30 Healthy Lent-Friendly Recipes for Weight Loss
In the Catholic faith, the six weeks or 40 days leading up to Easter Sunday are considered the Lent season. During this time of solemn observance, it's customary for Catholics to voluntarily give up at least one usual creature comfort to reflect on the sacrifices of Jesus Christ, and this includes some days of fasting from red meat and poultry. Traditionally during this time, Catholics who observe Lent abstain from eating meat red meat or poultry on the first day of the season, Ash Wednesday, and every Friday thereafter through the Friday before Easter, aka Good Friday. Although this means that land animals are not eaten at all, those who observe Lent are still able to consume protein via fish and other seafood. But if you're currently on your own weight loss journey, which Lent-friendly dishes should you eat without risking falling off course?
If you're choosing to fast in observance of your faith, but are used to eating meat on a regular basis, you may be at a loss for what to cook this month. Cutting this food group out of your diet and following a pescatarian diet even temporarily might seem especially challenging, especially if you're in pursuit of healthy proteins that can help keep you on track with your weight loss goals.
To help you stay healthy and not get tired of the same old food every day, we've rounded up 30 meatless, Lent-friendly recipes for Fridays that are nutrient-filled, helpful for weight loss, and delicious. In fact, they are so yummy, you won't even feel like you're fasting!
Instant Pot Shrimp & Broccoli
For those who own an Instant Pot, this shrimp and broccoli recipe is quick, delicious, and healthy. You can make it with regular rice or cauliflower rice, but either way you'll get a nutrient boost that suits both your weight loss goals and Lent observance.
Get our recipe for Shrimp and Broccoli.
Grilled Vegetable Wrap With Balsamic Mayo
If you're looking for a quick lunch to take on the go, this grilled vegetable wrap with balsamic mayonnaise is the perfect Lent-friendly choice. It's so flavorful that you won't even miss the meat!
Get our recipe for Grilled Veggie Wrap.
Scrambled Eggs with Salmon, Asparagus, and Goat Cheese
Start off a Lenten Friday morning with these scrambled eggs that don't lack any flavor thanks to the additions of asparagus and creamy goat cheese. You won't even miss the bacon!
Get our recipe for Scrambled Eggs With Salmon, Asparagus, and Goat Cheese.
Cinnamon Roll Overnight Oats
If mornings are usually filled with savory foods, take one Friday breakfast to explore some sweet options with overnight oat recipes like this that can also easily be taken on the road to school or work.
Get our recipe for Cinnamon Roll Overnight Oats.
Vegetarian Black Bean Omelet
Another breakfast staple without any meat, this omelet is still hearty and filling—perfect for a full day of work or school before the weekend.
Get our recipe for Vegetarian Black Bean Omelet.
Greek Yogurt With Pineapple, Kiwi, Mango, & Ginger Syrup
Treat yourself after a long week and a day of fasting from meat with this sweet and flavorful dessert. The extra protein in the Greek yogurt, as well as the lower sugar content, make this breakfast perfect for your weight loss goals as well.
Get our recipe for Greek Yogurt With Pineapple, Kiwi, Mango, & Ginger Syrup.
Grilled Swordfish With Caponata
If you're a fan of swordfish, you'll love this Sicilian-inspired recipe for a Lenten Friday. Made with eggplant, onion, garlic, red wine vinegar, capers, and tomatoes, this swordfish meal is healthy, flavorful, and only 360 calories.
Get our recipe for Grilled Swordfish With Caponata.
Mac and Cheese
There's nothing better than a classic bowl of macaroni and cheese. This dish is perfect for lunch or dinner and can be customized with additions like veggies, avocado, and more. No meat necessary, and only 360 calories!
Get our recipe for Mac and Cheese.
Buttery Red Pepper Fettuccine Alfredo
You won't even miss the lack of meat in this pasta, as it's filling and full of flavor exactly as it comes. Variations of pasta with cream sauce work well as Lent-friendly recipes because they are delicious and satiating, but don't require meat.
Get our recipe for Buttery Red Pepper Fettuccine Alfredo.
Spinach Artichoke Dip
This appetizer is a meatless favorite that is hassle-free, as all you have to do is add everything to your pan and cook together. If you need a dip that will delight everyone, even on a Friday before a Fish Fry, this is one to try.
Get our recipe for Spinach Artichoke Dip.
Butternut Squash Ravioli With Sage Brown Butter
Pasta is a great meal to have on Fridays during Lent because of its versatility. Make a large batch of this vegetarian ravioli so you can have some leftovers for the rest of the weekend.
Get our recipe for Butternut Squash Ravioli With Sage Brown Butter.
Sheet-Pan Vegan Sausage and Vegetables
Switch out regular sausage for the vegan alternative for this sheet pan dinner! Perfect for picky kids (or adults) and anyone who may miss the meat during the Lent season.
Get our recipe for Sheet-Pan Vegan Sausage and Vegetables.
Tuna Burger With Wasabi Mayo
Indulge in this fish on a Friday by grilling up the patties and serving with a warm toasted bun. For other Lent-friendly recipes to make, grill up any kind of fish burger you want (salmon burger) and serve on a bun or on a bed of lettuce.
Get our recipe for Tuna Burger With Wasabi Mayo.
Spicy Tuna and Avocado Fish Taco
Tuna is a great meat alternative, and these tacos won't disappoint. Pickled onions, lime, and chipotle pepper add tangy layers with a kick.
Get our recipe for Spicy Tuna and Avocado Fish Taco.
Baked Crab Cakes With Mango-Avocado Salsa
If you're not a fish fan, crab is a great option for a Lenten Friday. This Lent recipe is easy and brings out all the crab flavors, especially when paired with mango avocado salsa.
Get our recipe for Baked Crab Cakes With Mango-Avocado Salsa.
Vegetable Fried Rice
Add in as many vegetables as you'd like to this fried rice and you won't even notice that there's no meat! If you'd like, you can even throw in some tofu for a boost of protein.
Get our recipe for Vegetable Fried Rice.
Classic Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup
This Lent recipe dish an ultimate warming and meatless comfort food, especially when Lent falls earlier in the year and it's still cold. Also, this particular grilled cheese is way more interesting and unique than an original, with its use of pimento peppers and jalapeños.
Get our recipe for Classic Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup.
Baked Fish and Chips
Don't feel like dealing with the mess from frying fish? Bake some fish sticks for an easier dinner instead! Or, make your own baked fish and chips at home for another Lent-friendly recipe. For added flavor, serve with homemade tartar sauce.
Get our recipe for Baked Fish and Chips.
Butternut Squash Soup
Instead of a chicken noodle soup, prepare this butternut squash option that pairs well with a meatless salad and bread. This one is also great because you can enjoy a creamy, comforting soup for only 150 calories per serving.
Get our recipe for Butternut Squash Soup.
Southern-Style Shrimp and Grits
Spice up a Lenten Friday meal with this seafood favorite. Just make sure to skip the turkey kielbasa to keep this a meatless Lent recipe. If you want, you can opt for plant-based sausage instead.
Get our recipe for Southern-Style Shrimp and Grits.
Grilled Mahi-Mahi With Salsa Verde
Mahi-Mahi is another great option if you want to use the grill that takes less than 10 minutes to cook. Serve this Lent-friendly recipe with an Italian-inspired salsa verde. Enjoy everything for under 300 calories.
Get our recipe for Grilled Mahi-Mahi With Salsa Verde.
Butter-Baked Salmon and Asparagus
Salmon's versatility is hard to mess up, and this recipe is perfect for a Friday—especially if you happen to be following the keto diet.
Get our recipe for Butter-Baked Salmon and Asparagus.
Arugula and Grapefruit Salad With Dill Ranch Dressing
Don't forget to go meatless with the sides on Fridays during Lent! This salad recipe has you covered and is insanely fresh. This recipe doesn't call for bacon, so you can simply skip the bacon crumbles and add this to your list of Lent recipes to make on Fridays this spring.
Get our recipe for Arugula and Grapefruit Salad With Dill Ranch Dressing.
Green Bean Casserole
While this side is normally featured during Thanksgiving alongside turkey, it is perfect for Lent because it is filling without incorporating any meat at all.
Get our recipe for Green Bean Casserole.
Adding seafood to a salad has never been easier and more delicious than with this avocado crab salad! This one packs in spicy, creamy, and fresh flavors, for only 355 calories.
Get our recipe for Avocado-Crab Salad.
Blackened Fish Sandwich With Avocado and Cabbage
Our fish sandwich replaces ground beef with fresh tilapia fillets, frying with blackening, and tartar sauce with creamy avocado and crunchy cabbage.
Get our recipe for Blackened Fish Sandwich With Avocado and Cabbage.
Seafood is definitely an option instead of meat for Lent-friendly recipes, but so are mushrooms! Thanks to their texture, these fungi can easily take the place of beef in some of the most classic sandwich recipes.
Get our recipe for Mushroom Cheesesteak.
Instead of swapping pepperoni pizza for cheese on a Lenten Friday, go with this sandwich that still has melty mozzarella and juicy tomato, plus basil and balsamic vinegar.
Get our recipe for Caprese Sandwich.
Crock-Pot Vegetarian Chili
Set this chili to cook on a Thursday and heat up on Friday! Or, simply cook it in the Crock-Pot while you're at work for a delicious meatless dinner.
Get our recipe for Crock-Pot Vegetarian Chili.
Crispy Chipotle Shrimp Quesadillas
This quesadilla is still spicy, cheesy, and crunchy—but without the chicken or beef typically found in them. Don't forget the rice and beans to round out your meal!
Get our recipe for Crispy Chipotle Shrimp Quesadillas.
Thankfully, there are plenty of recipes you can still enjoy, even during the Lenten season. Just because you're giving up land meat doesn't mean you have to sacrifice delicious flavors and filling meals. We hope you can find the time to try at least a handful of these Lent-friendly recipes through Easter and beyond.
A previous version of this story was published on February 20, 2020. It has been updated to include additional copy, proofreading revisions, and updated contextual links.