Vegan Diet, Lent and Fasting

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.

My recipe for Lentil Soup can be adapted for strict fasting (don’t use olive oil) and Vegan diets. I also found this Greek Rice Pilaf with Leeks and Saffron recipe from Chef Diane Kochilas’ site. I am definitely going to try it.

Vegan Diet Lent Fasting banner 2015


Recipe of the week: Lenten Lentil Soup

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)

Serves 8-12
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

Lentil Soup

2 cups of lentils
1 large onion, chopped
1/2 cup celery, chopped
1/2 cup carrots, chopped
1/3 cup olive oil
6 cups of water
1/3 cup wine vinegar
1 tsp Salt and 1/2 tsp Pepper

Wash lentils. Place in saucepan and add oil, onion, carrots, celery and saute until onions are translucent, then add water. Bring to a boil, then simmer with cover for 1 hour.  Stir in vinegar and seasoning.

This recipe is  from Lentils to Lamb, Social-Cultural Group, Assumption Greek Orthodox Church, St. Clair Shores MI 1978 page 20.