Meals for the Week: The Fast Begins

Lent starts this Wednesday, which means I'll be planning more strictly vegetarian meals this coming month. It's true that fish is permitted on Fridays in Lent - look around for all the fast food fish sandwich promotions right now - but I can't stand any and all seafood. Just the smell turns my stomach.

Argue all you want that fresh fish doesn't smell. It just doesn't smell to you. I don't even like the smell of the ocean.

Besides, it always seemed strange to me that I was expected to not call chicken "meat" (it's poultry!), except as far as the "no meat on Fridays" tradition went. In that case, my childhood definition of meat, food from a dead animal, applied, except in the case of fish. Frankly, I didn't see why fish got a pass. I thought my parents were joking at first.

I don't have much problem coming up with vegetarian options. The hardest part is simply remembering to avoid using minor things like chicken broth in soup.

Bacon omelet sandwiches with cheese
Tater tots
Orange wedges

Boiled potatoes

Vegetarian black bean soup

Pasta salad

Veggie burgers

Beef fajitas
Rice pilaf

No plan yet. New month, new grocery budget . . .


  1. what is your black bean soup recipe

  2. I didn't have a recipe this time, though I based it vaguely on a recipe Scott and I have used for years that was on some magazine ad for Bush's Beans.

    I think I sautéed an onion and some garlic until soft, added a drained can of black beans and a pinch of baking soda (that just helps keep the color black, it's not necessary), puréed it with my stick blender (though sometimes I use a potato masher or a wooden spoon to mush it up), then added another can of black beans, a can of white hominy, and what was left of my jar of salsa. Then I added chili powder or Mexican seasoning, maybe both, and water to thin it until it looked all right. I cooked it until it was hot.

    It's basically a dump-cans-in-a-pot soup. If you didn't need to make it vegetarian, you could use chicken broth instead of water.

    The best part is to then serve it with ample garnishes. I like a dollop of sour cream in the middle (we used fat-free sour cream) that you pull a little from with each spoonful. Also, we had shredded cheese, more salsa, hot sauce, and fried corn tortilla strips (or chips). Avocado chunks, pico de gallo, and cilantro would also work. Whatever you might add to a taco or tostada.