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The Ultimate Lenten Meal Plan

Whether you abstain from meat throughout the entire Lenten season or just on Fridays, these meals are sure to hit the spot. We handpicked a variety of fish, seafood and vegetarian dinners for every night of Lent.

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Day 1: Speedy Salmon Patties

I combine seven easy ingredients for this salmon patty recipe. When I was a girl growing up on the farm, my mom often fixed these when we were late in the field. These salmon cakes are also tasty with chopped green peppers added to the mixture. —Bonnie Evans, Cameron, North Carolina

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(Here are more of some of the best dinners for Lent.)

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Day 2: Catfish Parmesan

Mississippi is the nation's largest producer of farm-raised catfish. My family loves this dish, and asks for it often. One reason I like it is it's so simple to prepare. —Mrs. W.D. Baker, Starkville, Mississippi
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Day 3: Halibut Enchiladas

North meets south of the border in this dish. I roll our local Alaskan halibut into tortillas. It's one of my most requested recipes and a mainstay for potlucks and wedding buffets. —Carole Derifield, Valdez, Alaska
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Day 4: Asparagus Tuna Noodle Casserole

I updated a traditional tuna casserole using fresh asparagus and asparagus soup. This is so different and so delicious. Use frozen asparagus when fresh is not in season. —Nancy Heishman, Las Vegas, Nevada
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Day 5: Seafood-Stuffed Salmon Fillets

You could get stuffed salmon from a big-box store, but my fillets are loaded with flavor from crab, cream cheese and savory herbs. We love them. —Mary Cokenour, Monticello, Utah
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Day 6: Pretzel-Crusted Catfish

I'm not a big fish lover, so any concoction that has me loving fish is a "keeper" in my books. This combination of flavors just works for me. It's wonderful served with a nice buttery herb rice pilaf and corn muffins with butter and honey! —Kelly Williams, Forked River, New Jersey
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Day 7: Veg Jambalaya

This flavorful entree uses convenient canned beans in place of the meat—and never lets you leave hungry. —Crystal Jo Bruns, Iliff, Colorado
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Day 8: 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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Day 9: 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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Day 10: Pesto Halibut

The mildness of halibut contrasts perfectly with the robust flavor of pesto in this recipe. It takes only minutes to get the fish ready for the oven, leaving you plenty of time to get started on your side dishes. Nearly anything goes well with this entree. —April Showalter, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
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Day 11: Nutty Cheese Tortellini

I like to plant Italian flat-leaf parsley in a long terra-cotta planter, so I have it on hand. The Italian parsley really lends itself to this pasta dish. —Barb Kramer, Endwell, New York
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Day 12: Lemon-Batter Fish

Fishing is a popular recreational activity where we live, so folks are always looking for ways to prepare their catches. My husband ranks this as one of his favorites. —Jackie Hannahs, Cedar Springs, Michigan
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Day 13: Spinach 'n' Broccoli Enchiladas

I like to top this wonderful meatless meal with lettuce and serve it with extra picante sauce. It's quick, easy, filled with fresh flavor and definitely satisfying! —Lesley Tragesser, Charleston, Missouri
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Day 14: Garbanzo Bean Burgers

These chickpea burgers are totally awesome. I think I’d rather have one than any cheeseburger at a restaurant. They really rock! —Berea Rider, East Point, Kentucky
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Day 15: Maple-Glazed Salmon

I have a few good recipes for family-favorite, heart-healthy salmon, but this one is always a hit. I serve it this way at least once a week and sometimes more! —David Krisko of Becker, Minnesota
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Day 16: 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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Day 17: Tilapia with Cucumber Relish

I spotted this easy entree on a recipe card in my local fish market. Although my husband isn’t big on fish, he enjoys this mild-tasting tilapia. The relish adds garden-fresh flavor and pretty color to the lightly browned fillets. — Mary VanHollebeke, Wyandotte, Michigan
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Day 18: Garlic Bread Tuna Melts

There's something extra comforting about a tuna melt on a chilly day. Take it up a few notches with garlic, cheese and tomatoes. —Aimee Bachmann, Bellevue, Washington
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Day 19: Cauliflower & Tofu Curry

Cauliflower, garbanzo beans and tofu are subtle on their own, but together they make an awesome base for curry. We have this recipe weekly because one of us is always craving it. It’s also a great dish if you’re new to tofu. —Patrick McGilvray, Cincinnati, Ohio
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Day 20: Fish Tacos

A cool sauce with just a bit of zing tops these breaded fish tacos (that are actually healthy!). This recipe is a delicious guilt-free dish that doesn't break the bank. —Lena Lim, Seattle, Washington
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Day 21: Mom's Macaroni and Cheese

The wonderful homemade goodness of this creamy Velveeta mac and cheese makes it a staple side dish in my mother's kitchen and in mine as well. It has tender noodles and a crowd-pleasing golden crumb topping. —Maria Costello, Monroe, North Carolina
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Day 22: Grilled Tilapia Piccata

We aren’t big fish eaters, but a friend made this for us, and we couldn’t believe how wonderful it was! Now we eat it regularly. I love making it for guests because it’s simple, looks lovely and tastes restaurant-worthy. —Beth Cooper, Columbus, Ohio
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Day 23: 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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Day 24: Honey Walleye

Our state is known as the Land of 10,000 Lakes, so fishing is a favorite hobby here. This recipe is my quick way to prepare all the fresh walleye hooked by the anglers in my family. —Kitty McCue, St. Louis Park, Minnesota
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Day 25: Couscous Tabbouleh with Fresh Mint & Feta

Using couscous instead of bulgur for tabbouleh really speeds up the process of making this colorful salad. Other quick-cooking grains, such as barley or quinoa, also work well. —Elodie Rosinovsky, Brighton, Massachusetts
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Day 26: Italian Style Pizzas

With prepared pesto and pizza crusts, this recipe comes together in a flash. It makes two, and we love that we each get our own Italian style pizza! I like to complete the meal with a salad and fresh fruit. —Trisha Kruse, Eagle, Idaho
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Day 27: Salmon with Root Vegetables

This cozy hash is loaded with protein and healthy fats that keep you going on busy days. We've been known to devour it at breakfast, lunch and dinner! —Courtney Stultz, Weir, Kansas
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Day 28: Veggie Lasagna

No one will even miss the meat when you serve this vegetable-rich lasagna. It has a fresh, full-bodied flavor. To save time, prepare the carrot and spinach layers in advance. —Mary Jane Jones, Williamstown, West Virginia
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Day 29: Broiled Greek Fish Fillets

Combine olives, onion, dill and feta cheese in a tangy, Greek-inspired topping to boost the flavor of tilapia or your favorite whitefish. —Jennifer Maslowski, New York, New York
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Day 30: Homemade Fish Sticks

I am a nutritionist and needed a healthy fish fix. Moist inside and crunchy outside, these are great with oven fries or roasted veggies and low-fat homemade tartar sauce. —Jennifer Rowland, Elizabethtown, Kentucky
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Day 31: Ziti Bake

Many of my casserole recipes have been frowned upon by my children, 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 baked ziti without meat got started. No one misses the meat in this one. Even the leftovers are well-liked.—Charity Burkholder, Pittsboro, Indiana
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Day 32: Crumb-Topped Sole

Looking for a low-carb supper that’s ready in a hurry? These buttery sole fillets have just a dab of rich sauce and are topped with toasty bread crumbs. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
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Day 33: Italian Herb-Lentil Patties with Mozzarella

My family has requested this meatless recipe over and over again. It is simple to prepare and even meat lovers like it. —Geri Lucas, Oldsmar, Florida
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Day 34: Spicy Sweet Potato Kale Cannellini Soup

This cross between a soup and a stew fits the meatless Monday bill quite nicely. It warms you right up, and satisfies without leaving you overstuffed.—Marybeth Mank, Mesquite, Texas
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Day 35: Parmesan-Broiled Tilapia

I love that simple Parmesan cheese brings such richness to an otherwise mild-tasting fish. It's one dish where leftovers are never a problem! —Tracy Locken, Gillette, Wyoming
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Day 36: Seafood Casserole

A family favorite, this rice casserole is filled with plenty of seafood and veggies. It's hearty, homey and so easy to make. —Nancy Billups, Princeton, Iowa
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Day 37: 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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Day 38: Salmon with Creamy Dill Sauce

There's nothing like fresh salmon, and my mom bakes it just right so it nearly melts in your mouth. The sour cream dill sauce is subtly seasoned with horseradish so that it doesn't overpower the delicate salmon flavor. —Susan Emery, Everett, Washington
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Day 39: Satisfying Tomato Soup

After craving tomato soup, I decided to make my own. My sister Joan likes it chunky-style, so she doesn't puree. Serve it with a grilled cheese sandwich. —Marian Brown, Mississauga, Ontario
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Day 40: Southwestern Fish Tacos

These bright tacos take me on an instant trip to sunny Southern California. The recipe has been on my family's most requested list for years. —Joan Hallford, North Richland Hills, Texas

Katie Bandurski
Katie is an Associate Editor for Taste of Home, specializing in writing and email newsletters. When she’s out of the office, you’ll find her exploring Wisconsin, trying out new vegetarian recipes and combing through antique shops.
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