When You Fast . . . Recipes for Lenten Seasons {Favorite Anything Series}

This is my 5th Lent as an Orthodox Christian. Lent for the Orthodox is, well, it’s different.  It’s not about giving up something in order to experience the suffering of Christ.  It’s about preparing ourselves for the greatest feast of the liturgical year: Pascha.  Pascha is the foundation of the Christian faith.  “And if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty(1 Cor 15: 14, Orthodox Study Bible).

During Great Lent we seek to deepen our spiritual life.  We fast, not just from certain foods, but also from sin.  We are to increase our alms giving and our prayers. I love the season of Lent because I am reminded of how great is the love of God and how vast my need for Him.

I am not a vegetarian by choice.  I would rather not eat a vegan diet if I have any alternatives, but . . . but . . . Lent!  So we fast. (The strictest of fasting rules are intended for monastics. Lay persons should fast following the advice of his/her priest.)

I have several cookbooks that are devoted to vegetarian recipes.  I’ve been collecting vegetarian and vegan recipes, but my favorite cookbook, the one I turn to more often than any other is the When You Fast . . . Recipes for Lenten Seasons by Catherine Mandell.

Cover of my favorite Lenten Cookbook

I like this collection of recipes because it isn’t a vegetarian or vegan cookbook but rather it is an Orthodox collection of recipes that follow the traditional fasting rules. Lent is the time when shrimp becomes a vegetable so there are recipes that include shrimp and other invertebrate sea creatures.  Since Orthodox Christians also fast from olive oil (some jurisdictions fast from all oils come from only olive oil) the recipes are noted as “with oil” or “no oil” and they are also noted if they contain wine.  Wine and oil are permitted on the weekends. 

Yes, there are recipes that use beans (I avoid those!), tofu or TVP but there are recipes for soups, sandwich fillings and appetizers too. There’s a fabulous carrot bread recipe that we make for breakfast.

Fish is only allowed on two feast days during Great Lent: The Annunciation and Palm Sunday.  Fish is allowed more frequently during other fasting times though so there is a whole section devoted to fish recipes. 

A good  cookbook needs to include a section for desserts. This cookbook has the best Lenten frosting!  Peanut butter!  There is a Lenten chocolate cake that goes well with peanut butter frosting.  The frosting is much better with real butter but I am thinking I might try it without coconut oil instead of that nasty fake margarine stuff. 

I love this cookbook.  It’s my favorite.  Do you have a favorite cookbook?  Why is it your favorite?

Favorite Lenten Cookbook {Favorite Anything Series} Circling Through This Life

Have a blog post about your favorite book, actor, hymn, Bible verse or anything that is your  favorite? Then come link up. Be sure and visit the other blogs linked up to see what their favorite anything is this week.

Rules for linking up:

  1. Post must talk about something that is your favorite.  It doesn’t have to be the same topic as my favorite post this week but it must be about something that is your favorite.
  2. Please include a link back to my blog.  You are welcome to grab the button from the sidebar to include in your post.

I’ll be linking this post up to 52 Weeks Series Blog Hop.

For the Display of His Splendor 52 Week Series Blog Hop


  1. It is one of my favorites as well :)

  2. This is neat to read, Tess. We had some good homeschooling friends here who were Orthodox Christians as well. I hadn't known much about the Orthodox church until I met her, and then I began to read more. It was very interesting to learn the history of the Orthodox church. Thank you for sharing about your Lenten observation.


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