During the penitential season of Lent, Catholics around the world abstain from meat on Fridays and Ash Wednesday.

At one point in time, Catholics abstained from eating meat every Friday of the year, but U.S. bishops now allow Catholics to instead substitute another act of charity or sacrifice.

Abstinence refers to the absence of meat (mammals) or fowl, but fish is allowed.

You can access our full Lenten fasting and abstinence guide here.

It is easier to abide by these liturgical practices when we not only unite them with the sacrificial meaning of the season itself, but also plan ahead when it comes to Friday meals.

But, many Catholics often feel stuck. For a family, it can be particularly hard with picky eaters and overcrowded fish restaurants.

Get our best ChurchPOP news via WhatsApp and Google News.
Join our 
WhatsApp channel here.
Click here to follow us on Google News.

Below you will find meatless dishes to incorporate into your weekly rotation. Some do not include fish or enduring long lines and your go-to fish restaurants. You can create your own version of these dishes in the comfort of your own home, too.

Asian Food

meatless foods high in protein, meatless meal prep, meatless dinner options
Image Generated Using Canva AI Tool

Chinese and Japanese restaurants offer many meatless options.

Look for vegetable-based rice or noodle dishes, and don’t forget that the fish included in your favorite sushi rolls are allowed, too.

Mexican Food

meatless dinner options, meatless dinner recipes, meatless meals for dinner, meatless meals
Image Generated Using Canva AI Tool

Mexican cuisine or related food offers a wide variety of meatless options. If you’re worried about protein, try ordering a bean and cheese burrito.

If you visit your favorite recipe site or look on Pinterest, narrow your search to vegetarian Mexican recipes.

This can include anything from simple cheese enchiladas and salads, to tacos with black beans and sweet potatoes. You can find a lot of unique recipes to create in your kitchen here.

Breakfast for Dinner

meatless meals, meatless dinner options, meatless dinner recipes, meatless meals for dinner
Image Generated Using Canva AI Tool

Eggs are a great source of protein! 

Try making a spread of pancakes, veggie-loaded breakfast casseroles, hash brown-based dishes, or omelets.

This idea offers a variety of different options at once ensuring there is something satisfying for every member of the family and leftovers can be used the next morning!

Find more recipe ideas here.

Italian Food

meatless dinner options, meatless dinner recipes, meatless meals for dinner,
Image Generated Using Canva AI Tool

On Fridays during Lent, you can make your favorite pasta dish without adding meat or just substituting it with shrimp or scallops. 

Pizza is also a no-sweat alternative for Fridays, too.

You can find more vegetarian Italian dishes to order or whip up at home here.


meatless dinner options, meatless dinner recipes, meatless meals for dinner, fish fridays
Image Generated Using Canva AI Tool

There is always the option to have a simple salmon or tilapia dish each Friday at home. You can throw some fish sticks in the oven for the kids, too.

You can find some easy recipes here.

At the end of the day, it’s important to remember the reason why Catholics abstain from meat on Fridays. It is supposed to be difficult.

Who is required to abstain from meat on Fridays during Lent?

According to the USCCB, “The norms concerning abstinence from meat are binding upon members of the Latin Catholic Church from age 14 onwards.”

However,  the Church exempts certain groups from these requirements and asks them to make an alternative sacrifice.

The USCCB states, “the physically or mentally ill, including individuals suffering from chronic illnesses such as diabetes…In all cases, common sense should prevail, and ill persons should not further jeopardize their health by fasting.”

Pregnant or breastfeeding women are also in this category.

Share this post