It’s Friday night, you’re Catholic, it’s the Lenten season and meatless Friday meals are the order until Easter Sunday. While the local VFW halls and area Catholic churches offer fabulous Friday fish frys, that may become a bit pricey if you have a family to feed.  

 The following are some fun, easy and inexpensive recipes to prepare on Fridays during Lent. Your kids and even your spouse will love them.

Vegan Cauliflower Meatballs (thissavoryvegan.com)

 These Vegan Cauliflower Meatballs are perfect for an easy dinner and packed full of healthy ingredients. Serve over pasta with a classic marinara. Yields 14 meatballs.

Ingredients

1/2 head cauliflower cut in florets

3 teaspoon olive oil separated plus more for frying

1/4 red onion roughly chopped

2-4 cloves garlic peeled and roughly chopped

1 cup oats

1/2 cup bread crumbs

2 Tablespoon Italian seasoning

salt and pepper to taste

Directions

 Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. and line a baking sheet with parchment paper (or foil). Spread cauliflower florets on baking sheet and drizzle 1 teaspoon of olive oil on top. Mix to spread oil evenly. Place in the oven and bake for 20 minutes. While cauliflower is cooking, heat 1 teaspoon of olive oil in a pan over medium heat. Add onion and garlic. Saute until onion is translucent (about 5-7 minutes). Remove from heat and set aside. Remove cauliflower from the oven. Add cauliflower, oats and garlic and onion mixture to a food processor. Pulse until combined. Transfer to a bowl. Add bread crumbs, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper and remaining teaspoon of olive oil. Stir to combine. Take 2 tablespoons of mixture in your hand and roll into a ball.* Place finished balls on a parchment lined baking sheet.** Once all of the balls have been formed, place them in the freezer for 10-15 minutes.*** Add enough olive oil to coat the bottom of the same pan and place on the stove over medium-high heat. Place meatballs in the pan and cook for 10-15 minutes, or until browned on all sides and warmed through. Lower heat to medium if they begin to brown too quickly. Serve with warm marinara, fresh basil and parmesan or vegan parmesan.

Recipe Notes

 *If mixture isn’t sticking together, place in the fridge for 10 minutes to firm everything up.

 **Be sure to press meatballs firmly together so they don’t break apart while cooking.

 ***If you plan on using these at a later time, freeze them for the 10-15 minutes and then place them in a parchment lined tupperware. Place back in the freezer until ready to use. Follow remaining instructions as stated.

Vegetarian chili (delish.com)

Ingredients

1 Tablespoon olive oil

1 onion, chopped

1 red bell pepper, chopped

2 carrots, peeled and finely chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 jalapeño, finely chopped

1 Tablespoon tomato paste

1 (15.5-oz) can pinto beans, drained and rinsed

1 (15.5-oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed

1 (15.5-oz) can kidney beans, drained and rinsed

1 (28-oz.) can fire roasted tomatoes

3 c. vegetable broth

2 Tablespoon chili powder

1 Tablespoon cumin

2 teaspoon oregano

kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

Shredded cheddar, for serving

Sour cream, for serving

Cilantro, for serving

Directions

 In a large pot over medium heat, heat olive oil then add onion, bell pepper, and carrots. Sauté until soft about 5 minutes. Add garlic and jalapeño and cook until fragrant, 1 minute. Add tomato paste and stir to coat vegetables. Add tomatoes, beans, broth, and seasonings. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and let simmer, 30 minutes. Serve with cheese, sour cream, and cilantro.

Dilly Veggie Pizza (tasteofhome.com)

Ingredients

1 tube (8 ounces) refrigerated crescent rolls

1-1/2 cups vegetable dill dip

2 medium carrots, chopped

1 cup finely chopped fresh broccoli

1 cup chopped seeded tomatoes

4 green onions, sliced

1 can (2-1/4 ounces) sliced ripe olives, drained

Directions

 Unroll crescent dough into one long rectangle. Press onto the bottom of a greased 13x9-inch baking pan; seal seams. Bake at 375 degrees F. until golden brown, 10-12 minutes. Cool completely on a wire rack.Spread dip over crust; sprinkle with the carrots, broccoli, tomatoes, onions and olives. Cut into squares.

Southwest Veggie Nachos (epicurious.com)

Ingredients

Vegetable oil cooking spray

6 ounces baked tortilla chips

1 can (15 ounces) low-sodium black beans, rinsed and drained

1 green bell pepper, diced

1/2 cup frozen corn, thawed

1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

1/4 cup sliced black olives

3 tablespoons pickled jalapeño slices

1 1/2 cups reduced-fat shredded Mexican blend cheese

4 large plum tomatoes (about 12 ounces), chopped

1/2 cup chopped red onion

1/4 cup cilantro, chopped

1 teaspoon fresh lime juice

1/2 avocado, diced

Directions

 Heat oven to 425 degrees F. Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray; spread chips evenly on sheet. In a bowl, combine beans, pepper, corn and cumin; spoon over chips. Top with olives, jalapeños and cheese; bake until cheese melts, 5 to 6 minutes. In same bowl, combine tomato, onion, cilantro and juice; gently mix in avocado. Serve nachos topped with salsa.

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