Searching for Lent recipes means different things for different households. Some parishioners abstain from meat and dairy products completely, indicating a strictly vegetarian diet. Others simply cut out a favorite rich food or eschew only red meat. Here is a selection of popular French recipes to meet your dietary needs during the Lenten season.
This silk weaver’s brain recipe, also known as cervelle de canut, is an herbed cheese and vinegar spread. It is named for the silk workers of Lyon in the mid-18oo’s; some say it is a tribute, others, an insult. No matter what the true origin of the offbeat name, it is a fantastic appetizer.
Flickr User "cursedthing"
Tapenade, a complexly flavored but easily prepared olive spread, is a staple of Provence, in the South of France. Accent sandwiches, mix it into a cheese ball, or serve it with croutons and crudites for a lovely, elegant appetizer.
When one thinks of palmiers – the tiny scroll-like pastries - sweet, flaky cookies come to mind. While these are flaky and delicate like the original, that’s where the similarities end. This recipe for basil palmiers uses a pesto-like filling of fresh basil and garlic for a wonderful, savory flavor.
Flickr User "kochtopf"
This popular tuna salad sandwich is sold from beachside stands on the French Riviera. The delicious seafood and freshly made salad dressing are typical of the French kitchen – just a few simple ingredients can make an exceptional meal.
This roasted beet salad is a wonderful, healthy dish to make anytime you have access to fresh beets. It’s a whole beet salad because the entire beet – root, stem, and greens – can be used in this recipe. Any vinaigrette or citronette dressing can be used to garnish this versatile salad, but blood orange dressing really makes the flavors pop.
This easy mix is known as a tri-color salad. Any mix of red and green leaf lettuce can be used. Romaine is a great green lettuce because it is so versatile. Use the red-leaf lettuce for a mild flavor and radicchio for a slightly sharper taste. Make your own signature version of the salad by using a homemade vinaigrette dressing.
This aigo boulido, or garlic soup, recipe is the Provencal cure for anything that ails you. A traditional recipe that incorporates garlic, herbs, and water, it is known informally as "boiled water."
Both dried and fresh Provencal herbs enhance tangy tomatoes in this vividly flavored soup. Rice cooked directly in the vegetable broth gives off just enough starchiness to thicken the consistency.
This fish in toasted pecan butter sauce recipe takes the homey flavors of a backcountry Cajun fish fry and merges them with the elegant nuances of a New Orleans restaurant. Pureed toasted pecans add incredible depth and silky texture to a garlic and hot pepper-infused butter sauce. This fantastic meal can be made so easily that it works for a thrown-together weeknight meal or a planned dinner party.
Flickr User "avlxyz"
This savory crab quiche makes an excellent light dinner served beside a pile of mixed greens drizzled with vinaigrette. This dish can be made lighter with lower-fat substitutions and milder cheese, so it's very adaptable for Lent or dietary needs.