Lent Dinner Ideas

by Julie Hampton

Lent begins on Ash Wednesday and is celebrated by Christians as the time of Jesus' 40-day struggle through the desert and wilderness without food or water. Lent ends with the celebration of his resurrection. The period is a time of discipline, and many Christians do not eat meat on Fridays during Lent. Lent is also a great time for those who are not Christian to still celebrate a form of sacrifice by enjoying meatless dishes. Here are five creative lent dishes to enjoy:

Baked Potato Bar

Serve baked potatoes with a variety of toppings. Freshly chopped tomatoes, grated cheese and cold sour cream are perfect toppings for potato eaters. A side salad complements this light dinner meal.

Soup and Crackers

Heavy soups can still have plenty of flavor without meat. Substitute meat with tofu or beans. A vegetarian chili with a side of toast and crackers is a light and hearty meal. Or try a rich and creamy potato-based soup or vegetable stew. These can be particularly welcoming, especially during the winter months.

Stir Fry Vegetables

Fry up a variety of vegetables from broccoli to zucchini, carrots, snow peas, mushrooms, watercress and onions. Stir fry is a great mix of healthy foods rich in vitamins and minerals. Pair up the vegetables with a side of white or fried rice. Top with soy sauce. You may even choose to add fish to the stir fry dish, as fish is acceptable in meatless Lenten meals.

Egg Dishes

Cook up egg dishes for foods rich in protein. Deviled eggs and egg salad sandwiches can all be made from hard boiled eggs. Mushrooms, peppers and tomatoes can be added to omelets for a breakfast-style dinner. The same vegetables can be added to quiche. Top quiche with tomato and cheese. As with stir fry dishes, shrimp, crab or another kind of fish can be added to egg dishes for added flavor and protein.

Pasta Dishes

Warm, cooked noodles from angel hair to penne pasta are favorites during the Lenten season. Pasta salads can be enjoyed cold with a vinaigrette or cream dressing. Tomato or Alfredo sauce can also top pasta dishes. Serve bread sticks for an Italian-style meal.

About the Author

Julie Hampton has worked as a professional freelance writer since 1999 for various newspapers and websites including "The Florida Sun" and "Pensacola News Journal." She served in the U.S. Army as a combat medic and nurse for over six years and recently worked as the Community Relations Director for a health center. Hampton studied journalism and communications at the University of West Florida.