full and all the carbs will get you going for some time. Just make sure not to indulge, a beer is great for lent, ten is not. You can check out the Top 5 Bock Beers for Lent and Wikipedia’s list of bock beers to get you started on your search.
May you have a blessed Lent.
For more information about what Lent is you can go here.