Since Ash Wednesday and Good Friday are particular days of fasting and abstinence, even among the meatless Fridays of Lent, our family tries to eat an especially penitential and simple meal. This Hearty Lentil Stew is just perfect - it's great anytime with lots of melted cheese; skip the cheese and you've got yourself a meal of self-denial that unites you to Christ's sacrifice, no problem!

Hearty Lentil Stew


1 chopped onion
2 stalks celery, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 chopped green pepper (in my freezer)
6 c. water
1 c. barley
1 c. dry lentils
1 carrot, shredded
2 c. tomato sauce
2 T. apple cider vinegar
2 T. soy sauce
1 tsp basil
½ tsp marjoram
salt and pepper


Sauté onion, celery, garlic, and green pepper in a large pot with a small amount of water or oil until softened.  Add 6 cups water, barley, and lentils.  Bring to a boil and reduce heat to low.  Stir, cover and  cook 30 minutes.  Add all the remaining ingredients, stir, cover and cook 30 minutes.

You can also crock pot this.  Serve over potatoes or brown rice.

Can the directions get any simpler? You can easily skip the vinegar, which does come through in the final product, if you're like me and don't love the vinegar flavor. The recipe makes a large enough batch to feed our family of four and freeze a servings for Good Friday. You'll likely even have leftovers in the fridge for Friday's meatless lunch!

Whether you're looking for more meatless meals beyond cheese pizza and spaghetti, or you want to incorporate more beans to improve your diet, or you feel the crunch and need to reduce your food budget, I can help. My latest eBook, The Everything Beans Book, published last week, just in time for Lent. I'm happy to share a 20% off code just for CatholicMom readers, good through next Wednesday: CATHMOM20

May you have a blessed, holy, and challenging Lent!