Lenten Staples: Vegetables

Lenten Staples: Vegetables

How do you create a fasting meal using the items you already have in your home?  With a few Lenten staples, the possibilities are limitless.

Below you will find 8 examples of meals I made using the vegetables I had available in my kitchen.  I have some basic recipes either in my head or in my favorite cookbooks that I refer to when making these meals.  If I don’t have every ingredient for the recipe, I’ll tweak it and either leave out a vegetable or substitute a different one into the meal.  You can rotate through some of your favorite meals this way and still feel like you’re eating something new each time.

Lenten Staples Vegetables



Lenten Meal-on-the-Go 

I make my own homemade versions of Lunchables using the Ziploc containers.  Many years ago, when my boys went for birthparent visits with their mom, she would almost always bring them a Lunchable.  All three of my boys have a dairy sensitivity so I have never bought Lunchables for them (let alone the cost and the quality of food in the container) – but…even all these years later, they get excited when I pack their lunch or dinner in these containers when we’re eating away from home.

I think they’re great during Lent when we have a long drive to church in the evenings and they can eat them on the way on Mondays and Fridays and then on the way home on Wednesdays.

This particular meal-on-the-go has pita, carrots, cucumber, broccoli, hummus, and nut & seed mix.



Bean & Veggie Sandwich

This was an experiment I created a couple of weeks ago – and it miraculously turned out that all four of my kids loved it and we’ve had it a few times since then!  Yay!!!

Bean Puree 

  • 1 can blackbeans, drained
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1 capful of ground cumin
  • juice of 1 small lemon


Blend in a food processor until smooth.  It will be slightly thinner than peanut butter.  Spread it onto your slice of bread and then top with your favorite veggies.  I used spinach, sliced cucumber, and tomatoes.


Gluten Free Vegetarian Bean & Veggie Sandwich

I substituted gluten free bread and toasted it.  (I think toasting gluten free bread helps it have more of a “normal” texture.)  I added the bean puree, fruit/veggies, and a little bit of feta.


DSC_0665Vegetable Stir Fry w/ Toasted Cashews

This is the basic recipe I used:  http://www.recipegirl.com/2007/02/21/asian-vegetable-stir-fry/

I toasted my cashews in the oven and then put them on top as a garnish.



Vegetable Soup

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil (optional)
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 3 carrots, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 handfuls of cherry tomatoes, sliced
  • handful of green beans, cut in half
  • 2 capfuls of oregano (about 2 tsp)
  • 1 capful of smoked paprika  (about 1 tsp)
  • 1 vegan bouillon cube (my favorite is the Rapunzel brand)
  • 32 fl. oz Pacific mushroom or vegetable broth
  • Salt and pepper


Sauté vegetables in the pot with the olive oil.  Add oregano, garlic, smoked paprika, vegan bouillon cube, salt, and pepper.  Add broth and simmer until ready to serve.




The universal throw everything you have together on top of a bed of lettuce or spinach and voila – a salad!  This particular salad is my kids’ favorite (minus the tomatoes for one of my kids) – it has spinach, cucumbers, broccoli, tomatoes, and sprinkled with roasted pepita seeds.  Add a greek dressing or squeeze the juice of a lemon with oregano and enjoy!



Vegetable Curry with Chick Peas & Wild Rice

This is very close to the recipe I make up off the top of my head for my vegetable curry:  http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/saras-secrets/vegetable-curry-with-chicken-if-you-want-recipe/index.html

Make the appropriate substitutions to make this recipe vegan.  I’m still tweaking my recipe before I’m comfortable posting it.  Aside from the curry sauce, I used – chick peas, frozen peas, carrots, and zucchini.  Indian food is our family’s ALL TIME FAVORITE family meal -whether it’s a korma, curry, dal, or sag.  This is not something my husband and I grew up eating.  We “discovered” it together and now it’s kinda our family’s thing.  I experiment often trying to learn my way through this delicious but foreign cooking experience.



Vegetable Spring Rolls

I braved making spring rolls for the very first time the other night.  Here’s the recipe I used: http://www.girlmakesfood.com/vegan-vietnamese-spring-rolls/



Quinoa with Sautéed Mushrooms & Onions with Fresh Tomatoes

Cook the quinoa per the instructions on the package.  (FYI – quinoa is high in protein!)  Saute mushrooms and one onion in olive oil until caramelized.  (It’s worth the wait!)  Sprinkle with salt & pepper and top with fresh cut tomatoes.  Seriously yummy.


*Fasting note:  PLEASE talk to your priest if you have any questions or concerns about fasting.  He is there to give you personalized guidance on your Lenten journey.

Food allergies and sensitivities seem to be very prevalent these days.  I see people talking online about how they wish they could fast but have food allergies.  We deal with the same thing in our family so I understand completely.  Please, please, please talk to your priest about it.  His guidance is important!

(The following is not guidance about fasting.  It is merely an example of something your priest may tell you about your personal situation.)  I cannot have gluten because of the way it reacts with my hormones.  My spiritual father told me that avoiding gluten, in my situation, is a fast in and of itself.  Take away the average person’s ability to have any bread during Lent and they are going to become very whiney.  Therefore, in my situation, I fast from gluten but have the occasional dairy because I’m pregnant.  My fast looks different from even the others living in the same home as myself, but…it’s no less difficult.  Seek out your priest and have a chat with him.


  1. Great Ideas, Jenny – you’re such a great cook AND photographer! The bean sandwich looks particularly yummy – I’ve never tried one with black beans before. My Father (of Blessed Memory) grew up on bean sandwiches just because they were so poor – but I’d eat them just because they taste good! : )

    • Those sandwiches are surprisingly, amazingly good! For some reason they fall into the comfort food category for me. Even Niki ate them…and liked them!


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