Lent is just around the corner, a prayerful and somber time in the Church, yet come Friday evening it used to be chaos and stress about what's for dinner in the Aquila house. Of course our family would observe the fasting and abstinence prescribed, but planning ahead for it and grocery shopping used to be a major struggle! This became even more pronounced when we decided that we were going to do meatless Friday every Friday, because you know that's actually still a thing. There I was with a picky eater (especially with regard to fish), about two meatless recipes (winning), and hopefully a lot of Fridays in my future. I made it a point to start trying different recipes and then logging them away so that I would have an easy to use collection. This little endeavor was needless to say, overwhelming! Sifting through the ridiculous amount of meatless options was a challenge, but I took one for the team and made many of them to get to the good ones. Now that I've got a couple of years under my belt I thought I would share my go tos with you.
To get you through Ash Wednesday, Good Friday, and all Fridays during Lent 2021 I have picked 8 of my favorite meatless dinners that your family is sure to love. Tried and true by... well me, because I love fish and I'll eat just about anything. Some of these I make as they are and others I adapt so don't hesitate to be brave. At the bottom of the post you will find a list of recommended sides to go with the main course.
Penne a la Betsy
A hearty pasta, shrimp, and basil dish with a creamy red sauce. This dish is sure to make left overs and great for feeding a lot of people.
(Photo: The Pioneer Woman)
This is a great way to get everyone involved in the kitchen on a Friday night. This pizza dough from scratch is one from yours truly and great for meatless Fridays, just top with anything but meat!
(Photo: His Girl Sunday)
Chipotle Lime Shrimp Sheet Pan
Easy recipe for a busy or tired Friday evening, throw the shrimp on the pan with any of your favorite veggies! The chipotle lime gives it a little kick and is delicious as it is, or over pasta or rice.
(Photo: Taste of Home)
Cheesy Pesto Pasta
Classic, quick, and delicious dinner that only takes about 20 minutes to whip up. If you prefer to make your pesto from scratch I have a delicious recipe here!
(Photo: Oh, Sweet Basil)
Honey Garlic Shrimp
The perfect sweet and savory dish is light and filling. I like making this one and pouring it over a bowl of rice or quinoa.
(Photo: Sally's Baking Addiction)
What I like about this recipe is that you can customize it as much or as little as you want. Fish options can range from salmon, shrimp, tilapia, or even cod.
(Photo: Spend with Pennies)
I couldn't just pick one so I attached the link that has a list of some of my favorites. These are so simple and inexpensive, because sometimes you get off work on a Friday and just do not feel like cooking. Throw your favorite ingredients in a bowl of lettuce and call it a night!
(Photo: Love and Lemons)
Tuscan Tortellini Skillet
You can't go wrong with tortellini and this dish actually tastes like you spent a lot longer on it than you actually did.
Now for some side ideas, given that we are in Lent I try to keep these simple because we are called to be penitential. A priest once said during a homily that it's not a real sacrifice if you are just replacing the steak dinner with lobster, I agree. However, for most, this is the one full meal of the day so it's got to be just enough and making it healthy is a bonus.
Simple Side Ideas
(These go well with all of the dinner options that I recommended.)
Buttered rolls or biscuits
Oven baked asparagus or brussel sprouts (pick your family's favorite veggie)
Small side of rice, pasta, or quinoa
Don't forget to bless your food!
"Bless us Oh Lord, and these thy gifts, which we are about to receive, from thy bounty, through Christ, Our Lord. Amen."
Closing meal time with prayer has been on my mind this year, if you want to join me here is the prayer after meals.
"We give Thee thanks for all Thy benefits, O Almighty God, who livest and reignest world without end. Amen. May the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen."
Praying for all of you this Lent that you can journey with Jesus in closeness through the desert. If you need more resources you might be interested in this for celebrating Shrove Tuesday with family members of all ages.
To cook alongside me for feast days and the liturgical seasons follow along with the recipe section of my blog.
Peace & Good to You & Yours!