You might be wondering, exactly what is Lent? Most people associate Lent with a period of “abstinence” from foods, and following Lenten recipes. Fasting just by itself has no real meaning. Its role is supposed to be a part of the attainment of Christian virtues. These virtues include:
Love, the greatest virtue of all.
So, Lent is a time for self-examination and preparation, and of taking an inventory of your inner, spiritual life. Fasting is just one part of Lent .
“Let us fast an acceptable and very pleasing fast to the Lord. True fast is the estrangement from evil, temperance of tongue, abstinence from anger, separation from desires, slander, falsehood perjury. Privation of these is true fasting.”
A Hymn of First Monday of Lent By St. Basil the Great
I have several cookbooks of my Mother’s and many of them have Lenten recipes. My Mother had definitely attained many of the virtues I listed above.
If you are interested in learning more about Lent and Lenten recipes, simply Google “Lenten recipes”. I did, and here’s what appeared at the top of my search:
Many people follow a Vegan diet now, and groceries and markets have a lot of Vegan products to offer these days. Vegans are vegetarian, but they also do not eat eggs, dairy products and honey. A Vegan diet is similar to the diet many Greek Orthodox follow during the Lenten season.
Greek Orthodox Lent began on Monday, March 2nd this year. That is 5 weeks before Holy Week, the week before Orthodox Easter on April 12th. Many Greek Orthodox who follow a strict fast during Lent abstain from meat, fish and dairy products. On some certain days of Lent, fish, shellfish, wine, and olive oil may be eaten.
I have decided to give up red meat, sweets, and sugar for Lent. The most difficult part has been avoiding sweets and sugar. Sugar is hidden in almost all ready-to-eat prepared foods. So the best way to abstain from sugar is to make all your meals homemade.
I posted this recipe back in 2009 and it was a very popular post. My mother made it often and I have adapted this recipe from hers. It is easy to make and is perfect for Lent or for any vegan diet. Here’s what you’ll need:
1 medium zucchini
1 medium yellow squash
2 large potatoes or several small redskins
1 large onion
1 can of diced tomatoes
2 fresh tomatoes
6 cloves of garlic
1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil (or vegetable oil if fasting for Lent)
4 cups of water
Bake in 350 degree oven one hour or until veggies are done.
I posted a Lentil Soup recipe back in 2009. This time I have adapted that recipe and another lentil soup recipe from two Greek recipe cookbooks of my Mother’s.
1 lbs. of lentils, washed and soaked overnight
2 large carrots, finely chopped
3 stalks of of celery, finely chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
4 cups of vegetable broth (unsalted)
8 cups of water
2 Tbsp of vegetable oil to saute onions, garlic, carrots and celery
salt and pepper
1 package of orzo – rice-shaped (egg-free) pasta (to be added 10 minutes before serving)
If you are planning on serving half the amount of this soup and freezing the other half for later, do that before adding the orzo – rice-shaped pasta. Freeze the half of the amount soup without the orzo. Add only 1/2 package of orzo to the soup you are serving. A little balsamic vinegar may be added to each bowl before serving for an extra kick of flavor.
This recipe was adapted from “Lentil Soup – Faki Soup” Orthodox Lenten Recipes, St. Basil’s Parents’ Club, of Stockton California and “Homemade Lentil Soup” Lentils to Lamb, Social-Cultural Group, Assumption Greek Orthodox Church of St. Clair Shores Michigan