It’s Lent, which means that a lot of omnivores are keeping meatless Fridays, and some have given up meat for the whole six weeks. Daniel and I used to eat a lot more meat than we do now, and giving up meat for Lent in 2002 was one of the biggest steps in our journey. Since then, we’ve found more and more meatless foods to enjoy!
If you’re accustomed to having meat in every meal, it can be difficult to figure out what else you might eat, so we’re sharing two weeks of our family menu to give you some ideas!
UPDATE: Get more ideas from my article on Vegetarian Food from Around the World: Kid-Friendly Meatless Meals for Lent. Here’s the previous week’s menu, too. Our menu is for dinner only; for lunch, we eat leftovers or sandwiches.
- Sunday: spaghetti with Marinara Sauce.
- Monday: Tangy Honey-Apricot Tofu and Salty String Beans over leftover rice from last Friday. We used string beans that we’d frozen from last summer’s farm share, and they didn’t taste nearly as good as usual–maybe they’d been frozen too long, or maybe the recipe just doesn’t work with frozen beans; I don’t think we’d ever tried that before.
- Shrove Tuesday: pancake dinner at church. Our church always serves soy sausage as well as meat sausage, and we have lots of pancake toppings: thawed frozen strawberries and blueberries, applesauce, whipped cream, and chocolate chips, as well as the standard butter and syrup!
- Wednesday: frozen biryani from Trader Joe’s with cashew nuts added. This spicy rice-veggie-raisin dish in a bag heats up in a skillet in minutes, so it’s perfect for nights when you’re in a hurry. On this night, I got home from work only 40 minutes before we needed to leave for Ash Wednesday church.
- Thursday: ready-to-bake pizza from school fundraiser, and sugar snap peas (frozen) which are our six-year-old son’s current favorite vegetable.
- Friday: Cheesy Walnut Burgers on whole-wheat buns with tomato slices (pesticide-free USA greenhouse tomatoes were affordable and pretty tasty!) and yellow mustard.
- Saturday: Improved Pasta Salad made with sugar snap peas, brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, orange and yellow carrots, and kale.
- Sunday: Garlic Kale Sweet Potato Soup from the 365 Days of Kale site. I had been meaning to try this recipe for months, but I first saw it just after the season when sweet potatoes go on sale (late autumn). . . . Finally I decided to try it anyway, and wow, I’m glad I did! Daniel and I loved it, and Nicholas ate about half his serving before he decided he wasn’t really into it. I think I’ll use slightly more sweet potato next time, though. UPDATE: After the retirement of 365 Days of Kale, I posted my slightly evolved recipe for Sweet Potato Soup.
- Monday: canned baked beans, homemade cornbread (it’s easy!) with whole-wheat flour and hemp protein powder instead of white flour, and cantaloupe. On a whim, I had purchased two Honduran cantaloupes at a great sale price. They were not so good. Let that be a lesson to me to buy cantaloupes only when they’re in season near here! (Later, I learned why leftover cantaloupe should not be cooked.)
- Tuesday: dinner at Calvary Episcopal Church, which was hosting the East End Lenten Preaching Series and serving baked macaroni-and-cheese and salad.
- Wednesday: spaghetti again. It’s my favorite food!
- Thursday: I was at a meeting. The guys had mac-and-cheese from a box, sugar snap peas, and cantaloupe.
- Friday: African Curried Coconut Soup from a recipe I found online–I forgot to note the link, but it said the recipe was adapted from a cookbook called The Tropical Vegan Kitchen. This soup has garbanzo beans, red pepper (we used roasted red peppers from a GFS can I had divided into small bags and frozen), greens (we used kale), onion, and rice in a delicious broth with coconut milk and curry powder. Nicholas thought it was too spicy, but Daniel and I loved it! It’s substantial enough that it doesn’t need a side dish. The recipe makes so much that, after eating as much as two of us could hold, we filled 3 spaghetti-sauce jars with leftovers. Oddly enough, the alternate food Nicholas wanted was a Paneer Tikka Masala frozen meal from Trader Joe’s, which also is pretty spicy!
- Saturday: We had plenty of leftovers, so I put my cooking energies into baking 4 loaves of cranberry bread (using cranberries that had been in the freezer since last fall and orange peel that I froze last time I had an orange with a nice, thick, juicy peel) for upcoming breakfasts and snacks.