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Meatless Meal Ideas & Recipes for Lent

Updated on June 22, 2014
Altered by Sharyn's Slant with permission.
Altered by Sharyn's Slant with permission. | Source

Observing the Lenten Season

I grew up in a family that observes the Lenten season leading up to Easter Sunday. As young children, my sisters and I would take seriously the decision of what we will “give up” for Lent. Usually we would try to abstain from something like candy or soda. We’d also make an effort to be “good;” for example try to refrain from fighting or name calling.

But no matter how us kids did with our "fasting," as a family during the Lenten season, we would always go without eating meat on Ash Wednesday, Good Friday and all Fridays in between.

What Constitutes Abstinence from Meat During Lent?

There are varying definitions of what it means to refrain from eating meat during Lent. In some regions of the world, people abstain from all forms of meat and animal products. Other regions have exceptions such as eating fish.

The custom that I am used to, growing up Catholic, forbids us to eat meat but fish is okay as well as eggs, milk products or condiments made of animal fat.

Meatless Meals During Lent

Do you enjoy coming up with creative meatless meal ideas during Lent?

See results

Lenten Menu Ideas Without Meat

Thinking of my childhood during Lent really makes me miss my Mom even more. Some of my favorite meals she made were during the Lenten season. It seemed like those “Lent meals” were special, different, and something we really looked forward to.

I’d like to share with you menu ideas for meatless meals during Lent beginning with my favorites that were my Mom’s specialties.

Potato Pancakes w/ Shredded Zucchini

Source:  Sharyn's Slant
Source: Sharyn's Slant

Potato Pancakes for Lent

One Lenten meal that my family always looked forward to was Potato Pancakes. Not only is it a meatless meal, it is an inexpensive meal as well.

Mom made the best Potato Pancakes. She would try to quickly fry them up and place them in a casserole dish in the oven to keep warm - and away from the rest of the family - so that we could all sit down and eat together. But somehow, we always "stole" a pancake or two before they made it to the table.

Here is my recipe version of Potato Pancakes with Zucchini. Check it out!

Cauliflower Soup

Another meatless recipe that I make quite often and so did my mother is Cauliflower Soup. It is a perfect meal for Lent.

NOTE: If you prefer not to use the chicken stock or bouillon, substitute vegetable stock instead.

Click below for my

Cauliflower Soup Recipe

A Family Favorite



Pierogi remains a staple for my family during the Lenten season and all year long.

My grandmother used to make dozens and dozens of pierogi, especially during Lent. They freeze well for about a month, so we would always have them on hand for our Friday meals.

Here is my article that includes my grandmother's recipe for

Authentic Homemade Pierogi

Salmon Patties Just Like Mom's



Salmon is a great option for a meatless menu.

My mom often made Salmon Patties (also called Salmon Cakes) during Lent. This was one of my favorite meals. She would also make an awesome white sauce with peas to top it off.

I haven't mastered my mom's salmon pattie recipe yet, but I found a great recipe from janshares for

Fried Salmon Patties



Applesauce Pancakes (Crepes)

One of my favorite meatless meals that my mom would make was what we called Applesauce Pancakes. Times were tough financially and this meal was cheap and extremely kid friendly.

Mom's Simple Recipe

Mom would use pancake mix but add more water to make the batter thinner. She would fry "crepes" like you see in the picture above.

She would spread applesauce on it, sprinkle a little cinnamon and sugar, and then roll it. That's it! That was our dinner. And we loved it.

Mac & Cheese


Macaroni & Cheese

Mac & Cheese is always a great option for a meatless Friday, especially if you have children.

Be creative instead of simply making it from a box. Kids will love macaroni and cheese muffins. Check out this great recipe from Kelleyward for

Mac and Cheese Muffins with Smoked Gouda

Veggie Chili


Meatless Chili

There are an endless number of ways to make chili and certainly, it does not have to contain meat.

Check out cclitgirl's great healthy recipe for

Veggie Chili

the entire family is sure to enjoy. She even includes an easy recipe for homemade sopapillas.

Meatless Stir Fry


Stir Fry

Just like the endless number of ways to make chili, the same goes for a stir fry.

Check out randomcreative's

Easy Shrimp Stir Fry with Sesame Tahini Sauce



Meatless Salad

Depending on what you include in your salad, it can certainly be a meal in itself.

Miss Olive has some great recipes using avocado including a delicious

Avocado and Almond Salad

Cheese Tortellini Pasta


Meatless Pasta

There are many ingredients you can add to spaghetti or pasta that are meatless and would make a hearty meal. Check out Just Ask Susan's great recipe for

Cheese Tortellini Pasta with a Veggie Topping

Tuna Salad



Tuna is a great option for a meatless menu. You could make a cold salad or even warm tuna melt sandwiches.

Sholland10 has a special recipe for what she calls

Tea Room Tuna Salad

More Meatless Meal Ideas for You to Consider

  • Egg Salad
  • Veggie Pizza
  • Omelettes
  • Vegetable Lasagna
  • Eggplant Parmesan
  • Fish
  • Toasted Cheese Sandwiches

I look forward to being creative during Lent with meatless meals, and I hope you do too. I've mastered some of my mother's favorite Lenten recipes. This year, I'm hoping to master her Salmon Patties with White Pea Sauce.

What are your favorite meatless meals to make during Lent? Let us know in the comments section below.

This is Sharyn's Slant


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    • Sharyn's Slant profile image

      Sharon Smith 2 years ago from Northeast Ohio USA

      Hi Kristen! Where are you in NE Ohio? I'm in Parma. Small world! I like Mrs. T's pierogies in a pinch. My new favorite flavor is the "loaded potato" - so good. Thanks so much for your comments!

    • Kristen Howe profile image

      Kristen Howe 2 years ago from Northeast Ohio

      Great recipes. I love Mrs. T's pierogies. I need to stock up on them. I've always had meatless Fridays as long as I was a little girl. Thanks for these recipes ideas for me to do at home. I'll be booking them for future references. As for potato pancakes, I remember my mother made them with leftover mashed potatoes and applesauce. Yum!

    • Sharyn's Slant profile image

      Sharon Smith 4 years ago from Northeast Ohio USA

      Audrey ~ Suzie ~ Alicia ~ Elle ~ Diana ~ Debbie

      Thank you all SO much for taking the time to leave a wonderful comment. We are right in the middle of Lent season now and I haven't been to a local fish fry yet. I hope to find the time to visit one of the local churches soon. I have however made quite a few of the recipes here. Hope everyone is enjoying the Spring!!! It's March 29 and here in Ohio, it's currently snowing and it's accumulated about 5 inches already. Eventually Mother Nature will turn it around :) Thanks again for stopping by!


    • Lady Guinevere profile image

      Debra Allen 4 years ago from West By God

      Lots of great recipes in this hub.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 4 years ago

      There are lots of wonderful recipe ideas listed here for Lent. I may try the apple pancakes. I'm always in the mood for salmon patties and having them during this season is a must.

    • profile image

      ElleBee 4 years ago

      I eat meatless meals on a fairly regular basis, but Lent definitely is an opportunity to try some new ones! I love that y'all are commenting on fish fries, I grew up in the heavily Catholic northeast and never really heard of the whole fish fry phenomenon until moving to the Midwest for a year! Then again, here in Massachusetts almost all restaurants have fish specials on Friday all year round :) I definitely think I will be trying those potato pancakes! I love the idea of grating zuchinni into them.

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 4 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Thanks for all the useful links, Sharon. This hub is a great resource for people who want to cook without meat.

    • suziecat7 profile image

      suziecat7 4 years ago from Asheville, NC

      Thanks for this - I checked out your recipe Hubs. I haven't eaten red meat for years but am now weaning myself from chicken so these were very helpful.

    • AudreyHowitt profile image

      Audrey Howitt 4 years ago from California

      So good to read this today! And it brings back so many memories. We often gave up meat for all of lent and because meat was expensive, we rarely had it in the first place. So I don't remember missing it all that much--thank you for sharing this with us--I particularly like the potato pancakes--they look wonderful

    • Sharyn's Slant profile image

      Sharon Smith 5 years ago from Northeast Ohio USA

      Hi Kelly ~ yup, I do understand those "ingrained practices." And here too, there are Friday night Fish Fry signs all over the place ~ every corner like you said, ha. I'm sure they make big bucks during Lent. I'm glad you stopped by :)


    • Sharyn's Slant profile image

      Sharon Smith 5 years ago from Northeast Ohio USA

      Hi FullOfLoveSites ~ it's nice to meet you. Your spaghetti recipe sounds good and simple too. And as far as pierogi, you must try them. I'm not sure where you live and if you can get them locally. But you can make your own. My gram's recipe is in the link above. Thanks so much for your feedback!


    • Sharyn's Slant profile image

      Sharon Smith 5 years ago from Northeast Ohio USA

      Hi CC ~ Definitely try the pancakes, I think you'll like 'em. I know you enjoyed the pierogi :) Thanks for stopping by here!


    • RealHousewife profile image

      Kelly Umphenour 5 years ago from St. Louis, MO

      Funny Sharon - even though I don't identify with the Catholic religion any longer I still think of these practices like they are ingrained. Around here many, many restaurants cater to lent! Fish Fry meals on every corner on Friday!

    • FullOfLoveSites profile image

      FullOfLoveSites 5 years ago from United States

      I usually cook spaghetti with just diced tomatoes, olive oil and basil for Lent, and they are really good enough. Thanks for your additional ideas, I've never heard of pierogi but it sounds really good. Voted up and useful, shared. :)

    • cclitgirl profile image

      Cynthia Calhoun 5 years ago from Western NC

      Great ideas, Sharon. I grew up Catholic and never really liked fish. I so wish my mama had seen this hub. Hehe. I am so going to try those potato pancakes. I've already tried your pierogi. :D

    • Sharyn's Slant profile image

      Sharon Smith 5 years ago from Northeast Ohio USA

      Hi Kristine ~ great to see you! I'm so glad you liked these meatless recipe ideas. Thanks so much for stopping by!


    • Kristine Manley profile image

      Donna Kristine 5 years ago from Atlanta, GA

      Sharyn, these recipes are great! I think I'll be trying the meatless stir fry first. Voted Up!

    • Sharyn's Slant profile image

      Sharon Smith 5 years ago from Northeast Ohio USA

      Hi Mary ~ oh, I understand the "Lenten memories" as well. It was a big deal for my Mom to decide what would be for dinner on Fridays during Lent. And yes, if she was out of ideas or time, we'd order cheese pizza too, ha. But with my family, Thursday's were pizza days because that was "payday," so usually a Friday during Lent was something more exciting. I'm so glad you like these suggestions. I appreciate your feedback and votes.


    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 5 years ago from New York

      Not only memories but great suggestions! Being Catholic and observing Fridays in Lent, seems our staple for meatless Friday's is cheese pizza :) I love crepes and potato pancakes though. Will definitely be visiting your other hubs. Thanks for the suggestions.

      Voted up, useful, and interesting.

    • Sharyn's Slant profile image

      Sharon Smith 5 years ago from Northeast Ohio USA

      Hi Lisa ~ Thanks for your feedback. I do hope this list gives many ideas, not just for the Lent season, all in one place. I appreciate you stopping by.


    • Lisawilliamsj profile image

      Lisa Chronister 5 years ago from Florida

      I have been on the look out for vegetarian meals! It is awesome that you provided so many in one spot. I have bookmarked this and will be coming back often. Thanks for sharing!

    • Sharyn's Slant profile image

      Sharon Smith 5 years ago from Northeast Ohio USA

      Hi Carol ~ definitely, people are eating less meat in general. I'm so glad these ideas are tempting to you. Thanks for pinning.


    • carol7777 profile image

      carol stanley 5 years ago from Arizona

      Good ideas here and actually people are eating less meat in general. Especially today with vegan, vegetarians so popular. It is a lot easier than when the society was based on meat at most meals. Very tempting and tasty ideas. Pinning.

    • Sharyn's Slant profile image

      Sharon Smith 5 years ago from Northeast Ohio USA

      Hi Mekenzie ~ glad you like these ideas and hope you get a chance to try some of them out. Thank you so much for stopping by,


    • Mekenzie profile image

      Susan Ream 5 years ago from Michigan

      Okay Sharyn, I am now officially hungry. Great ideas and pictures - I limit my intake of meat due to cholesterol issues.

      These recipe's look so yummy! Thanks for posting. I'll be trying some of these out.



    • Sharyn's Slant profile image

      Sharon Smith 5 years ago from Northeast Ohio USA

      Hi Carla ~ nice to meet you. I appreciate you stopping by. Glad you liked these ideas for meatless meals. Take care,


    • Sharyn's Slant profile image

      Sharon Smith 5 years ago from Northeast Ohio USA

      Hi Vicki ~ Sure, these meatless ideas are great for anyone who wishes to not eat meat or less of it from time to time. I appreciate your votes and shares. Thanks,


    • Sharyn's Slant profile image

      Sharon Smith 5 years ago from Northeast Ohio USA

      Hi Ruchira ~ I'm so glad you appreciated this. Thank you so much for the votes and shares too.


    • Sharyn's Slant profile image

      Sharon Smith 5 years ago from Northeast Ohio USA

      Hi Rodney ~ thanks for the compliments. Have a great day!


    • Sharyn's Slant profile image

      Sharon Smith 5 years ago from Northeast Ohio USA

      Hi tirelesstraveler ~ Thank you for the compliments. The timing of Lent and Ash Wednesday, etc., is interesting this year. I appreciate your feedback.


    • carlajbehr profile image

      Carla J Behr 5 years ago from NW PA

      Great ideas!

    • Victoria Lynn profile image

      Victoria Lynn 5 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      I don't observe Lent, but I love meatless meals often. These are great ideas, Sharyn! Voted up and others. Sharing!

    • Sharyn's Slant profile image

      Sharon Smith 5 years ago from Northeast Ohio USA

      Hi Stephanie ~ How sweet! I have wonderful memories too. Thank you so much for your feedback and votes.


    • Sharyn's Slant profile image

      Sharon Smith 5 years ago from Northeast Ohio USA

      Hi Billy ~ Me too! I remember my mom trying to come up with meatless meals that we all would enjoy. For whatever reason, when I think about Mom's Lenten meals, I have fond memories of meals that we all would look forward to. Thanks, always, for stopping by.


    • Sharyn's Slant profile image

      Sharon Smith 5 years ago from Northeast Ohio USA

      Hi Mo ~ You are welcome. Adding your salad was one of the more "healthier" options :) Thank you for your feedback and shares.


    • Sharyn's Slant profile image

      Sharon Smith 5 years ago from Northeast Ohio USA

      Hi Yvonne ~ I figured some of these recipes would be great for vegetarians too. I'm glad to hear you will add them to your collection. Did you make the applesauce pancakes? Gosh, they remind me of my mom. I know they seem like a dessert but we actually had them for dinner :) Thank you so much for your feedback.


    • Sharyn's Slant profile image

      Sharon Smith 5 years ago from Northeast Ohio USA

      Hi Vincent ~ Thank you so much for your wonderful feedback. Your story of "going vegan" really makes me think about how I need to change my eating habits. Especially when you say you have so much energy. I know a lot of the things I eat are prone to make me tired.

      I'm glad you liked some of these meatless meal ideas. Take care,


    • Sharyn's Slant profile image

      Sharon Smith 5 years ago from Northeast Ohio USA

      Hi Kelly ~ just love how a five-year old thinks. Too cute! Thanks for stopping by.


    • Ruchira profile image

      Ruchira 5 years ago from United States

      wow...this was such an extensive guide. It was like a cook book :)

      I loved it Sharyn.

      vtoed up as useful and interesting adn sharing it across

    • Just_Rodney profile image

      Rodney Fagan 5 years ago from Johannesberg South Africa, The Gold Mine City

      Great hub, very well constructed.

    • tirelesstraveler profile image

      Judy Specht 5 years ago from California

      This is an attractive and informative hub. Fat Wednesday being the day before Valentine's Day makes Lent especially interesting this year. Good work.

    • Hawaiian Scribe profile image

      Stephanie Launiu 5 years ago from Hawai'i

      I love, love, love this hub! Brings back wonderful memories, and instilled a renewed desire to celebrate Lent this year. Thank you! Voted up, beautiful, interesting. I will try some of your tempting recipes, too. Aloha, Stephanie

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      This article would have been huge during the 50's. We were Catholics and I remember so well Mom trying to come up with meals that would satisfy her meat-eating husband and son.

      Now, not so much on that Catholic thing. :)

    • missolive profile image

      Marisa Hammond Olivares 5 years ago from Texas

      Sharyn's Slant, we do observe Lent in our home and your recipes are perfect. I can't wait to give some of these a try. Thank you for putting all of this together. Also, I greatly appreciate you including my salad too. Thanks! Sharing and voted

    • Melovy profile image

      Yvonne Spence 5 years ago from UK

      Well, Sharon, I won't be giving up meat of Lent but of course that's because I am vegetarian anyway, so some of these recipes will be great to add to my collection! In fact you have inspired me to make pancakes with apple sauce for dessert tonight.

    • profile image

      Vincent Moore 5 years ago

      Wow what a graphic selection of great recipes, there are certainly a few that I am going to try, since becoming vegan, I have so much energy back. Its like a huge cleansing inside out. I also am going to tweet and share and save this hub, I have a file I keep vegetarian/vegan menus in. Thank you for a brilliant share, really enjoyed reading.

    • RealHousewife profile image

      Kelly Umphenour 5 years ago from St. Louis, MO

      This cracked me up because it made me think about this project Syd had in Kindgergarten. The teacher interviewed the students and wrote their answers for parents. Syd said her dad was 10 and her favorite food was MEAT. Bahahaha


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