Eating meatless meals for Lent doesn't have to be a struggle with your kids.
Check out these delicious and EASY Lenten recipes for busy families.
When I was a kid, eating meatless meals for Lent usually meant a dreaded fish sandwich from the school cafeteria. If I was lucky, we'd be observing an even stricter fast and have just a simple bowl of plain white rice which I found significantly more palatable.
Now that I'm an adult who has learned to appreciate seafood, it's a whole lot easier for me to observe the meatless Fridays during Lent. I love the challenge of finding new Lent recipes each year that push me out of our comfort zone.
I've taken this season on as an opportunity to talk with my kids about how often we eat meat, why we are choosing to abstain from it, and to introduce them to some new dishes that don't hit our rotation quite as often. I hope that their experiences with fish on Friday is a lot more positive than mine was.
RELATED: How to introduce seafood to your kids so they become fish lovers for life.
But for the meal planners amongst us, why is it that being told you shouldn't be eating meat makes it nearly impossible to plan a dinner without it?? Even though we eat plenty of meatless dishes throughout the year, it can be nearly impossible to come up with an idea on the Fridays during Lent when I'm put on the spot!
30 meatless meals for Lent your kids will actually eat
Today I'm sharing 30 Lent recipes that will work for every Friday during Lent for those of you who observe. I've broken it down into three sections:
- Seafood meals with shrimp or fish
- Meatless soups
- Meatless pasta & rice dishes
And don't miss the 5 ridiculously easy busy night ideas that don't even require a recipe at the very end!
Below you'll find creative meatless options for even picky eaters who can't tolerate any sort of fish. I hope this helps make your meal planning in the coming weeks a little bit easier and more inspired!
P.S. Looking for more easy recipes for Lent? Follow along with my Meatless for Lent Pinterest Board!
Please note: several of the recipes do involve chicken stock. I did some research and it appears that is allowed but if you want to be extra safe, you can easily swap out vegetable or fish stock in any of the recipes you need. Curious about the rules for what you can eat during Lent? This article has really great in-depth descriptions of what is allowed and what is not.
Family-friendly Seafood Recipes for Lent:
Shrimp is a top favorite for the Peanut and myself but Handyman Tim and Little Pea aren't as big of fans. Our family also loves salmon and tilapia.
Many of these recipes are interchangeable with your fish of choice, whatever your kids love will work.
- Sautéed spicy shrimp with lemony orzo: The spice level can be adjusted to your kids' tastes.
- Slowcooker spicy shrimp stew: A great dinner for a busy evening.
- 16-minute shrimp scampi: We make this pasta dish at least once a month, even when it isn't Lent!
- Mustard glazed salmon with couscous and oranges: Our very favorite way to enjoy salmon. It has the best texture.
- Salmon salad featuring blueberries, tomatoes, basil, and wild rice: A healthy dinner salad, it is also a great way to use leftovers.
- Sheet pan teriyaki salmon: Sheet pan dinners are perfect for busy nights. I love the easy clean-up.
- Easy make-ahead macadamia crusted halibut with lemon butter cream sauce: This is great for a special occasion dinner that may fall during Lent. We've even made it for Christmas!
- Shrimp and gnocchi with garlic cream sauce: Comfort food at it's very best. If you like alfredo, you'll love this.
- Tuscan shrimp with spinach and tomatoes: A great way to mix in some veggies with the shrimp.
- Beer battered buffalo shrimp sliders: Yum, yum, yum. These sliders are perfect for Friday nights.
A note on shrimp:
Shrimp is a perfect Lent recipe for kids. Mix and match it with any sides you have in your pantry or freezer and a bag of frozen veggies or a salad.
You'll just want to follow a few tricks:
- Start by thawing frozen shrimp so they don't get soggy.
- Learn how to cook frozen shrimp so it keeps its texture.
- Serve it with one of our favorite dipping sauces for shrimp.
Meatless Soup Recipes for Lent:
I love a simple soup for dinner. Just serve these with your favorite homemade bread or easy refrigerator biscuits or a classic grilled cheese! When your kids are just DONE with fish, these are great alternatives.
- Cheese tortellini soup: Lighter and healthier than it sounds. YOu can mix and match the veggies as you wish.
- Gnocchi soup with lemon and dill: One of my favorite recipes of all time. So perfect for spring.
- Tuscan chicken soup: Leave out the chicken, there are so many veggies that compensate.
- Veggie corn chowder: All veggies but still thick and creamy.
- Broccoli and cheese soup: This is a great way to get kids to enjoy broccoli. Double-win!
- Creamy carrot and ginger soup: A fun mix for a fancier grilled cheese.
- Instant Pot creamy tomato soup: A quick and easy classic. We make this all year long.
- Cauliflower chowder: Be sure to skip the bacon!
- Thai butternut squash soup: Be sure to grab the pre-cut butternut squash to keep this easy.
- Creamy crab soup: One seafood soup for the family that can't get enough.
Meatless Pasta & Rice Recipes for Lent:
My kids could LIVE on pasta alone. But, mama can only handle buttered noodles so often.
From spicy to creamy, there is sure to be something on this list that will please your family!
- Fettucini Alfredo with peas: My kids beg for this recipe all the time. So quick and easy.
- Stovetop macaroni and cheese: Better than boxed, this is sure to be a hit.
- Fusilli with lemon, arugula, and tomato: This is one of my personal favorites. I love to make it every spring.
- Spring risotto with peas and asparagus: When you're sick of pasta, a creamy risotto is wonderful comfort food.
- Caprese pesto pasta salad: My kids love pesto anything.
- Spicy Thai peanut noodles: Still tasty even without the sticky chicken!
- 15-minute vegetable lo mein noodles: You could pair this with shrimp if you needed more protein.
- Meatless vegetable fried rice: You can add extra egg to boost the protein.
- Pasta all'arrabbiata: This means "angry pasta" and all the spice while definitely keep you satisfied without the meat.
- Roasted vegetables pasta: With enough variety, your tastebuds will be so busy they won't miss the meat.
BONUS: 5 EASY Dinner ideas for Lent that don't require a recipe:
And for the craziest of busy evenings, sometimes you just need to rely on the shortcuts! There is no shame in whipping together a dinner out of one of these meatless menus:
- Poached or scrambled eggs, toast, fresh fruit
- Frozen breaded tilapia cutlets with boxed mac and cheese & frozen veg
- Grilled cheese & store-bought tomato soup
- Cheese pizza--frozen or delivery!
- Breakfast for Dinner: pancakes, waffles, or french toast