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getting ready for Lent- I've stocked up on lentils...what are your favourite recipes?

Anybody else giving up meat & dairy for Lent?

I've got a collection of vegetarian and fish recipes, but I was wondering if any of you have favourite recipes that you like to serve during Lent. Especially one-pot meals like lentils, etc.

So far, I've made a black bean, tomato and coconut milk stew with ginger that turned out pretty good.

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  1. I'm considering giving up meat, although I've never tried giving up dairy yet. Tonight I'm having spanokopita!

    4 Replies
    1. re: coolbean98

      Beware, my Dad gave up meat one year ... it seemed such like a good idea, but 40 days is a long time. On Easter he eagerly bit into some roast lamb, and discovered he just didn't like the taste any more! Or any type of meat either, despite many attempts to go back.

      Nothing wrong with being a vegetarian, except now we all have to make 2 versions of dinner when he comes over :)

      1. re: mstrimel

        Oh no!! Your dad must have been really dedicated! I've given up meat a few years, but my birthday almost always falls during lent (or even on Easter) and it ends up being a big cheat day for me, so if I've ever come close to giving up meat (gasp!) I'm sure that reeled me back in. :o)

        Oh, and St Patrick's Day. What an ill-timed holiday that is!

        1. re: coolbean98

          I usually give up drinking to some extent. But I make exceptions for St Paddys Day, my anniversay and birthday, both in April, if need be. Let's call them Holy Days of Non-Obligation. Although if my anniversary falls on Good Friday (happens alot), I'm good on that day! I do a lot of fish for myself, at least every Friday, and tuna casserole or fried flounder for my husband, but that's just what we did growing up.

        2. re: mstrimel

          I lost my taste for chicken, beef & pork after giving up meat for Lent a few years back, and ended up becoming an ovo-lacto-pescatarian for about a year or so.

          Last year, after giving up just meat & poultry for Lent, I ended up really craving lamb by the time Easter came around, and ended up eating more meat than usual for the rest of 2006..resulting in a significant, unwanted weight gain :(

          We'll see if I lose my taste for anything this time...if only I could lose my taste for full fat cheeses and sweets.

      2. I like this one for a vinegar-y lentil salad


        but it is better with the green french lentils. Good warm or cold.

        1 Reply
        1. re: JGrey

          Thanks for the link! The lentil salad looks really good!

        2. I like the Deborah Madison recipe for Moujadahra (sp?)...just lentils, rice, deeply caramelized onions, olive oil, and pepper. But so good! Great with a crisp salad, cucumber with a lemony dressing, something like that. If you need the recipe paraphrased, let me know.

          4 Replies
          1. re: prunefeet

            Please do! I love that stuff, but have only ever gotten it from the Middle Eastern markets. I'd love to have a recipe.

            1. re: Allstonian

              Sorry I keep forgeting when I'm home, I will get to it this weekend!

              1. re: Allstonian

                Ok, here it is:
                Deborah Madison's Mujadarrah, from "Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone", paraphrased:
                Heat 6 Tablespoons of olive oil (don't skimp on olive oil) in a large skillet over medium heat. Add one very large onion, sliced 1/4" thick, and cook, stirring often, until they are a dark rich brown. This takes some time, watch the heat. Put 1 1/4 of brown or green lentils in a pot with a quart of water and 1 teaspoon of salt, and bring to a boil...simmer 15 minutes. Add 3/4 cup of rice and lots of pepper, and add water to cover if necessary. Cover and simmer over low heat until rice is done, about 15 minutes. Stir in half of the onions, then cover and let stand off heat 5 minutes. (I just put all the onions in at once). Serve with the remaining onions on top. Again, this is good with a crunchy, acidy salad, like cucumber with lemon,, something like that.

              2. re: prunefeet

                That sounds interesting- I'd like the recipe paraphrased. Thanks!

              3. I'm a vegetarian after I gave up meat for Lent (that was 1994). I haven't given up dairy for Lent but I did give up white sugar.

                * Pizza with lots of veggies but no cheese (my personal favourite is artichoke, black olive, roasted red pepper and spinach). Btw, making individual pizzas is excellent if your spouse hasn't given up meat/dairy for Lent.
                * Pasta primavera (whole wheat pasta), lots of veggies and a tomato sauce.
                * Burritos with pinto beans, spanish rice, sauteed peppers/onion, lettuce, black olives, salsa, etc. etc. etc.
                * Vegetarian Hoppin' Jack
                * Quinoa salad - cook and cool quinoa, add veggies, nuts and a vinaigrette.
                * Cuban black beans over rice
                * Garlic hummus on Ryevita paired with some marinated veggies
                * Stir-fried veggies over quinoa or whole wheat couscous

                My best advice is to keep a well stocked pantry so that when you find that *stellar* recipe online, you can run to the kitchen to make it. Also, play with oils (might want to get a mister) to find out which ones work best in a particular dish (I stick with olive and canola for cooking, I have specialty oils for dressings, etc.) Keep nuts and seeds handy for snacking (and for throwing in salads). Experiment with vinaigres, peppers, onion and garlic.

                When you start to eat meat again - go slowly to avoid getting sick (your system won't be used to it). Good luck to you!

                1 Reply
                1. re: librarian

                  Thanks for your suggestions...very helpful.

                  Not sure if I'll start eating meat again after Easter, but I'm pretty sure I'll be craving the dairy....

                2. I just made this yesterday. Stellar

                  Wheatberry Lentil Soup

                  1 ½ c. green or brown lentils, washed and picked over
                  4 c. vegetable broth
                  4 c. cold water

                  Place lentils in 4-quart stockpot, add broth and water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until lentils are tender, 25-35 minutes.

                  4 carrots, peeled and finely chopped
                  1 large onion, finely chopped
                  ½ t. salt
                  ½ t. fresh ground pepper
                  2 T. olive oil

                  Heat oil in sauté pan. Add carrot, onion, salt and pepper and sauté for approximately 15-20 minutes over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Vegetables should be tender, slightly browned. Then add the following:

                  4 cloves garlic, minced
                  1 ½ t. ground cumin

                  Sauté for about 30 seconds to one minute, Turn off heat.

                  When lentils are tender but not mushy, add 1-1 ½ c. cooked wheat berries** and about two cups of rough chopped fresh chard or fresh spinach. Heat through until greens are wilted. Add in carrot mixture. Add in 3 T. fresh squeezed lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste.

                  Serving size: 1 2/3 cups. Calories per serving: 250. Fat: 8 g (1 g sat, 5 g mono) O mg cholesterol, 36 g. carbs, 9 g. Protein, 9 g fiber, 617 mg sodium, 433 mg potassium. Extra nutrition: fiber, vitamin A, folate, vitamin C and Iron

                  **Plan ahead. Wheat berries need an hour minimum to cook, sometimes as much as an hour and a half, but when cooked they freeze well for a month. Pick and sort 2 cups of wheat berries, put them in a large saucepan with 1/2 t. salt. Bring to a boil, turn down the heat, cover and simmer until tender. Spread on a cookie sheet to cool, then freeze in one cup increments. Yield is about 5 1/2 cups. You could also skip the berries altogether and the taste of the soup would be fine, but the nutritional POW would not be as high.

                  1. Thanks for the wheatberry lentil soup recipe...I've used wheatberries in cuccia and salads, but not in a soup before. Sounds delicious!

                    1. Well, this doesn't address the dairy part, but a dish I fondly remember from the Lents of my childhood is hardboiled eggs in cheese sauce, served over toast. Comfort food.....!

                      1. I've never heard about giving up meat and dairy for the entire Lenten period. Usually meat is not eaten on Fridays only, after Ash Wednesday.

                        Here's a recipe for a fish stew that is very tasty and very simple to make:

                        2 large baking potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch slices (I leave the skin on)
                        2 medium red bell peppers, cored, seeded, and cut into 1/2-inch-thick wedges
                        5 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
                        1 small jalapeno or other hot chili pepper, quartered and seeded
                        Salt, to taste
                        1 1/4 to 1 1/2 pounds white fish fillets (sole, halibut, or cod)
                        1 tablespoon sweet paprika
                        3 ripe tomatoes, coarsely chopped
                        1 cup chopped fresh cilantro or parsley
                        1 cup water
                        1/3 cup olive oil
                        Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

                        1. In a large, flame-proof casserole or Dutch oven, set the potato slices on the bottom. Scatter the bell peppers, garlic, and jalapeno pepper on the potatoes. Sprinkle with salt. Place the fish on top and sprinkle it with paprika and salt and pepper. Add the tomatoes and cilantro or parsley.

                        2. Pour water in at the edges. Sprinkle the top with oil and sprinkle generously with Kosher salt and pepper.

                        3. Set the pan over high heat, cover, and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat slightly and simmer for 25 to 30 minutes or until the vegetables are tender and the fish is cooked through. Check the pan after 20 minutes; if there seems to be too much liquid, uncover the pan for the remaining cooking time. Serve hot or warm with crusty bread, if desired.

                        1. This is one of my tried-and-true meatless meals:

                          Oven Baked Split Pea and Lentil Soup

                          2 32 oz. containers low sodium chicken broth
                          1 cup dried split peas
                          1 cup dried lentils
                          4 carrots, diced
                          4 celery stalks, diced
                          1 medium red pepper, seeded and chopped
                          1 large onion, chopped
                          2 bay leaves
                          1/2 tsp salt
                          1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
                          1 tsp black pepper

                          Combine all ingredients in a Dutch oven. Cover and bake at 350 for 2 hours or until peas and lentils are tender. Discard bay leaves before serving.

                          I like to serve it with this:

                          6 oz. plain yogurt
                          1 crushed garlic clove
                          1 small cucumber, peeled and chopped
                          salt and pepper to taste
                          drizzle of extra virgin olive oil

                          Combine all ingredients and put a dollop on top of each bowl of the soup.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: rmperry

                            To be truly meatless, vegetable broth could be used instead of chicken broth.
                            This is a recipe I will definitely try....

                          2. This is an awesome recipe for Pasta Fagioli Soup (just omit the bacon or pancetta) bet it still will be awesome. I use the herbs themself rather than a sachet.


                            My absolute favorite stir fry vegies is with "Braggs Liquid Amino" (find at all health food store or a lot of grocery now). It's like soy but much healthier and tastier. Saute and put over a good brown rice or coucous or quinoa. Also, same saute makes an awesome mushroom burger (no meat at all).
                            Just slice up mushrooms, saute in this Braggs. Pile up mushrooms, shredded carrots, sprouts and a good guacomole. Season with "Spike" seasoning - sooooo awesome!!! You'll never miss a burger again.

                            1. iam a big fan of a stew with lentils. just about any good beef stew with lentils will peek my interest. also, lentils with carrots and kasha and, simmer in a little chicken stock is a great meal for a veg. my mom used to make it.
                              i went to wilderness and ate plain lentils for 65 days, so i never want to see one again.
                              One Love

                              1. Indian cooking uses lentils extensively. One of my favorites is Palak Dal, which is lentils with spinach. In the version I use, cook the lentils with onion, garlic, ginger, and spices to taste, add spinach at the end just until wilted. I also like to add caramelized onions with the spinach. Serve with minced ginger, chopped cilantro, chopped jalapeno, crispy fried shallots, yogurt or sour cream (if not avoiding dairy) etc. for diners to add as they wish.

                                1. Lentil and chestnut soup. Really delicious and totally vegetarian.


                                  1. Diet for a Small Planet has a lovely recipe for lentil curry with cauliflower and peas, served over brown rice.

                                    1. This year I'm going to try a couple of recipes from Orthodox friends using dried salt cod (aka baccala) - including perhaps salt cod fritters and also the recipe for shrimp-stuffed cabbage that I think ran last in the NYT food pages.