Today, February 17, marks Ash Wednesday and the start of the season of Lent. This signifies the beginning of a 40-day commemoration of the Passion of Christ, and a few weeks of prayer, reflections, and other Lenten practices— such as fasting and abstinence.
Fasting and abstinence are two practices where Catholics decrease their food intake for the 40-day season and avoid certain food items. During fasting, people aged 18 to 59 will have to eat only one full meal and two small meals throughout the day. While for abstinence, those who are 14 to 59 years old will have to avoid meat (beef, pork, chicken, turkey, etc.) on Ash Wednesday and all Fridays of Lent. (Read: What’s the Difference Between Fasting and Abstinence?)
These well-respected traditions make it tricky to plan meals throughout the season, especially because you can only eat fruits, vegetables, and fish within 40 days! That’s why My Pope Philippines is helping you with your meal planning woes by providing a 7-day plan that uses little to no meat so you can lessen the stress of eating this Lenten Season.
Lenten Meal #1: Seafood Lasagna
Seafood lasagna is the Lent-friendly version of the pasta favorite lasagna. It makes use of shrimp and crabmeat as the ‘meat’ rather than ground pork. It’s not just safe to eat during Lent but also delicious— just as good as the traditional lasagna. Plus, seafood lasagna is easy to make which makes it even more enticing to cook!
Get the recipe here.
Lenten Meal #2: Eggplant Parmigiana
Parmigiana is a dish that is made of eggplant layered with parmesan cheese and tomato sauce— much like lasagna sans the pasta. For those who are conscious when it comes to their carb intake, this dish is perfect because there is no pasta included. Catholic vegetarians can also eat this, as long as they substitute the cheese with a vegetarian- or vegan-friendly ingredient. (Read: 5 Vegetarian and Vegan Restaurants That Deliver Food at Your Doorstep)
Find the recipe here.
Lenten Meal #3: Salmon Casserole
Salmon casserole is a full meal in itself because it has protein, carbs, and vegetables. Plus salmon has healthy fats and is a good source of potassium and vitamin B, making it a great option for those who are health conscious. This dish is easy to prepare— it only takes about 10 to 15 minutes— and the result is just mouthwatering!
Try it for yourself here.
Lenten Meal #4: Fish and Chips
Fish and Chips are a menu staple in western restaurants, but even fast-food chains nowadays create their own version of the classic dish especially during the Lenten Season. But why not make it at home on your own so you can cook it based on your preference? Fish and chips are delicious, easy and quick to make, and are loved by everyone, even kids! So this is the perfect dish for you to cook at home this Lent. (Read: San Miguel Releases First-Ever ‘Plant-Based’ Food Packs)
Follow this recipe for fish and chips.
Lenten Meal #5: Portobello ‘Steak’ Sandwich
You might be wondering why there are quotation marks around the word steak in this dish. The answer is because it actually doesn’t have steak in it, but there is a steak taste you’ll get to savor! This dish uses portobello mushrooms which are known for its beefy taste and texture, even if it isn’t actually meat. This sandwich also has onions which add more flavor to the sandwich.
Find the recipe here.
Lenten Meal #6: Shrimp Salad
For anyone who doesn’t eat carbs, this shrimp salad is perfect for you. It makes use of a variety of vegetables and greens, enabling you to get your daily dose of veggies while also providing you with protein from the shrimp. You can also make or use your favorite dressing for the salad! (Read: Wow, This Plant-Based Lechon Belly Is Worth Trying!)
Follow the recipe here.
Lenten Meal #7: Chickpea Potato Curry
Fans of curry can celebrate because they can *technically* still eat curry even during Lent. They can do this through this chickpea potato curry dish! It uses chickpea, a kind of legume that is high in protein and is a signature ingredient in some cuisines. This dish also has potatoes for added flavor and nutrients, which you can use as your carbs or still pair with rice!
Get the recipe here.