#NoMeatFridays: What to Eat When You’re Dining Out Meatless for Lent

Growing up Catholic, I am all too familiar with no-meat Fridays as a fixture of Lent. Although I love what the season represents and the powerful message behind it, I did not look forward to meatless Fridays as a kid. Now that I’m older, however, I realize it’s easy to eat meatless meals that taste great, and I thought I’d share some suggestions for alternatives to the normal meat and potatoes.

I don’t know if this is where I started to dislike fish and seafood altogether (I still don’t as an adult), but frozen fish sticks was one of the main meatless meals we would have growing up (served with frozen peas and carrots — yuck!). Don’t get me wrong, I love my parents and they provided me with a wonderful childhood, but I just can’t kick the frozen fish sticks memory (and don’t get me started on Salisbury Steak).

Always On My Mind

If we weren’t eating frozen fish sticks, we would go out to eat. I honestly can’t remember what I ended up eating when we dined out (I probably decided to block it out), but it’s not at all the type of Lent recipes I go for now.

Here are some great meatless alternatives:

Sandwiches

  • Grilled cheese
  • Peanut butter and jelly (and yes I have ordered them before)
  • Portabella mushroom
  • Veggie sandwich
  • Egg salad (with light mayo)
  • Tuna salad (with light mayo)

Mexican

  • Bean and rice burrito
  • Cheese or veggie quesadilla
  • Fish tacos

Casual Dining

  • Pasta with veggies or seafood (watch the sauce and pasta portions)
  • Fish sandwich or entrée (watch breading and portion sizes)
  • Seafood (watch breading and sauces)
  • Soup and salad
  • Entrée salad (use egg whites and tofu for protein sources)

Asian

  • Vegetarian lettuce wraps (my favorite!)
  • Egg drop soup
  • Hot and spicy soup
  • Crab Rangoon or wonton (watch your serving size here)
  • Tofu stir fry
  • Eggplant stir fry

If you have to control your blood pressure, ask for low-sodium options or ask for no salt to be added to your dishes. Restaurants often add extra seasonings (many of which have sodium) and salt to vegetarian dishes to make up for the lack of meat and enhance the flavor.

A lot of restaurants cater to people practicing Lent this time of year, so you can always ask for their Lent specials. Otherwise, you can see there are plenty of options that are for the most part healthy and delicious. Bon Appetite!

What are some of your favorite meatless dishes to eat?

Photo credit: Bob Jagendorf

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