64 Dinners to Love During Lent—That Aren’t Fish

Updated: Mar. 31, 2024

During the Lenten season, meat on Fridays is a big no-no. But you don't have to turn to the same fish dinner each week. From kicked-up tacos to veggie pizza, cheesy manicotti to hearty chili, these Lent recipes give you plenty of options.

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Contest-Winning Black Bean Soup

Black bean soup recipes are among my favorite meals for Lent because they’re light and don’t contain meat. —Angee Owens, Lufkin, Texas

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Ziti Bake

My children have frowned upon many of my casserole recipes, but they give a cheer when they hear we’re having baked ziti for supper. I’ve tried to incorporate more meatless meals into our menus, which is how this recipe got started. No one misses the meat. They even like the leftovers! —Charity Burkholder, Pittsboro, Indiana
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Pierogi Casserole

My husband never tires of this hearty pierogi casserole, no matter how many times I serve it. It's great for potlucks, too! —Margaret Popou, Kaslo, British Columbia
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Meatless Chili Mac

I came across this recipe in a newspaper years ago and it’s been a hit at our house ever since. It’s a flavorful and fast meal for Lent that appeals to all ages. — Cindy Ragan, North Huntingdon, Pennsylvania
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Bean Burritos

I always have the ingredients for this cheesy bean burrito recipe on hand. Cooking the rice and shredding the cheese the night before save precious minutes at dinnertime. —Beth Osborne Skinner, Bristol, Tennessee
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Vegetarian Enchilada Bake

I’ve had this vegetarian enchilada bake recipe for years. You’ll enjoy the delicious Tex-Mex flavors so much that you won't even miss the meat. —Barbara Stelluto, Devon, Pennsylvania
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Veggie-Cashew Stir-Fry

Getting my meat-loving husband and two sons, ages 5 and 7, to eat more veggies had always been a struggle until I whipped up this stir-fry. I was shocked when they cleaned their plates and asked for seconds. —Abbey Hoffman, Ashland, Ohio
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Mushroom and Sweet Potato Potpie

The last time I was in the U.S., I had an amazing mushroom and beer potpie at a small brewpub. It was so rich and comforting. I tried numerous versions when I got home and I think I've come pretty close! —Iben Ravn, Copenhagen, Denmark
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Broccoli Mac & Cheese Bake

My husband made a version of this Lent-friendly casserole for me on our first date. Over the 11 years we’ve been married, we’ve made several changes to the ingredients and now it’s even better than the original. —Lisa DeMarsh, Mount Solon, Virginia
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Moroccan Vegetable Stew

This fragrant, spicy vegetable stew can be served over couscous or with warm pita bread. Try topping the Moroccan dish with a dollop of yogurt or sour cream to cool it down. —Sonya Labbe, West Hollywood, California
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Ravioli Casserole

The whole family will love the fun, cheesy flavor of this ravioli casserole. It’s like lasagna—without all the fuss! Timesaving ingredients such as prepared spaghetti sauce and frozen ravioli make it a cinch to fix. Children can help you assemble this one. —Mary Ann Rothert, Austin, Texas
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Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese

I created this dish after my father had triple bypass surgery. He loves comfort food and I wanted him to be able to enjoy a rich and tasty dish like mac & cheese without all the fat and butter. It's also a great way to sneak in some veggies for children. —Megan Schwartz, New York, New York
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Fettuccine with Black Bean Sauce

When my husband needed to go on a heart-smart diet, I had to come up with new ways to get more vegetables into our daily meals. This meatless spaghetti sauce is a winner; it's especially delicious with spinach fettuccine. —Marianne Neuman, East Troy, Wisconsin
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Veggie Nicoise Salad

More and more people in my workplace are becoming vegetarians. When we cook or eat together, the focus is on fresh produce. This salad combines some of our favorite ingredients in one dish—and with the hard-boiled eggs and kidney beans, it delivers enough protein to satisfy those who are skeptical of vegetarian fare. —Elizabeth Kelley, Chicago, Illinois
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Tuscan Portobello Stew

Here’s a healthy one-skillet meal that’s quick and easy to prepare yet elegant enough for company. I often take this stew to my school’s potlucks, where it is devoured by teachers and students alike. —Jane Siemon, Viroqua, Wisconsin
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Penne with Veggies and Black Beans

Chock-full of zucchini, tomatoes, sweet pepper and carrots, this hearty pasta dish puts your garden harvest to good use. For variety, I sometimes add one-half cup of salsa or one-half cup of thickened teriyaki sauce. —Vickie Spoerle, Indianapolis, Indiana
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Tortellini with Tomato Spinach Cream Sauce

I enjoy all things pasta, and tortellini is my favorite. The flavor of this dish is amazing. Even my husband, who hates pasta of any kind, loves it! It's a great recipe for non-spinach fans to try, too. —Jenny Dubinsky, Inwood, West Virginia
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Caribbean Potato Soup

My bright and hearty soup features an unusual blend of ingredients, including okra, kale and black-eyed peas. No kale on hand? Use spinach instead. —Crystal Jo Bruns, Iliff, Colorado
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Penne with Tomatoes & White Beans

I learned how to make this dish from friends in Genoa, Italy, where they're known for creating tasty combinations of veggies, pasta and beans. You can sub feta cheese to give this a Greek twist. —Trisha Kruse, Eagle, Idaho
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Black Bean and Rice Enchiladas

I love Mexican food, but I’m always looking for ways to make it more healthy. I “renovated” a dish that I have enjoyed in restaurants to suit my taste and lifestyle. —Christie Ladd, Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania
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Fiery Stuffed Poblanos

I love Southwest-inspired cuisine, but the dishes are often unhealthy. As a dietitian, I try to come up with nutritious twists on recipes, which is how my stuffed peppers dish was born. —Amber Massey, Argyle, Texas
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Skillet Mac & Cheese

This creamy mac ’n’ cheese is so simple it’s almost too easy! —Ann Bowers, Rockport, Texas
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Hearty Chickpea Potpie

This veggie potpie is so savory and satisfying! The spring veggies, easy prep and impressive presentation make it a perfect addition to Easter or other family dinners. —Deanna McDonald, Grand Rapids, Michigan
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Vegan Jambalaya

This flavorful entree won’t leave you hungry since it uses convenient canned beans in place of meat. —Crystal Jo Bruns, Iliff, Colorado
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Garbanzo-Vegetable Green Curry

My son loves anything with coconut milk, so I always keep some on hand for weeknight meals like this one. For a milder version, I like to use red or yellow curry paste instead of green. —Marie Parker, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
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Homemade Fettuccine Alfredo

This easy Alfredo sauce is creamy, comforting and coats fettuccine noodles in fine fashion. This recipe is wonderful as is, but sometimes I like to add sliced fresh mushrooms and black olives that have been sautéed in butter and garlic. —Jo Gray, Park City, Montana
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Thai Pasta with Spicy Peanut Sauce

We love how the whole wheat pasta and crisp, raw vegetables blend with the rich and creamy peanut sauce. The addition of fresh lime juice really brightens the flavor of the dish. Some eat it hot, but my husband and I prefer to wait until it's closer to room temperature. —Donna McCallie, Lake Park, Florida
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Black Bean Tortilla Casserole

A cousin gave me this black bean casserole recipe—she knows my family loves Southwestern fare. —Sue Briski, Appleton, Wisconsin
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Porcini Mac & Cheese

This recipe was inspired by a mushroom mac and cheese I had at a local restaurant. I incorporated the fall flavor of a pumpkin ale, and it turned out better than the original. —Laura Davis, Chincoteague, Virginia
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Roasted Butternut Linguine

Squash is one of our favorite vegetables, and this is my husband's preferred fall dish. He looks forward to it all year! —Kim Caputo, Cannon Falls, Minnesota
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Tortellini with Asparagus & Lemon

This is a terrific warm-weather dish, loaded with fresh flavors. I make mine meatless. —Crystal Schlueter, Northglenn, Colorado
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Sweet Potato Chili Bake

I’m a vegetarian and wanted to develop some dishes that are a little heartier than traditional vegetarian fare. I created this recipe, and even my 1-year-old loves it! —Jillian Tournoux, Massillon, Ohio
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Slow-Cooked Stuffed Peppers

My favorite kitchen appliance is the slow cooker, and I use mine more than anyone else I know. It does a great job with this good-for-you dish. —Michelle Gurnsey, Lincoln, Nebraska
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Stuffed Pasta Shells

These savory shells never fail to make a big impression, even though the recipe is very easy. One or two of these shells makes a great individual serving at a potluck, so a single batch goes a long way. —Jena Coffey, St. Louis, Missouri
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Mushroom Broccoli Pizza

I wouldn't say I'm a vegetarian, but I do like meatless entrees. Since I enjoy gardening, I often cook with homegrown veggies, finding creative ways to use them up, like in this fresh, filling pizza. —Kathleen Kelley, Roseburg, Oregon
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Vegetarian Linguine

Looking for a tasty alternative to a meat-and-potatoes meal? Try this colorful pasta dish, which is the brainchild of my oldest son. It’s a stick-to-your-ribs meal that includes loads of fresh veggies as well as basil and provolone. —Jane Bone, Cape Coral, Florida
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Lemony Vegetables and Pasta

My refreshing pasta dish comes together in 30 minutes. Its simplicity and flavor combinations are typical of authentic Italian cuisine. Buon appetito! —Erin Mylroie, Santa Clara, Utah
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Veggie Tacos

These vegetarian tacos are stuffed with a blend of sauteed cabbage, peppers and black beans so filling, you won't miss the meat. Top with avocado, cheese or a dollop of sour cream. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
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Blushing Penne Pasta

I reworked this recipe from an original that called for vodka and heavy whipping cream. My friends and family had a hard time believing a sauce this rich, flavorful and creamy could be light. —Margaret Wilson, Hemet, California
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Provolone Ziti Bake

As easy as it is filling and delicious, this Italian meal appeals to everyone—and they won’t even miss the meat. Serve with salad and hot French bread, and watch it disappear. —Vicky Palmer, Albuquerque, New Mexico
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Chickpea & Potato Curry

I make chana masala, the classic Indian chickpea curry, in my slow cooker. First browning the onion, ginger and garlic really makes the sauce amazing. —Anjana Devasahayam, San Antonio, Texas
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Baked Mac and Cheese

Even people who have had their own homemade baked macaroni and cheese recipe for years ask for mine when they taste this crumb-topped version. For the best baked mac and cheese, use extra-sharp cheddar cheese for more flavor. —Shelby Thompson, Dover, Delaware
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Tasty Lentil Tacos

When my husband's cholesterol numbers rose, I quickly lowered the fat in our family's diet. Finding dishes that were healthy for him and yummy for our five children was a challenge, but this fun taco recipe was a huge hit with everyone. —Michelle Thomas, Bangor, Maine
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Homemade Manicotti

These tender manicotti are much easier to stuff than the purchased variety. People are always amazed when I say I make my own noodles. My son fixed this recipe for several of his friends, and they were extremely impressed with his cooking skills. —Sue Ann Bunt, Painted Post, New York
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Herbed Artichoke Cheese Tortellini

This flavor-packed meatless recipe features tomatoes, black olives and artichoke hearts tossed with tender cheese tortellini. —Karen Anzelc, Peoria, Arizona
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Black Bean & Corn Quinoa

Some vegan quinoa recipes are boring, but this one definitely isn't. My daughter’s college asked parents for the best quinoa recipes to use in the dining halls. This healthy quinoa recipe fits the bill. —Lindsay McSweeney, Winchester, Massachusetts
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Spicy Lentil & Chickpea Stew

This recipe came to me from a friend who had worked at a health food store. I changed a few things until I found a version that my family loved. My son doesn't like things too spicy, so I make the stew milder for him and add a sprinkle of extra spice in mine. My husband, who farms, works outdoors for long hours at a time and finds this soup hearty enough to keep him satisfied. —Melanie MacFarlane, Bedeque, Prince Edward Island
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Stir-Fry Rice Bowl

My meatless version of Korean bibimbap is tasty, pretty and easy to tweak for different spice levels. —Devon Delaney, Westport, Connecticut
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Mushroom-Bean Bourguignon

In our family, boeuf bourguignon has been a staple for generations. I wanted a meatless alternative. All this dish needs is a French baguette. —Sonya Labbe, West Hollywood, California
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Quick Italian Veggie Skillet

When you don’t know what to serve, Italian flavors are a good starting point. We combine cannellini and garbanzo beans for this snappy rice dish. —Sonya Labbe, West Hollywood, California
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Spinach and Artichoke Pizza

My from-scratch pizza has a whole wheat crust flavored with beer. Top it with spinach, artichoke hearts, tomatoes and fresh basil. —Raymonde Bourgeois, Swastika, Ontario
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Vegetarian Black Bean Pasta

This black bean pasta was something I created as a teenager, back when I was a vegetarian. Now that my daughter doesn't eat meat, she asks for this dinner several times a week. —Ashlynn Azar, Beaverton, Oregon
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Slow-Cooker Mac and Cheese

This classic casserole is a rich and cheesy meatless main dish. I've never met anyone who didn't ask for a second helping. —Bernice Glascoe, Roxboro, North Carolina
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Homemade Ravioli

I love to bake and cook, especially Italian dishes like this homemade ravioli recipe. In fact, my idea of a perfect day consists of cooking my family's favorite foods then watching them dig in!—Lori Daniels, Hartland, Michigan
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Make-Ahead Spinach Manicotti

When I invite people to dinner, many have started requesting this pasta bake ahead of time because it's that good. Plus, the manicotti is stuffed before it's cooked, making it even more convenient. —Christy Freeman, Central Point, Oregon
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Mushroom Bolognese with Whole Wheat Pasta

A traditional Bolognese sauce is meat-based with everything from pork to pancetta. Skipping the meat, I loaded this pasta dish with baby portobellos and veggies. —Amber Massey, Argyle, Texas
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African Peanut Sweet Potato Stew

Back when I was in college, my mom made an addicting sweet potato and peanut stew. I shared it with friends, and now all of us serve it to our own kids. They all love it, of course. —Alexis Scatchell, Niles, Illinois
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Spicy Veggie Pasta Bake

My dad cooked with cast-iron skillets, so when I do, I remember his amazing culinary skills. I keep the tradition going with my veggie pasta. —Sonya Goergen, Moorhead, Minnesota
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Homemade Polish Pierogi

My mother measured ingredients for these using her hand. We've passed the recipe down over the years as the family has grown. —Veronica Weinkauf, South Bend, Indiana
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Butternut & Portobello Lasagna

Lasagna gets fresh flavor and color when you make it with roasted butternut squash, portobello mushrooms, basil and spinach. We feast on this. —Edward and Danielle Walker, Traverse City, Michigan
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Cheesy Spinach-Stuffed Shells

This is my own personal recipe. I'm very proud of it because I am still a beginner cook and it was the first recipe I created. You can adjust it to your liking by doubling the spinach or adding some meat. —Laci Hooten, McKinney, Texas
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Muffin-Tin Lasagnas

This is a super fun way to serve lasagna for make-ahead lunches, potlucks or other fun get-togethers. My daughter took some of these to work and by noon was emailing me for the recipe. —Sally Kilkenny, Granger, Iowa
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Black Bean Tortilla Pie

I found this entree a while ago and decreased the cheese and increased the herbs called for in the recipe. It’s one of my toddler’s favorite meals. She always smiles when she sees it on the table. —Wendy Kelly, Petersburg, New York
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Quinoa-Stuffed Squash Boats

My colorful “boats” with quinoa, garbanzo beans and pumpkin seeds use delicata squash, a winter squash with edible skin that’s cream-colored with green stripes. In a pinch, acorn squash will do—but don't eat the skin! —Lauren Knoelke, Milwaukee, Wisconsin