(See below for a complete list of meatless / vegetarian / Lenten meal ideas, broken down by category.)
LENT BEGINS WEDNESDAY
Time to start planning some meatless meals, and not just Catholics because “our Church says so” on the Fridays in Lent, but because a little sacrificing now and then is good for the soul no matter what your religion…so try not to make anything too fancy!
Meatless meals are not just for Catholics or vegetarians, but for all of us who feel like something different, or who need a more budget-friendly meal now and then.
I have a great resource to share with you: a whole list of meatless meals that I refer to each year during Lent. My friend, Anne, sent an e-mail out a few years ago asking friends for ideas, and here are some of the responses she got:
MEATLESS/VEGETARIAN/LENTEN MEAL IDEAS
Egg based items:
- Check out these egg recipes from YOU
- Egg salad/Deviled eggs
- Zucchini Frittata Recipe
- Omelets (made with any and all veggies currently in the fridge)
- Quiches or cheese pies (Beats me what a cheese pie is – if you know, leave a comment please! I assume it’s another name for a quiche…?)
- Scrambled eggs and hash browns
- Egg sandwiches-like Egg McMuffins but no meat
- Over easy eggs with toast
- From Anne – fried rice: “we have a rice steamer and cook rice in large batches. When we have 3 cups of leftover rice (rice must be cooled, newly cooked rice won’t work) we heat olive oil in a large pan, put onions, peas, or whatever is in the fridge and rice in to pan. Heat them through. Then spread the rice to the outside of the pan leaving a hole in the middle. Put oil in the pan again, crack 1-3 eggs depending on amount of rice. Scramble them as they cook in the middle of the pan mostly away from the rice. When the eggs are pretty much cooked, spread them out throughout the rice and heat the entire thing.”
- Try this one without the chicken: Parmesan Pesto Pasta
- Butternut Squash Ravioli
- Super Easy Ravioli (compromise version), and this one is a Homemade 3-Cheese Garlic Tomato Ravioli
- 5-cheese lasagna recipe
- Pasta & Veggie Stir Fry
- Roasted Asparagus Lasagna
- My Mom’s Baked Mac & Cheese – or we also like this stove-top mac and cheese from Chef Michael Symon (obviously leave the bacon out for a meatless meal)
- Lyn’s Organic Fettuccine Alfredo
- Pasta with butter and fresh grated parmesan cheese, with homemade bread
- Calzones (made with cheese/veggie combo of choice)
- Spaghetti with meatless sauce
- Any Italian dish without the meat
- Meatless stuffed shells (Kelly’s note: the Boursin cheese in the above recipe is great in stuffed shells! I’ll use 3 boxes of that, a container of organic cottage cheese, 3/4 c. or so of shredded parmesan, & a small container of whole-milk Ricotta cheese. This is enough for 2-9×13′s full. I add plenty of my favorite sauce then mozzarella on top.)
- My newest Italian Stuffed Shells recipe
- Easy Red Sauce: Saute chopped onion and 2-4 cloves crushed garlic in a few tablespoons olive oil. Add one 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes, 1 T. basil, 1 t. oregano and about 1 t. salt. Simmer partly covered 30 minutes or so. Can add canned mushrooms.
- Spaghetti Carbonara: to one pound cooked spaghetti add 1 stick softened butter, 1/2 chopped parsley, 4 beaten eggs and 1/2 c. or more of parmesan cheese and freshly ground pepper. Toss and serve immediately. This recipe is actually made with crumbled cooked bacon. Replace 1/2 of the butter with bacon grease and crumbled bacon if it’s not a Friday in Lent.
- Vegetarian Lasagna: preheat oven 350 degrees, boil Lasagna noodles. In large Skillet, sauté 3 cups thinly slice mushrooms in oil, remove and set aside. Sauce: In 3 qt saucepan with 1 TBS olive oil, sauté 1 cup chopped onions and 6 minced garlic cloves. Add 1 1/2 cups tomato sauce, 1 cup canned Italian tomatoes with liquid, 1 tsp salt,1 tsp each oregano and basil, 1/4 tsp pepper and 1 bay leaf. Simmer, covered for 30 minutes. Filling: Mix 2- 10 oz frozen chopped spinach thawed and well drained, with 2 cups ricotta cheese, 1 beaten egg, ½ tsp salt, ¼ tsp pepper. Build lasagna: shred 11 oz monterey jack cheese. Layer 1: half spinach mixture, then half mushroom, then ½ cup tomato, then half monterey jack cheese. Layer 2: same as above. Bake 40-50 min until cooked through and cheese is light brown.
- Look through my index of Mexican recipes
- Cheese quesadillas
- Cheese enchiladas: roll sliced cheddar or colby cheese and lots of chopped onion in corn tortillas and place fold side down in a baking dish. Pour over a large can of enchilada sauce and more shredded cheese. Bake 350 about 15 minutes. I always serve pineapple with Mexican dishes. (This one was from Noelle D.) Kelly’s note: I’ve never looked for organic enchilada sauce, just make sure it doesn’t have MSG, trans fat, high fructose corn syrup, etc.
- Bean and cheese enchiladas: heat oil in a pan then one at a time dip 10 corn tortillas in hot oil just long enough for them to get soft. Place them on a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Pour enchilada sauce in shallow bowl. Dip the corn tortillas in the sauce and place in a 9 x 13 pan. Put refried beans down the center of the tortilla then sprinkle with cheese. Roll the tortilla up and place seam side down in the pan. After all enchiladas are in the pan top with the remaining sauce and sprinkle with more cheese. Bake at 305 for about 20 minutes. (This one was from Terry C.) Kelly’s note: use coconut oil (no flavor or virgin) for the tortillas, no unhealthy vegetable oils: corn, sunflower, soybean, cottonseed, canola/rapeseed, safflower. Make sure corn tortillas don’t have trans fat.
- More enchilada Hints from Anne: “take the corn tortillas and soak them for a minute or so in the enchilada sauce. Makes them softer and easier to roll. You can put any kind of shredded cheese inside (also ground beef, chicken, and/or refried beans). I like to sprinkle the top with cut green onions and cheese. This freezes and reheats well. To make your own enchilada sauce, use 1 c onion, 1 clove garlic, 2 T butter, 3 or 4 tomatoes (I use quart canned tomatoes and can of paste), 1 c tomato sauce, 1 tsp cumin, red pepper to taste, 1/2 tsp salt, ½ t oregano, ½ t basil.”
- Chips and cheese with a refried-bean dip
- Anne said they sometimes make a chip and dip bar. Cheese, bean dip, olives, sour cream, salsa, etc. and everyone gets some chips to dip. GREAT favorite.
Breakfast for Dinner:
- Pancakes with fruit (apples, blueberries, even chocolate chips?) (Healthy pancake recipe)
- Kids love French toast on nice thick homemade bread or French Toast Frittata!
- Waffles (Healthy waffle recipe…same as pancake recipe above!)
- Cheesy potato boats
- Kent’s Sicilian Summer Stew
- “Ketchup Soup” & grilled cheese sandwiches (or I want to try this version!)
- Cheese soup with warm homemade bread or with this beer bread!
- Lentils and rice, black-eyed peas and rice, spiced black turtle beans and rice…you get the idea. You can flavor these however you prefer: cumin and hot pepper, garlic and onion, thyme and oregano, tomatoes and garlic, green peppers and onion…(This one from Katheryn M.)
- Potato pancakes
- Homemade Cheese Pizza – lots of ideas/variations at this post.
- Garden Ranch Pizza from Colleen D.: mix together 1/2 c mayo (Kelly’s note: click here to see my homemade mayo recipe! Or click here for the only kind I buy) 1/2 package ranch seasoning (Use organic or else it will have trans fats and MSG – Simply Organic brand has one), & (2T)1 garlic clove. Preheat oven to 425. Roll out pizza dough on stone (homemade pizza dough is easy. Don’t use the pizza dough in a can! Those all still have major heart-killer trans fats!) Spread mixture evenly over dough to within 1/2 inch of edge. Top with 1 c. mozzarella cheese. Chop 1 c. broccoli, dice 1/2 red bell pepper, peel and cut 1 medium carrot, slice 1/2 c. pitted sliced ripe olives. Sprinkle all on top of cheese and dough. Top with another 1 c. mozz. cheese. Grate 1/4 c. parmesan over pizza.Bake 18-22 min, or until edges are golden brown. Cool a few min. before serving. Any other day of the week this is good with chopped cooked chicken or cooked ground beef in there also.
- Marshall Salad from Anne: “My kids love this and it’s even good left over. For summer we frequently eat just this salad. It’s a meal in itself. If it’s not Friday, add crumbled bacon. Fill bowl with romaine and then add lots of grated swiss cheese, toasted slivered almonds, parmesan cheese and chopped red pepper or cherry tomatoes. Combine 3/4 c. oil, 3 T. lemon juice and 3 cloves crushed garlic. Let stand 3 hours and then toss with salad.”
- “Baked potato bar is very yummy.” (Deb R.) – Topping ideas: meatless chili, shredded cheese, sour cream, tomatoes, salsa, pastured butter of course, broccoli, bacon bits (when it’s not Lent), chives, caramelized onions and/or garlic, homemade ranch
- Indian Eggplant Recipe from Sonia (Baingan Bhurtha) – A Vegetarian Recipe You Will Love!
- Broccoli cheese soup (the pic here isn’t great, but I’ve gotten SO many good comments on this recipe!) – or try cauliflower cheese soup
- Potato soup without the ham or bacon
- From David B.: (The idea every wife wants to hear…) “My bet is on the Fish Fry at Saint Alphonsus (or another local Catholic Church!), 224 Carrier NE in Grand Rapids – Best fish in town on a Friday night and great fellowship, too.”
HAVE ANY MORE GOOD IDEAS? LEAVE A COMMENT BELOW AND SHARE IT WITH THE REST OF US! COME ON, WE ALL GET SICK OF THE SAME OLD STUFF, PASS ALONG THAT RECIPE YOU’RE THINKING OF FOR YOUR FELLOW KITCHEN KOP READERS!
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