I remember Lent growing up, and dishes during that time were usually rather bland and tasteless. I also recall my mother spending hours in the kitchen, trying to come up with meatless dishes that would appeal to her family. With the Lenten season upon us, I wanted to find quick, easy meatless recipes that my kids would like. I found more than I thought I would and decided to share my ten favorite recipes so you can try them, too.
Pumpkin and Sage Stuffed Shells
Who doesn’t love stuffed shells? This meatless spin on the classic Italian dish was an instant hit in my house. The only real question here is, to marinara or not to marinara? Personally, I skipped the sauce.
Meatless Baked Spaghetti
A throwback to the casseroles of my youth, meatless baked spaghetti is easy to make and absolutely delicious. Your kids can even get in on making it with you! Pair this with a simple side salad and some garlic bread for a complete meal.
Refried Bean and Guacamole Tostadas
Who says Mexican is off the menu? Tostadas, a crispy fried corn tortilla concoction, are incredible and easy to make with anything you like. For Lent-friendly tostadas, refried bean and guacamole is the perfect way to go.
Broccoli and Cheese Manicotti
Looking at this list, it’s obvious that I have a strong attachment to Italian dishes. Broccoli and cheese is one of my family’s go-to vegetable dishes. Just put it in some manicotti and smother it with marinara sauce, and you have heaven. Or something close to it, at least.
Roasted Veggie Pizza
Meatless doesn’t have to equate to “pizzaless.” And thank goodness for that, or I’m pretty sure my children would revolt. There’s nothing revolting about roasted veggie pizza, though! Any veggies you have on hand will work, although we went for a tomato, pepper, and cucumber combo, complete with a few mushrooms on one-half of it.
Mixed Vegetable and Farro SoupImage source: foodandwine.com
Rich, satisfying, and delicious, mixed vegetable and farro soup is perfect for Lent. You can even throw it in the slow cooker in the morning so it will be ready when you come home.
I missed the meaty goodness of lasagna during Lent as a kid, so I was ecstatic to come across a vegetable lasagna recipe in my hunt. I cheated and used a few pre-made ingredients, but shh! Don’t tell my kids.
The first time I ever heard of this dish, surprisingly, was watching a movie in which the characters made it. I looked into it and the rest, as they say, is history. Simply removing the traditional anchovies makes pasta puttanesca a hit in my seafood-unfriendly household.
Mac and Cheese Soup
I have never met a child who doesn’t like macaroni and cheese, and I’ve yet to meet one who doesn’t care for this soup version of it, either. Although I’ve been known to throw a few cut-up kielbasas into it, mac and cheese soup is scrumptious all on its own. I usually double up the recipe, as my kids will ask for seconds, thirds, and then more the next day.
Asian Tuna Lettuce Wraps
Although my family is fairly anti-seafood, we have come to love lettuce wraps. On a whim, I decided to give Asian tuna lettuce wraps a try. An explosion of taste, this ended up being my personal favorite dish on the list. For extra taste, you can add chopped nuts or even a little mint to the top.
Did you find any recipes on our list you want to try, or see any old favorites make an appearance? Lent is such an important part of the Christian calendar: a time to ready ourselves for the Holy Week and to reflect on our lives. Although you certainly don’t need to be a strict Catholic to try these recipes, they are an excellent way to keep the meatless traditions of Lent. Let us know what you think in the comments, and don’t forget to share this list with your friends.