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Lenten Meals

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For those of you observing Lent, what are some non-meat meals that you typically eat on fast days?

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  1. For tonight's meal, Ash Wednesday, I'm doing a tofu and broccolini dish from Ottolenghi's "Plenty" cookbook, stir-fried bean sprouts from Fuchsia Dunlop's "Every Grain of Rice", and either simple steamed jasmine rice or spicy buckwheat noodles. Can't decide on which. Generally though, I make either a macaroni, seafood, or vegetarian meal on both Wednesdays and Fridays. There are so many grains, legumes and pulses available that not cooking meat is very easy these days. Plus, it's healthier. I use lots of root vegetables and whatever green leafy vegetable is available.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Gio

      I had never thought of a baked macaroni for Lent. Probably because I normally put some kind of ham in it.

      Of course, macaroni and cheese hardly seems like a sacrafice.

      1. re: jpc8015

        Oh no, no meat sauce at all for us. I usually make a simple arrabiatta or marinara w/o meat or seafood. Aglio e oilo with anchovies and crushed red pepper flakes is in a class of it's own.. not baked, but made stovetop and enjoyed tremendously.

        There are many meatless pasta dishes to be found on the net...
        putanesca, carbonara, cacio e pepe, gricia, etc. I make them all w/o meat. Not terribly traditional but very tasty indeed if well seasoned.

    2. I used to be vegetarian and was vegan for a year or two also. I tend to fall back on favorites from that time. Basically veggie sandwiches or an assortment of veg side dishes served together as a meal. Stir fry with rice, bean salads, the typical breakfast fare minus the sausage or bacon. Hummus and pita of course, horiatiki salad, felafel and if we eat out I usually order fish.

      1. tuna salad; egg salad; black bean tostadas; potato tacos; cheese enchiladas; fish burritos and/or tacos; ww pasta w/marinara; baked eggplant; black bean and corn salad; green bean and tomato soup; hummus; babaganouj; cheese; cottage cheese; yogurt; vegetable soup; stuffed zucchini; mushroom omelet; tomato soup and cheese quesadilla

        1. When I was a kid it was always "Yellow Dinner". Kraft Mac N Cheese, scrambled eggs, and canned corn.

          I think I'm making fish tacos with rice and vegetarian refried beans.

          4 Replies
          1. re: chileheadmike

            When I was a kid it was Mrs. Pauls fish sticks, macaroni and cheese and stewed tomatoes

            1. re: cgarner

              I went to Catholic school. They served stewed tomatoes seemingly every day. I love tomatoes but cannot look at a can of those things.

              My sympathies.

              1. re: chileheadmike

                I have an aversion to stewed tomatoes now too, my mom would actually open the can, put it in a pot and add a big heaping spoon ful of white sugar while heating them up
                I litterally just shuddered thinking about that

              2. re: cgarner

                Same meal in my house growing up - where did this magic combo come from?

            2. I tend to make large stews or casseroles that keep well in the fridge or freezer for fasting days. Since they are the one collation for the day, I try to make them as nutritious as possible with enough protein to keep me going. Among my favorites are oden, red curry, tofu and kimchi stew, mapo tofu, curried chickpeas, foul mudamas, soyrizo casserole, Ethiopian greens with cottage cheese; occasionally I'll make something simple and hearty, but not necessarily virtuous like spanakopita, pickled herring smorrebrod, or tuna casserole.

              On Fridays I usually take the time to prepare something fresh for dinner. Stir fried noodles with spicy shrimp, baked fish with tahini, pan-seared fish with Grenoble sauce, shrimp etouffee, roasted eggplant omelettes, cod cakes, Cantonese steamed fish, etc. And of course you've got to have fish sticks every now and again.

              1 Reply
              1. re: JungMann

                I personally think that fish sticks caused the reformation. Historians have other theories. . .

              2. As kids we typically had pizza or fried flounder with macaroni and cheese.

                1. There is more variety than you would initially think. Under the original dietary restrictions, whale, porpoise, seals, and otters were all considered fish and perfectly acceptable.

                  How times change:)

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: INDIANRIVERFL

                    I don't think the inclusion of fish (and these 'fish' like creatures) was in the original. Coptic Orthodox Lenten diet is essentially vegan, and Eastern Orthodox (Greek, Russian) is nearly as strict (shellfish are ok). Fish is ok on feast days during Lent, and during lesser fasting periods such as Advent (the 40 days before Christmas).
                    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fasting_...

                  2. The correct answer is, as always, pirohy.

                    the potato, cheese, onion variant.

                    1. Pan Bagnat, described by Calvin Trillin as a large sturdy bun holding "a damp mélange of canned tuna and chopped onions and lettuce and tomatoes and olives and hard-boiled eggs." Anointed with further Olive Oil. Julia Child and Jacques Pepin have a good model to followin their "Cooking at Home" book.