First of the Month Recipe(s): Five Meatless Dishes You Can Cook During Lent

Carnevale has come and gone and the Lenten season is in full swing. In case you missed it, I told my Facebook fans about my plan, not to give something up for Lent, but to spend a little time each day doing something for someone else. So … if YOU need something, just shoot me a message and if possible-and legal!-I’ll happily oblige.

One of the traditions I’m not tweaking this year is the Catholic obligation to abstain from meat on Fridays. This doesn’t mean you are sentenced to six weeks of grilled cheese sandwiches and cheese pizza. Oh no, my friends, Italian food was created for vegetarians. With the rich array of cheese, vegetables and pasta, there is no limit to what you can do senza carne.

To help you get started, here are five of my favorite meatless Italian recipes.

1. Pasta Puttanesca

This salty concoction takes its name from the ladies of the night, but with black olives, capers and anchovies, it doesn’t matter what it is called, as long as it good. And trust me, it is good.

2. Shrimp and Asparagus Pasta

Crunchy asparagus and fresh shrimp are sauteed in butter and tossed with penne pasta. Does it get any better than this?

3. Gorgonzola and Grape Bruschetta

You might think bruschetta is just an appetizer, but if you eat enough of it-and believe, you’ll eat a lot of it-then it is a safe bet you won’t go to bed hungry. This bruschetta recipe calls for a bit of cream cheese, Gorgonzola cheese, sauteed onions and plump red grapes. Yum!

4. Cacio e Pepe

This is one of my favorite Roman recipes and it is ideal for a meatless Friday during Lent, a quick, easy pasta dish at the end of of a long day or a nice surprise for your vegetarian friends … and really, Italian cooking doesn’t get any easier than this.

5. Pasta e Ceci (Chickpea pasta)

This pasta dish is like chicken soup for the Calabrian soul. It is healthy, it is hearty and it is wholesome. Oh, and it is also delicious.

What is your favorite meatless Italian recipe to cook during Lent?

8 Responses
  1. I make the shrimp and asparagus with lobster. We find already cooked, frozen lobsters for 6 Euros at Christmas time and stock up for Lent. The same ingredients also make a good risotto if you use a veg stock. Sometimes I tweak it with fresh corn, cut from cob, tomatoes and basil.

    I *so* shouldn’t have read your comment before lunch. These sound fabulous!

    .-= Martha´s last blog ..March 1, 2010 =-.

  2. Since I am on a low carb diet, my favorite vegetarian dish is impossible, but the Umbrian version of pasta e fagioli I published a couple of years ago is IT.
    You coastal types can have spaghetti alle vongole. Mmmm.

    Hmmm, I’ll have to look up your Umbrian version. I love pasta e fagioli!

  3. I could quite happily eat these pasta dishes all year round, not just for lent. The less meat with my pasta the better. 🙂

    I’m with you-I could (and do) eat these all of the time. I do love a good amatriciana, though!

    .-= anne´s last blog ..Our Anniversary Evening…… =-.

  4. Oh boy – I completely forgot about pasta e ceci. I’ve got to make it this week. I’ve been eating shrimp with pasta, crabcakes and steamed mussels on these Lenten meatless days.

    Oooh, crabcakes sound pretty good to me, Linda!

  5. I’m always amazed at the apparent simplicity of Italian regional food; proves how the secret to good food is fresh ingredients. Going to try the cacio e pepe tomorrow (in theory even I can’t mess this one up…)

    Can’t wait to hear what you think. BTW, I wrote about you today (for tomorrow’s post!)

    .-= andrew´s last blog ..The great debate on French culture [1] =-.

  6. Hilary

    Our staple during lent is the frittata, and the possibilities are endless. Another good meatless pasta…the norma! Or pasta with tuna, which is what I am making tonight.

    Ha! That’s what I made, too! 😉

  7. Pizza! I love veggie-topped pizza anyhow, I don’t even need it to have sauce on it. In fact last night I made a dough, chopped up some scallions and parsley and threw those on top with some garlic powder and salt, then covered it up with strips of fresh mozzarella. It turned out delicious! Of course I eat a lot of pasta too. I’m pretty much a carb hog. 🙂

    Ha. I’m on the No Carb Left Behind program, myself. Your pizza sounds fab!

    .-= Maria´s last blog ..Mar 1, Quick Pizza Dough Recipe =-.

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