The season of Lent holds importance for all Christians, and many denominations practice special eating and fasting customs during this period leading up to Easter—the holiday that celebrates the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Traditionally, Lent is regarded 40 days long; for Roman Catholics, though, this period extends over 46 calendar days since Sundays within the six-week period are exempt and regarded as days of celebration. For Orthodox Catholics, Lent extends for the full 46 days, including all interim Sundays.
All devout Catholics of both branches—Roman Catholic and Orthodox—practice various forms of abstinence during Lent, including partial fasting. The general guideline is to consume one full meal a day—or two small meals that "add up" to one full meal.
For Eastern Orthodox Catholics, adherence to these dietary guidelines for Lent is particularly diligent. Not only do they engage in limited fasting for every day of the week for six weeks, but the more devout Orthodox Catholics generally abstain from all forms of meat, including the fish that Roman Catholics traditionally have allowed themselves on certain days. There are very clearly defined rules for categories of foods that are allowed or disallowed for Orthodox Catholics, although individual practice does vary widely.
But partial fasting and abstinence don't have to mean boring. The Serbian recipes listed below all fall under the allowable foods list and can make for delicious offerings during the single daily meal for each day of Lent.
01 of 08
Ajvar is a Croatian/Serbian roasted mixture of eggplant and sweet pepper, sometimes referred to as vegetarian caviar. It can be mashed or left chunky, depending on personal taste, and served as a relish, vegetable, or spread to be used on country-style white bread such as Lenten pogacha.
02 of 08
03 of 08
In these recipes for Serbian coleslaw and Serbian potato salad, vinegar and oil are used to dress the shredded cabbage in place of sour cream, mayonnaise, or heavy cream. Thus, it is a perfect warm-weather salad. Some cooks add shredded carrot, while others leave it out entirely.
04 of 08
Macaroni replaces the potatoes in this meatless version of Serbian white bean soup—pasulj. If desired, one large peeled and diced potato can be added along with the rest of the vegetables to help to thicken the soup. To help reduce some of the liquid, the soup should be left uncovered while cooking.Continue to 5 of 8 below.
05 of 08
06 of 08
Whole baked fish, fried fish, fish chowders, (squid salad) and bakalar s kumpirom (salt cod with potatoes) are popular options for the Lenten fasting season. This recipe calls for presoaking the cod, which causes it to lose most of its salt. To compensate, it can be flavored with sliced or chopped onion sautéed with garlic, if you wish.
07 of 08
08 of 08