Monday, February 17, 2014

Menu for Every Day of Great Lent

The Ladder of Divine Ascent - Icon from Kykkos Monastery

Orthodox Pascha and Western (Catholic & Protestant) Easter coincide this year, so Ash Wednesday is only two days after Orthodox Green Monday. No matter which tradition you follow, I hope you find this menu helpful.

For Orthodox Christians, Great Lent starts in about a two weeks. During Lent, ideally speaking, we are to fast from Meat, Poultry, Most Fish, Dairy, Eggs, and many days, Oil and Wine. For many Orthodox Christians in America that means six weeks of only PB&J for Lunch, and a tiny handful of dinner menus that repeat constantly. I've known some people that were so repulsed the repetitiveness of their Lenten menu that they wasted all their Lenten food by throwing it in the trash on Pascha! (Most Lenten food freezes very well, and after Bright Week could go to good use)

There's nothing wrong with a super simple menu like that if you feel that is the level of asceticism that is right for you. In fact, it may be the Lenten ideal.

But, if you need more variety to be able to go the distance for Lent, here is a full Lenten Menu -  a different dish for each of the 50 days - no repeats! Great Lent is "40 Days" if you count without weekends or Holy Week - adding those days in, you need a 50 day menu. Each menu here is Vegan, and nearly all of them either are oil free or have an oil free option. The vast majority are also Gluten Free, or can easily be made Gluten Free with a simple substitution, like using Gluten Free Pasta or Bread. Most are Soy-free, or can be made Soy- free easily by using a Soy-Free Soy Sauce Substitute (I understand Coconut Aminos work). Many also have make-ahead suggestions, or are freezer friendly or Slow Cooker Friendly so that cooking doesn't have to distract you from prayer : )
When serving Lenten food, if you need more variety than the meal offers, then Accessorize your Lenten Table . Although I don't list it on every night's menu, I assume that most nights you will add such things to the table as bread, salad, olives, chopped veggies & dips.

For some extra thoughts on observing Lent, and ideas for how to make your Lent more meaningful, check out my Lent post from last year.

IF you want to observe Lent, but hate to cook, check out this post, which has ideas for Lent-Friendly restaurant fare, frozen meals, and deli meals, as well as some of my simplest recipes:
40 Day Lenten Menu for People Who Hate To Cook

Here's the menu:

1 Green Monday, Family Favorite Lentil Soup, Homemade Yeast Bread      
(as leftovers, this dish is delicious over Spaghetti!)
2 Indian Lemon Rice with Peas (go ahead and make the double seasoning packet - pop the other half in the freezer for the Lemony Dal to come later)
5 Pasta & Sauce with Garlic Bread and Super Simple Salad
6 Black Bean Enchiladas, Chips & Salsa     

7 Tabouli, Dolmades (Stuffed Grape Leaves from a Can), Olives, Hummus with Capers, White Bean Salad       
9 Stuffed Eggplant with  Dolmades (Stuffed Grape Leaves from a can)
11 Greek Chickpea Stew ( Revythia ) with Chopped Raw Veggies

12  Red Lentil Soup - Sephardic Style with Salad (if you want, go ahead and double the batch as the link describes, seasoning the second half with Moroccan seasonings to serve on day 50)
13 Orzo Pilaf with Black-Eyed Pea Salad          
14  Tofu Tamale Pie with Chips & Salsa 
15 Greek Style Black-Eyed Peas ( Louvia ) topped with chopped raw veggies. Bread
18 Fill Your Own Tortilla Night with Chips &  Salsa           
20 Bulgur Pilaf ( Pourgouri ) with Chopped Raw Veggies
22  Turnovers with Salad          
23 Eggplant Stew (if desired, use leftovers to top pizza on day 25)
25 Pizza with Salad
27 Mediterranean Chickpeas & Vegetables over rice or quinoa with Salad
28 Split Pea Soup with Salad     
29 Stuffed Manicotti with Salad
31 Barbecue, Rice, Cornbread or Corn Muffins, Succotash (Lima Beans & Corn), Slaw
33 Black Bean Soup (Slow Cooker), Chips & Guacamole        
35 Lentil & Rice Salad, Dolmades (purchased), Baba Ganoush ( Eggplant Dip ), Fruit         
36 Vegan Sausage Patties for Sandwiches & Baked Potato Chips      
37 Jambalaya, Better than Coleslaw        
38 Pad Thai, Simple Vegan       

39 Moujendra ( Mejadra ) with veggies       
40 Chili-Topped Potatoes, Salad      

47 Tofu Creole, Salad, Bread
48 Chickpeas in Ginger Sauce over Rice, Slaw, Bread
49 Mushroom Barley Soup,  (use Brown Rice in place of Barley for GF Option) and Bread


  1. What an AMAZING Menu! WOWZA! Excellent! Thanks for checking up on me and the comments! Means a lot! I have some catching up to do on your will be posting comments for a bit :)

    1. Thanks so much! It's great to see you back in the blogosphere - enjoyed your post today : )

  2. I salute you for this undertaking. That alone would be my Lenten commitment if I planned that many meals in advance. Thanks for linking to What'd You Do This Weekend.


    1. You're so sweet! It really wasn't so hard : ) Thanks for visiting again!

  3. I really enjoy your blog. The way you blend your faith with a food blog is great. Thanks for all the work you put into this post.

    1. Thanks so much for your kind comments. I am SO glad that you enjoy it! Hope you're able to visit again soon! : )

  4. All of this sounds so good. I can't imagine how long putting this all together took you.

    1. Thanks so much for visiting & for your kind comments. It wasn't SO hard to put together, but glad you like it : )

  5. This is fabulous! Thanks for sharing.

  6. What a wonderful menu! So great to see so many combinations of healthy plant food :-)

  7. Thank you! You are so generous to compile all these menu ideas together AND provide the recipes as well.
    Even if one did not follow the 50days of Lenten meals together, your menu ideas could provide omnivores with a once a week meatless meal (Meatless Mondays) for nearly a year!
    Well done and thank you so much.

    1. Thank you so much - actually this post is one of the things that inspired me to start blogging. I had so many Orthodox friends who knew I was Vegan & asked me what they could eat during Lent. I'd give them a list like this - then they'd ask for the recipes. So, blogging it just made sense : )

      I never thought of using this list for Meatless Mondays -but that is a great idea!

      Thanks for visiting again : )

  8. Wow, that's impressive! I have a hard enough time planning for two weeks. :p Thank you for sharing this at Savoring Saturdays!

    1. Thanks so much for your kind words - and for hosting a great blog hop! : )

  9. Wow this is a great list of recipes! Some I think I'll definitely have to try :) Thanks so much for linking up at the MaMade Blog Hop! Don't forget to stop back and link up again next week and see if you've been featured!

    1. Thank you so much! I really enjoy your blog -hop - thanks for hosting!

  10. Thank you for linking up on the Wonderful Wednesday/Get Inspired Linky Party! Can't wait to see what you link up next!

  11. Hi Anna,
    Thank you so much for sharing this healthy and delicious Lenten Menu and these amazing recipes on the Healthy, Happy, Green & Natural Blog Hop! I appreciate it!

  12. What a great resource for Lent and for vegans. Thanks for sharing at Inspire Us Thursday on Organized 31.

  13. Wow, what amazing recipes! I wanted to let you know that this was one of the most viewed posts in my "What are you doing this Lenten Season" linkup and I will be featuring you tomorrow in the Day 4 post of my 5 Days of Observing Lent series. Come stop by! :-)

  14. It's hard to come by knowledgeable people for this subject, however, you seem like
    you know what you're talking about! Thanks


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