Part of the Catholic family’s dilemma every Lent is what to eat on Fridays. There are some who stay faithful to no meat every Friday throughout the year, but most need some great ideas to feed the family without breaking the bank and without being too extravagant, because, after all, it is supposed to be sacrificial. In my part of the country, we are landlocked, so seafood is kind of a delicacy and quite a splurge, to be honest. We also get overwhelmed with pasta dishes during this season, so here are some easy and faithful recipes of alternatives to fish and pasta for those Friday night dinners.
LENTIL Sloppy Joes
(AKA: “Snobby Joes”) I got this recipe from a fellow “Sista.” My beef eaters at home like these more than traditional ground beef sloppy joes.
QUINOA STIR FRY
• 2 stalks celery, chopped
• 2 cloves garlic, chopped
• 1 small onion, chopped
Sauté chopped celery, garlic, and onions until soft and add to quinoa before cooking. Make quinoa according to package, using vegetable broth instead of water.
• 1 medium onion sliced
• 1 red pepper
• 1 green pepper
• 1 C snap peas
• 1 C sliced mushrooms
• 1 can sliced water chestnuts
In a separate pan, sauté all vegetables until soft and cooked through. Serve over a bed of quinoa.
This is an easy one. Served with some beer bread, it makes a hearty meal.
• 1 ½ C red lentils, rinsed
• 2 celery stalks
• ½ chopped onion
• 2 minced garlic cloves (optional)
• 1 medium carrot, peeled and chopped
• 1 tsp oregano (or to taste)
• ½ C brown rice
• ½ cup chopped fresh parsley
• 1 cup chopped tomatoes
• 10 C vegetable stock
• Salt and pepper
Combine all ingredients in a large stockpot. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 45 minutes or until lentils are soft. Super easy and really good. It pairs well with most soups and stews.
• 3C SIFTED flour (make sure it is sifted or it’ll be a brick)
• 3 tsp baking powder
• 1tsp salt
• ¼ C sugar
• 1 ½ C (12oz) beer
Mix together and place in greased loaf pan. Pour ¼ – ½ C melted butter on top. Bake at 375° for 1 hour
SPINACH MUSHROOM SAUTE
This one is for mushroom lovers. It is a tasty meal or good as a side dish.
• 2T Olive oil
• 2 cloves of chopped garlic
• 12-16 ounces fresh baby spinach
• 1½ C Sliced baby portabella mushrooms
• 1½ C Sliced white mushrooms
• 1C fresh chopped tomatoes
• 3T balsamic vinegar
Sauté all ingredients together until soft and fully cooked; toss with balsamic vinegar, and serve on a bed of white or brown rice.
You can follow this recipe or make your own regular lasagna recipe, using sliced zucchini instead of lasagna noodles, minus the meat. Link found here.
STUFFED BELL PEPPERS
My mom used to make stuffed bell peppers when I was growing up, but this recipe is a variation without ground beef; feta cheese gives it a kick. Feel free to omit the green onions or sauté regular onions until very soft; then add them. My kids are opposed to onions, so I quite often do this in most recipes.
Lentils can be used in place of ground beef in many recipes, and this is one of them. I do not use the “adobo sauce,” salsa is a good substitute. Link found here.
There you have it. Good ideas for meatless dinners that do not involve seafood or pasta. We hope this makes your Fridays during Lent a little more interesting.
May your Lenten season bear fruit in your spirit and your journey bring you closer to our Lord.
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Charla is a life-long Catholic, married since 1995. She has three children who attend Catholic school and university. Charla has been teaching high school English literature at the same Catholic high school she attended for over 15 years. She has Bachelor of Arts degrees in English, Latin American Studies, and Secondary Education, as well as a Masters degree in Education. Charla has served as a lector and Eucharistic minister at her parish and school. She enjoys reading, cooking, running, and all activities involving her children. Her special devotions are to the Blessed Mother, St. Teresa of Avila, St. Catherine of Alexandria, and the Holy Rosary.