28 February 2023

Meatless Meals Made Easy: 21 Recipes to Cook During Lent

Need ideas for healthy, delicious Lenten meals? Here are enough recipes that you need only repeat once to get through the entire season.

From The SpruceEats

By Cathy Jacobs

With the start of Lent, you may be getting ready to give up meat on Fridays until Easter. While this may not sound complicated, it can be a challenge for busy families if you're not prepared with some crowd-pleasing meat-free recipes. Don't fret, though—just bookmark this collection of hearty lent-friendly meals that are so good, you'll want to cook them year-round.

  • 01of 20

    Creamy Corn and Seafood Chowder

    Creamy corn and seafood chowder
    ​The Spruce Eats / Diana Mocanu

    Enjoy a warming bowl of hearty chowder for dinner, served with crusty bread for dipping. This creamy seafood stew is loaded with corn, potatoes, shrimp, and scallops, but you could also substitute in real or imitation crab or lobster.

  • 02of 20

    Porcini Mushroom Risotto

    Vegetarian Porcini Mushroom Risotto
    alle12 / E+ / Getty Images

    While nutty-tasting farro is wheat and not rice, it has the proper texture to make a nice risotto and actually saves you some stirring. This rich and earthy recipe combines the healthy grain with wild mushrooms, shallots, garlic, parsley, and Parmesan cheese.

  • 03of 20

    Quick and Easy Tuna Tacos

    Quick tuna taco recipe
    The Spruce 

    Fish tacos are a family favorite that you'll want to add to your weekday meal rotation even after Lent is over. You use canned fish for these easy, 10-minute tuna tacos, making it an excellent recipe for busy days, a quick lunch, or a lighter dinner.

  • 04of 20

    Asparagus Ricotta Spring Pasta

    Asparagus Ricotta Spring Pasta
    The Spruce / Molly Watson

    Enjoy the bright, green flavor of seasonal asparagus in this creamy pasta dinner that comes together in less than 30 minutes. Ricotta cheese adds richness to the dish with lemon juice and zest adding zing. Parmesan and black pepper are also added before serving for a restaurant-style presentation.

  • 05of 20

    Spaghetti Squash Alfredo

    Spaghetti Squash Alfredo
    The Spruce / Jennifer Perillo

    Swap out squash for pasta in this gluten-free spaghetti squash alfredo dish. Cheesy, rich, and creamy as an alfredo should be, this dish is studded with broccoli, while the squash provides an extra boost of wholesome vegetable goodness. 

  • 06of 20

    Vegetarian Breakfast Burritos

    Vegetarian rice and beans recipe
    ​The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

    Make Friday breakfasts during Lent something to get excited about with these easy vegetarian burritos. All you need is some leftover rice, a can of beans, and a few Mexican spices to make tasty breakfast wraps that give you plenty of energy.

  • 07of 20

    Cauliflower Fried Rice

    Cauliflower Fried Rice
    The Spruce / Anita Schecter

    Cauliflower fried rice is a nutritious homemade alternative to take-out food during Lent and a great choice when you're craving a satisfying meatless meal. Prep all your ingredients for the stir-fry ahead of time for a tasty dish that comes together quickly in the pan.

  • 08of 20

    Mushroom Roasted Garlic Pizza

    Roasted Mushroom, Cheese and Garlic Thin Crust Pizza
    Ivan/Getty Images

    Skip the pizza delivery and try this savory homemade vegetarian mushroom pie instead. It's simple to prepare with store-bought dough and has an awesome depth of flavor from sauteed chopped mushrooms and roasted garlic. Parmesan cheese and a little snipped fresh mint are knockout finishing touches.

  • 09of 20

    Grilled Cheese Sandwich

    Grilled Cheese Sandwich
    The Spruce / Grilled Cheese Social

    Adults and kids alike will rave about this amazing grilled cheese. With only three ingredients, it may just be the best melted cheese sandwich ever and is the perfect meat-free choice for Lent Friday lunches.

  • 10of 20

    Simple Lemon Garlic Shrimp With Rice

    Simple Lemon Garlic Shrimp With Rice
    The Spruce / Diana Rattray

    When guests are coming for dinner during Lent and time is short, this delicious recipe will save the day. Simple yet elegant, the lemon garlic shrimp with rice cooks in only 15 minutes and requires just a handful of ingredients, but tastes special enough to impress company.

  • 11of 20

    Crock Pot Lentil Soup

    Vegetarian Crock Pot Lentil Soup

    The Spruce


    Crock Pot lentil soup is a fabulous lunchtime recipe for those drizzly spring days when you need something to warm up stomachs. The filling, comforting vegetarian soup is also inexpensive, full of protein, and simple to prepare using your trusty slow cooker.

  • 12of 20

    Fish and Chips

    Beer Battered Fish and Chips
    nicolebranan / E+ / Getty Images

    Your family will cheer when you serve fish and chips for dinner! Use your favorite fillets for this tasty battered fish dish that comes with easy homemade potato wedges. Serve with lemons, tartar sauce, and coleslaw on the side.

  • 13of 20

    Sesame Ginger Broiled Halibut

    Broiled halibut
    Bob Ingelhart / Getty Images

    Halibut has a firm, substantial texture that makes it a good substitute for meat. This tasty main dish uses Asian ingredients to flavor fresh or frozen fish fillets for a meal that cooks quickly under your broiler. Be sure to allow time for marinating the fish so the flavors can develop.

  • 14of 20

    Creamy Mushroom Pasta

    Vegan creamy mushroom pasta


    Fudio / Getty Images 

    Easy-to-prepare mushroom pasta is sure to become a favorite in your home. A rich tasting mushroom sauce is added to your favorite hot cooked noodles for an impressive, meat-free recipe that's perfect for entertaining guests during this period,

  • 15of 20

    Salmon Burgers

    Salmon burger


    bhofack2 / Getty Images

    These pan-fried burgers use canned salmon from your pantry, making this an easy recipe you can enjoy year-round. Well-flavored homemade fish patties make a satisfying pub-style lunch or dinner when served on soft fluffy rolls or burger buns.

  • 16of 20

    Family Favorite Macaroni and Cheese

    Family Favorite Macaroni and Cheese
    The Spruce / Diana Rattray

    Your search for the ultimate macaroni and cheese just ended. This crowd-pleasing recipe with an irresistible homemade sauce gets fantastic texture from a buttered breadcrumb topping. Ideas for variations are included too, so you can tweak it according to your family's tastes.

  • 17of 20

    Lemon and Herb Tilapia

    lemon and herb tilapia
    Arthur Kwiatkowski / Getty Images

    This nutritious dinner is a wonderful way to enjoy the mild, delicate flavor of tilapia. Fish fillets are flavored with butter, lemon, and herbs, and baked in the oven, for a tasty entree that is ready in just 30 minutes. It makes a great family meal along with steamed vegetables and some hot cooked rice or a baked potato.

  • 18of 20

    Vegetable Lasagna

    vegetable lasagna
    apaltynowicz / Getty Images

    Lasagna packed with plenty of veggies, cheese, and a creamy sauce is so satisfying, you won't care there's no meat. Fresh chopped vegetables are layered with a seasoned mixture of ricotta, mozzarella cheese, and a simple Alfredo-style sauce with Parmesan cheese.

  • 19of 20

    Vegetarian Chili and Cornbread Casserole

    vegetarian chili
    Alan Richardson / Getty Images

    Craving the taste and texture of meat on Fridays during Lent? Vegan and vegetarian chili made with ground beef substitute plus hearty beans will keep you satisfied until Easter arrives. Plus, it's baked with a delicious cornbread topping for a mouth-watering finished dish your family will love.

  • 20of 20

    Spaghetti Pie

    Pizza Spaghetti Pie
    The Spruce / Leah Maroney

    Hearty pizza-style spaghetti pie is sure to become a favorite recipe in your family. What's not to like—with all your favorite pizza ingredients cooked into a "pie" with tender noodles? Skip the pepperoni during Lent and add any fresh chopped veggies from your fridge to boost the nutrition content.

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