Saturday, March 2, 2019

Orthodox Lent

I'm not the world's most supportive wife when it comes to John becoming Orthodox.  I don't go to church with him most Sundays, and when I do, I don't enjoy it.  I'm not sure if it's too Catholic or not Catholic enough.  Half the time I wish that, if he were inclined to woo, he could stick to the woo we're used to.  The other half, I wish that if he wanted a religion, he could have picked one that isn't homophobic and patriarchal.  It's like the worst of all possible worlds: ritual that's alien instead of comforting, and doctrines that are virtually the same as the Catholic ones.  But that was what John was looking for, I guess, and I'm glad he's happy.

The one thing I don't mind backing him up on, though, is the fasting.  The Orthodox fast the entirety of Lent, and by that they mean no meat, no fish, no dairy, no eggs, and no olive oil.  Invertebrates are okay.  I'm not ready to make vegan meals every dinner--I just don't know enough things to make that we like--but I've agreed to try for three days a week, and he can make the rest of his food himself. 

I'm excited because I desperately need to mix up our dinner menu.  We have had everything I usually make a million times.  Taking out meat gives me space to do more with the other ingredients.

So, what to make?  So far my vegan repertoire includes:
pasta with marinara sauce and spinach
falafel in a pita with cucumbers and vegan mayo
hummus wraps/sandwiches
black bean tacos with corn/bell pepper relish
bean enchiladas
minestrone soup
black bean/bell pepper soup
tomato soup with focaccia on the side
split pea soup
breakfast for dinner (vegan pancakes, homefries, baked apples)
lentil curry with coconut milk (the kids did not love this one)
tofu stirfry (nobody liked this option)

I'm a bit limited by not wanting to do much frying.  Fried eggplant, for instance, is delicious but John is watching his cholesterol and eggplant soaks up fat like a sponge.   Another limitation is that I mostly shop at Aldi and do not want to make a separate trip to the regular store for tofu, lentils, or other "odd" items.  Luckily margarine and soy/almond/coconut milk are all available there.

I can come up with endless soups but I would like more things that aren't soup.  I tried white bean "faux-fredo" sauce once and it was an utter fail . . . the noodles soaked up any liquid in the sauce, so it was just a starchy paste clinging to the noodles.  Maybe ratatouille or vegan lasagna would be good?  John also thinks there's got to be a way to make spanikopita vegan.  Honestly I would put just about any veggie into a pie.

I have no trouble getting by without meat, really.  But cheese.  Everything on this whole list would be better with at least one dairy product added.

Anyway, what are your favorite family-friendly vegan recipes?


Ariadne said...

Just FYI, most margarine does contain dairy products. I don't know why, but it does. :-(

etteloc said...

"If he were inclined to woo, he could stick to the woo we're used to." This made me laugh. It's also my thought on if I ever return to church. Picking up something new seems exhausting. The Orthodox win on aesthetics and music, so they have that going for them.

I've got a good lentil recipe. Try to find the huge bags or order them online. It kills me how cheap lentils are and how little they're used. If you're into sloppy joes, just substitute lentils for the beef.

Mennonite lentils (adapted from the "More is Less" cookbook)
Sauté an onion and some garlic in a bit of oil. Add a couple cups of chopped carrots and celery. Cook until they start to get some color. Add salt, pepper, thyme, and a bay leaf. (Spicing's up to you. Go nuts. I had some lemon pepper mix that worked well.) Add 2 cups (or one 15 oz can) tomatoes, 2 cups lentils, 2.25 cups water or broth. Simmer on medium heat until the lentils are cooked. Serve with rice or bread. If it's not Lent, throw some cheese on top once you're done cooking.

Here's a Lent cookbook from our neck of the woods. Hope that helps.

Sheila said...

I don't even like Orthodox music very much. Catholic chant is more familiar to me. And what they actually sing at John's parish is . . . well, let's just say it's a small parish so the quality is about equal to your average daily Mass at a Catholic parish.

What kind of lentils do you get? I have only been able to get the brown and they just taste ... very brown.

Anonymous said...

I don't often fry food either because of the fat content, but vegetable oil, even in large amounts, doesn't raise your cholesterol (apologies if you knew this already...)

Annika said...

Serious Eats has some delicious looking vegan recipes if you want some ideas or just to get lost in reading fun articles about how they make vegan food still taste good!

etteloc said...

I usually get brown lentils. They're bland on their own, so they really do need good seasoning with bolder flavors. (Think: coriander, cumin, tomato sauce, garlic, lemon...not all at once, of course.) Red lentils I usually use with Indian cooking, and green lentils are pretty tasty. Of course, the best lentil recipe I have is a green lentil stew with...wait for it...sausage.

The Orthodox church near me has ridiculously good music. It blew me away when we went, because it was led by the laity, a capella, and was just their normal Saturday night service. Except we can't make a habit of attending. It's a small church and we have no intention of converting/reverting/being convinced of a One True Anything.

Anonymous said...

Zoodles (zucchini ribbons), baked sweet potatoes topped with maple syrup and walnuts, baked potatoes topped with black beans and salsa, and fruit smoothies, made with almond milk.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...