36 Best Recipes For Lent

For six weeks before Easter, Christians around the world, including Anglicans, Catholics, and Orthodox, observe Lent, which begins on Ash Wednesday and ends before Easter Sunday. 

Lent is meant to be a period of sacrifice and reflection, during which observers tend to give something up — whether that's a food or beverage item like chocolates, pastries, or alcohol or an activity like going on social media. For Catholics, observing Lent can also mean adhering to a strict fast on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday as well as avoiding meat every Friday during the entire season.

This roundup of seafood and vegetarian dishes from Tasting Table is meant to take the sting out of picking and choosing meal options while you're fasting from meat during Lent.

1. Classic British Fish And Chips

Few dishes hit the spot the same way an order of classic British fish and chips does. Haddock or cod filets are smothered in a beer batter and served alongside thick chips (or fries, to those living across the pond), which have been fried twice to ensure they are crisp and golden.

To make this a truly authentic experience, you'll want to serve your fish and chips with homemade tartar sauce, peas, a squeeze of lemon, and some malt vinegar.

Recipe: Classic British Fish And Chips

2. Hearty Black Bean Burger

Burger patties are transformed into a Lenten Friday treat by subbing beef with beans and spicing the mix up with onion, garlic, chili powder, and smoked paprika.

Recipe developer Catherine Brookes also says that "the addition of soy sauce and spices adds loads of savory, smoky, and spicy flavor to the burgers." The ingredients are bound together by an egg, which needs to be replaced if you want to make a vegan version of this satisfying Lenten meal.

Recipe: Hearty Black Bean Burger

3. Spicy Honey-Glazed Salmon

We think salmon has two great things going for it: It's a tasty piece of fish, and it's relatively easy to cook — making it a good addition to your Lenten meal rotation.

This recipe can be prepared in under half an hour, and it imparts sweet, hot flavors, thanks to the presence of honey and chili flakes. Serve it with a side of veggies and rice or potatoes to create a complete balanced meal.

Recipe: Spicy Honey-Glazed Salmon

4. Stuffed Flounder

This is a meal that plays up two beloved types of seafood: flounder and crab.

The recipe calls for flounder filets to be stuffed with a crab mixture that includes crushed saltine crackers, Worcestershire sauce, egg, mayonnaise, lemon juice, and other seasonings. After the fish is cooked in butter, it looks like a decadent restaurant menu item, yet the recipe is quick and easy enough to make at home. 

Recipe: Stuffed Flounder

5. Vegetarian Mushroom Meatloaf

If you're in search of a savory Lenten meal, this one is a clear winner.

Our "meatloaf" is made from caramelized onions and mushrooms, oats, walnuts, and sourdough bread — all seasoned with ketchup, sage, thyme, oregano, garlic, and lemon. Because the recipe uses eggs as a binder, this dish is vegan-friendly, but it ticks all the right boxes for vegetarians and those abstaining from meat during the Lenten season who are searching for a hearty, filling meal.

Recipe: Vegetarian Mushroom Meatloaf

6. Chilean Sea Bass

Some of the best dishes are the ones that are easiest to prepare, and that is the case with this Chilean sea bass.

It takes little to dress up this light, flaky white fish. After a turn in a pan with butter, garlic, capers, and thyme, the sea bass is finished with a squeeze of lemon. This delicious recipe can go from fridge to table in under 20 minutes. To round out the Lenten specialty, serve it with a salad and some crusty bread to soak up the butter sauce. 

Recipe: Chilean Sea Bass

7. Sous Vide Salmon

If you have a sous vide machine, we have a wonderful recipe for you to try.

This salmon starts off with a salt and pepper rub before it is cooked sous vide. Afterward, it's finished in a pan with lemon juice and butter. This quick and simple dish is so tasty that we think it will become a part of your repertoire even long after Lent ends.

Recipe: Sous Vide Salmon

8. Tartar Sauce

Making a homemade tartar sauce isn't complicated: All you need is five minutes and five ingredients that are easy to find in any well-stocked kitchen.

A classic accompaniment to fish sticks, this condiment is the perfect way to add a bit of oomph to any seafood dish (fried or not), as well as a tasty dipping sauce to serve with veggie sides like fries, mozzarella sticks, and onion rings.

Recipe: Tartar Sauce

9. Cacio E Pepe

Simplicity is the key to this classic Italian pasta, which is prepared with freshly cracked pepper and two different types of cheese bound together with the help of starchy pasta water.

The ultimate comfort food, perfect cacio e pepe is a lot easier to make than that upscale Italian restaurant may have led you to believe. As long as your cheese is grated finely enough you should have no problem achieving a perfectly silky sauce full of flavor.

Recipe: Cacio E Pepe

10. Classic Shrimp Cocktail

It doesn't take much to whip up a mouthwatering shrimp cocktail, a small indulgence perfect for dinner parties or when you want to skip the meat for your evening meal.

This recipe manages to cast a flavorful spell, thanks to a made-from-scratch cocktail sauce comprised of horseradish, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, white sugar, and chili powder. The shrimp themselves are a treat too, since they are gently cooked in a seasoned poaching liquid.

Recipe: Classic Shrimp Cocktail

11. Tofu Banh Mi

A banh mi is a Vietnamese sandwich that features all manner of meats and pickled vegetables inside a crusty baguette. This Lent-friendly version is fully vegan, containing ingredients like vegan mayonnaise, tamari, and tofu.

The sandwich gets a flavor boost from the carrot, cucumber, radish, and jalapeño slices that are pickled in a homemade brine.

Recipe: Tofu Banh Mi

12. Baked Garlic Tilapia

Seafood might have a reputation for breaking the bank, but the same can't be said of tilapia. It's affordable and easy to cook — making it the perfect choice during Lent.

In under 20 minutes from prep to finish, you will have buttery garlic tilapia that goes great with rice, new potatoes, or mashed potatoes. This recipe will also keep perfectly for the next day if you are lucky enough to have leftovers or want to cook some up in advance.

Recipe: Baked Garlic Tilapia

13. Warming Spicy Bean Stew

Lent happens at a time when the weather is still iffy — not very warm or very cold — so it's often a good time to serve up a hearty bean stew that's brimming with flavor.

Garlic, paprika, cumin, and coriander add some oomph to the dish, while chili powder gives it a little warming kick. Serve with rice or a side of tortilla chips or crusty bread for dipping.

Recipe: Warming Spicy Bean Stew

14. Lemon-Garlic Baked Salmon

Simple and sophisticated is how we'd describe this lemon-garlic salmon.

This recipe works best when you have an ultra-fresh piece of fish since the only seasonings you'll be working with are salt, black pepper, garlic, and lemon. We recommend serving this with rice or veggies (two classic pairings to consider are roasted potatoes or sauteed spinach) or using it to top a salad for a fresh, filling meal.

Recipe: Lemon-Garlic Baked Salmon

15. Tofu Pad Thai

Often, your pad Thai will come loaded with shrimp, but we have a recipe that is a tofu-based take on the classic.

Recipe developer Miriam Hahn notes this dish makes use of eggs and fish sauce, but both can be easily replaced or left out for a vegetarian or vegan-friendly dish. But whether you leave one or both out or are just looking for something a little different than your go-to pad Thai, this recipe ticks all the boxes for a great Lenten meal.

Recipe: Tofu Pad Thai

16. Baked Stuffed Haddock

This meaty haddock is elevated with the addition of crab stuffing and then baked with olive oil — resulting in a simple yet elegant entrée.

The dish takes less than 40 minutes to assemble and cook, making it a delicious meal choice during the Lenten season or on nights when you might not have time to cook but are still looking for something a little more elevated than fast food or spaghetti with butter. 

Recipe: Baked Stuffed Haddock

17. Classic Ceviche

To make our classic ceviche, raw pieces of sushi-grade fish are tossed in a marinade of lime juice and vinegar, essentially cooking them. Once the fish is ready, it is mixed with peppers, onion, cucumber, avocado, and cilantro for a tasty and nutritious meal.

One important thing to note: The ceviche must be consumed within 24 hours, so don't plan to make this too far in advance or have leftovers beyond the next day.

Recipe: Classic Ceviche

18. Miso Salmon

We think you'll agree when we say miso is a secret weapon everyone should keep in their culinary arsenal. The ingredient adds mind-blowing umami flavor to everything it touches — as it does in this roasted salmon.

The best part about this dish is that it keeps for up to a day in the fridge, meaning you can make extra to eat hot or cold with a salad the next day.

Recipe: Miso Salmon

19. Homemade Pierogi

A traditional Polish dish that has been filling bellies for centuries, pierogi can be sweet or savory and are often vegetarian — making them the perfect Lent-friendly meal.

Our savory pierogi is stuffed with mashed potato and chives before being cooked and then dressed to the nines with caramelized onions, sour cream, and sauerkraut. These pierogi can be either cooked the day you make them or stored raw in a freezer for up to four months.

Recipe: Homemade Pierogi

20. Mediterranean Baked Cod

A mild-flavored fish, cod is the perfect canvas for this rich Mediterranean-style recipe. The colorful dish is jazzed up with flavorful ingredients such as olives, onion, cherry tomatoes, basil, dill, and thyme, which all meld together in the oven.

This nutritious Lenten dish is easy to prep and can go from countertop to tabletop in just 20 minutes. Serve the fish with couscous or a pesto salad for a meal that really shines.

Recipe: Mediterranean Baked Cod

21. Veggie-Packed Japanese Curry

Japan's national dish may usually be served with pork or beef, but it's given the vegetarian treatment this time around — the perfect meal to add to your Lenten meat-free rotation.

While many make their Japanese curries with premade sauce, this one is made from scratch. Hahn says the curry can be enjoyed on its own or the way it's most often served in Japan: with a helping of fluffy white rice.

Recipe: Veggie-Packed Japanese Curry

22. Parmesan Crusted Tilapia

This isn't just another breaded fish recipe, thanks to a genius tip you may (or may not) have heard about before.

Recipe developer Susan Olayinka enlists the help of mayonnaise to help the tilapia's breadcrumb coating right where it's meant to be — on the fish — instead of languishing at the bottom of the baking pan. The dish is great when served with a side salad, rice, or veggies.

Recipe: Parmesan Crusted Tilapia

23. Bourbon Glazed Salmon

Many who love cooking but don't have a lot of time to devote to it have a stash of go-to recipes they rely on for a quick and easy meal — and we think this one is worthy of joining the ranks.

All it takes is a homemade bourbon glaze (made with pantry staples, including Dijon mustard, tomato paste, maple syrup, and garlic) which can be made ahead of time and stored in the fridge. You're ready to bake, simply brush the glaze onto your salmon and you'll have dinner ready in no time.

Recipe: Bourbon Glazed Salmon

24. Savory Haluski

A mouth-watering vegetarian meal with Polish and Slovak influences, haluski is made by boiling and then baking egg noodles with a savory mixture of onion, garlic, mushrooms, peas, and cabbage.

After the Lenten season is over, you can pair haluski with meats such as chicken, sausage, or corned beef if you like, which can be served on the side or on top of the pasta dish.

Recipe: Savory Haluski

25. Trout Meunière

If the idea of preparing tilapia or salmon for a meal has left you feeling less than excited, we've got a different kind of fish for you to try.

This is a classic French technique that involves dredging trout fillets in flour, cooking them in butter, and then topping the dish with a sprinkling of chopped fresh parsley and a sauce made from browned butter and lemon juice. The dish is quick and easy to prepare, needing just 15 minutes to go from prep to table. 

Recipe: Trout Meunière

26. Paneer Tikka Masala

If you've only been ordering the chicken version of this dish, you've been missing out on a wonderful vegetarian-friendly Indian meal.

This flavorful version features roasted paneer (an Indian cheese) and vegetables, all coated in a creamy tomato sauce. Best of all, the dish is even yummier the next day, so be sure to make enough for leftovers. This hearty recipe has all the hallmarks of a household favorite for the Lenten season and beyond.

Recipe: Paneer Tikka Masala

27. Cajun Grilled Salmon

If you're looking for a new way to dress up salmon, we'd like to recommend this mouth-watering recipe that features a flavorful blend of spices, including two types of pepper — cayenne and smoked paprika — as well as garlic, cumin, oregano, and thyme.

As with all fish, this needs to be watched while grilling since it cooks quickly (which is actually a plus if you're hungry). Serve it with your choice of greens, like broccoli, asparagus, or a fresh side salad. 

Recipe: Cajun Grilled Salmon

28. Panko Fried Shrimp

Some things are so sinfully delicious that we don't know if they'd make a good addition to a Lenten meal, but since these panko fried shrimp don't break any rules, eating them on a Friday won't get you into trouble.

The shrimp are covered in seasoned flour, dipped in an egg wash, coated in panko breadcrumbs, and then fried. And if you're looking for a great homemade sauce to go with these seafood bites, keep scrolling because we've got just the cocktail sauce recipe for you.

Recipe: Panko Fried Shrimp

29. Creamy Garlic Butter Noodles

There are some days when only a comforting bowl of noodles will do — and for those days, we think these creamy garlic butter noodles will hit the spot. 

This dish brings together ingredients few would be able to refuse — garlic, lemon, butter, and spaghetti — and comes together in a flash. (To make things easier for you in the kitchen, you can even use pre-minced garlic.)

If you're looking for more than just noodles, this simple dish can be paired with any protein or your favorite veggies.

Recipe: Creamy Garlic Butter Noodles

30. Honey Lime Salmon

Sweet and sour work in tandem to create a winning combination of flavors in this yummy salmon dish. The sauce is first assembled and cooked on the stove before it is poured over the salmon filets, which go into the oven to be baked and then broiled.

This recipe is ready in less than half an hour, making it a good last-minute Lenten meal for any night. 

Recipe: Honey Lime Salmon

31. Classic Cocktail Sauce

Giving up things you love is difficult enough during the Lenten season, which is why we think you shouldn't sacrifice flavor too. With that in mind, we're proposing a simple yet elegant cocktail sauce that could be the kick your seafood dishes are missing.

Our classic cocktail sauce is easy to make, only requires ingredients that are readily available, and can have its spice level adjusted to suit your preference.

Recipe: Classic Cocktail Sauce

32. Grilled Barramundi

There is nothing quite like a fresh piece of seafood simply prepared, which allows the flavors to really shine. Our grilled barramundi (or Asian sea bass) recipe is seasoned with salt, black pepper, oregano, lemon juice, and olive oil before being grilled over an open fire.

Be sure to look after the fish while it is cooking, as it can to from raw to burnt within a few minutes.

Recipe: Grilled Barramundi

33. Messy Veggie Pav Bhaji

You might be used to eating your Indian food with flatbreads like naan and chapati, so the dinner rolls served beside this luscious vegetable curry might come as a surprise, but that's exactly how this classic Mumbai street food is meant to be eaten.

A great starter dish for people inexperienced with Indian cooking or just looking for something simple and comforting, this pav bhaji recipe calls for 12 different vegetables for a dish that is as nutritious as it is colorful.

Recipe: Messy Veggie Pav Bhaji

34. Salmon Florentine

Some people might enjoy topping a baked piece of salmon with hollandaise sauce, but we suggest you switch it up a bit and serve the fish with a spinach cream sauce instead.

An easy way to dress up the fish, our salmon florentine recipe also packs in a serving of greens. The dish can be eaten solo but is also perfect served with a side of mashed potatoes or even more veggies, if that's what your tastes prefer. It might seem a bit rich for Lent, but we won't tell if you don't.

Recipe: Salmon Florentine

35. Shrimp Chow Mein

If you're in a rush, this shrimp chow mein recipe will be a godsend, as it comes together in just 15 minutes (including prep time) but still satisfies your cravings. The best part? You don't need to sacrifice flavor for convenience, because the dish is packed with aromatic ingredients such as garlic, green onions, chili, and ginger paste.

Faster than takeout, our shrimp chow mein is perfect for those evenings when you've gotten home hangry and don't have time to rustle something up.

Recipe: Shrimp Chow Mein

36. Vegetarian Goulash

Our meat-free Hungarian goulash is the perfect Lenten meal. The hearty dish features macaroni for carbs and tempeh for protein, and everything is cooked up in a rich, tomato-based stew. The recipe only takes around 40 minutes to make, meaning it's perfect for busy nights or days where you'd rather be cozied up with a movie or good book than doing anything else.

A vegetarian main, this goulash can easily be made suitable for vegans if you leave off the Parmasean.

Recipe: Vegetarian Goulash