6 Fish-Free Dinners to Serve on Fridays During Lent

Meatless dinners during the Lenten season don’t have to be bland or boring. In fact, with the help of pasta, vegetables, zesty spices, beans, cheese, and sauces, you can serve your family a diverse collection of meat-free dishes. With dinners as healthy and delicious as these, you may decide to continue making meatless meals long after Lent has passed!

1. Moroccan Vegetable Stew

Couscous and vegetable stew | iStock.com

Spice up your meat-free suppers with Moroccan vegetable stew, a satisfying and well-seasoned entrée that yields 4 servings. For variety, Good Housekeeping suggests adding toasted, chopped almonds, and scallions into the couscous prior to serving.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, cut into ½-inch pieces
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed with press
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 (15- to 19-ounce) can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup stewed tomatoes
  • 1 (14- to 14.5-ounce) can vegetable broth or chicken broth
  • 2 large carrots, sliced diagonally into ¾-inch-thick slices
  • 1 (10-ounce) box plain couscous
  • 1 medium zucchini, cut lengthwise into quarters, then cut crosswise into 1-inch chunks
  • ⅓ cup golden raisins
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves

Directions: In nonstick 12-inch skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook 5 minutes or until lightly browned, stirring frequently. Stir in garlic, curry powder, and cumin, and cook 30 seconds, stirring. Add beans, tomatoes, broth, and carrots; heat to boiling. Reduce heat to medium; cover skillet and cook 5 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare couscous as label directs. Into bean mixture in skillet, stir zucchini and raisins; cover and cook 5 minutes or until zucchini is tender, stirring occasionally. To serve, fluff couscous with forks. Divide couscous among 4 large shallow bowls. Spoon vegetable stew over couscous; sprinkle with chopped cilantro.

2. Lasagna Rollups

Lasagna roll-ups | iStock.com

Put a fun spin on classic lasagna by preparing Mr. Food Test Kitchen’s lasagna rollups, which consist of cheese, eggs, parsley, lasagna noodles, and spaghetti sauce. Interestingly, abstaining from meat during the Lenten season is as good for your health as it is for your soul. Eating less meat reduces your risk of heart disease and cancer, and helps you maintain a healthy weight.

Ingredients:

  • 1 (28-ounce) jar spaghetti sauce, divided
  • 1 (2-pound) container ricotta cheese
  • 2 (8-ounce) cups mozzarella cheese, divided
  • ⅓ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 12 to 14 lasagna noodles, prepared according to package directions

Directions: Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Pour half the spaghetti sauce over the bottom of a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. In a large bowl, combine ricotta cheese, 1 cup mozzarella cheese, Parmesan cheese, eggs, parsley, and salt until well blended. Spoon cheese mixture over lasagna noodles, distributing evenly, and roll up tightly. Place rollups seam-side down in prepared baking dish; top with remaining sauce. Sprinkle with remaining mozzarella cheese. Bake 35 to 40 minutes, or until heated through.

3. Roasted Veggie Pasta

Asparagus | iStock.com

Roasted veggies, fettuccine, and fresh seasonings create a rustic dinner your family will devour. AllRecipes.com’s vegetarian dish yields 3 servings. We recommend pairing it with The Comfort of Cooking’s no-knead crusty artisan bread.

Ingredients:

  • ¼ pound fresh asparagus
  • 2 red bell peppers, sliced
  • ¼ pound crimini mushrooms, sliced
  • 10 cloves roasted garlic, chopped
  • ½ tomato, quartered
  • ½ teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • ½ teaspoon chopped fresh oregano
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 8 ounces dry fettuccine noodles
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons tapenade

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Prepare asparagus by trimming woody base and cutting diagonally into 4-inch pieces. In a roasting pan, combine asparagus, bell pepper, mushrooms, roasted garlic, and tomato. Sprinkle with rosemary and oregano, then drizzle with olive oil. Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente; drain. Toss with Parmesan cheese, tapenade, and roasted vegetables.

4. Sloppy Veg-Head Joes

Can of black beans | iStock.com

Going meatless doesn’t mean you can’t continue making your children’s favorite meals. Rachael Ray gives sloppy joes a vegetarian makeover using beans, tomatoes, seasonings, brown sugar, and Worcestershire sauce. The recipe yields 4 servings. If your kids prefer a less-spicy dish, feel free to eliminate the jalapeños.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 red, green, or yellow bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 2 jalapeño chilies, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 2 large cloves garlic, grated or finely chopped
  • 2 (15-ounce) cans black beans, rinsed
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 (15-ounce) can diced fire-roasted or crushed tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 4 crusty rolls, split and lightly toasted
  • 2 large dill pickles, chopped
  • ⅓ cup chopped cilantro

Directions: In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the bell pepper, jalapeños, red onion, and garlic and cook, stirring, until tender, 6 to 8 minutes. Stir in the black beans, cumin, and coriander; season with salt and pepper. In a small bowl, combine the tomatoes, brown sugar, and Worcestershire sauce. Add to the black beans and simmer for a few minutes. Stir in the lime juice. Serve the sloppy joe mixture on the rolls. Top with the pickles and cilantro.

5. Two-Cheese Moussaka With Sautéed Mushrooms and Zucchini

Greek casserole dish | iStock.com

Your family won’t be missing their favorite meat-based meals after feasting on Food & Wine’s moussaka, a classic Greek casserole that’s filled with layers of roasted zucchini, tomato sauce, mushrooms, feta, and provolone.

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 large onions, coarsely chopped
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 1 (28-ounce) can whole tomatoes, chopped, juices reserved
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped basil
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 pounds cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • 2 tablespoons tamari soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped dill
  • 2 pounds zucchini, sliced crosswise ½-inch thick
  • ⅔ pound dried lasagna noodles (about 15 noodles)
  • 6 large eggs, beaten
  • 1 pound feta cheese, crumbled
  • ¼ pound provolone cheese, shredded

Directions: Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. In a large saucepan, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil until shimmering. Add ¼ of the onions and the garlic and cook over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until softened. Add the tomatoes and their juices, the tomato paste, and water and bring to a boil. Simmer the sauce over moderate heat until reduced to 4 cups, about 20 minutes. Stir in the basil; season with salt and pepper. In a large, deep skillet, heat ¼ cup of the olive oil. Add the mushrooms, season with salt and pepper, and cook over high heat until the mushrooms begin to brown, about 8 minutes.

Add the remaining chopped onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes longer. Add the wine and tamari, and boil until the liquid has reduced, about 5 minutes. Add the dill. Toss the zucchini with the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Spread the zucchini on a baking sheet and roast for about 10 minutes, until golden on the bottom and softened. Lower the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Spread ½ cup of the tomato sauce in a 10½-by-14-inch baking dish. Arrange one-third of the uncooked noodles on the sauce, overlapping them slightly. Top with another ½ cup of sauce, one-third of the mushrooms, and half of the zucchini; season with salt and pepper.

Repeat with another ½ cup of sauce, another layer of noodles, ½ cup of sauce, one-third of the mushrooms, and the remaining zucchini; season again. Top with ½ cup of sauce and the remaining noodles, then cover with the remaining sauce and mushrooms. Press the moussaka down slightly. In a bowl, whisk the eggs with the feta; pour over the mushrooms. Season with pepper and sprinkle with the provolone. Bake the moussaka for about 45 minutes, until the top is golden. Cover with foil and bake for 25 minutes longer, or until piping hot in the center. Uncover and let rest for 20 minutes before serving.

6. Kale and Cannellini Bean Soup

Kale and bean soup |  iStock.com

Fulfill your family’s nutritional needs with MayIHaveThatRecipe.com’s Kale and Cannellini Bean Soup, which can be found via The Daily Meal. With its hearty ingredients and fragrant seasonings, you’ll want to make sure to include this meatless meal on your dinner menu!

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • garlic clove, minced
  • (10-ounce) package chopped kale
  • (32-ounce) container organic vegetable broth
  • 3 cups water
  • (15-ounce) can organic cannellini beans
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon chili powder
  • ¼ teaspoon allspice
  • 1 pinch cayenne
  • ½ cup raw quinoa

Directions: In a large soup pot, sauté garlic and kale at medium heat for about 5 minutes. Add vegetable broth, water, beans, salt, and spices. Bring to a boil, add quinoa and simmer for simmer 20 minutes.

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