Ye Old Lenten Pantry

As we prepare to enter “Cheese Week” progressing toward the Great Fast of the Church, here follows a repost from years past to aid in the struggle.

Here’s some items that can help stock a Lenten Pantry …

+ dried fruits (raisins, currants, apples, cranberries, apricots, prunes, coconut flakes)
+ fresh fruits and vegetables
+ candied peels, mixed
+ dried beans (black beans, soy beans, navy beans, red kidney beans, great northern beans, mung beans, etc)
+ dried legumes (red lentils, green lentils, brown lentils, chick peas, black eyed peas, split peas, etc)
+ seeds (pumpkin, sesame, sunflower, poppy)
+ nuts (almonds, cashews, peanuts, pecans, pine nuts, pistachios, walnuts)
+ herbs & spices (peppercorns, old bay seasoning, mint, others to your taste)
+ herbal teas
+ flavored coffees
+ frozen juice concentrates
+ carob (chips, chunks and powder)
+ nondairy creamers (liquid & dry)
+ nondairy whipped topping
+ rose water
+ baking cocoa
+ lenten flavored baking chips
+ non-alcoholic wines & sparkling waters
+ canned fruits and vegetables
+ tomato juice, sauce, paste (& V-8)
+ canned beans & legumes
+ a variety of pastas (check labels for content)
+ lenten breads (purchased or homemade)
+ soy products (soy milk, tofu, tempeh, soy sauce, etc)
+ lenten bouillon cubes (vegetable, mushroom, onion, etc)
+ vegetarian gravy mixes
+ curry powder
+ ketchup, mustards, pickles, relishes, chutneys
+ lenten mayonnaise (no eggs, no whey)
+ asian sauces (black bean, garlic, peanut, etc)
+ taco sauces and relishes
+ lenten margarine (no milk, no whey)
+ egg replacer (no whites!)
+ tahini (sesame seed paste), peanut butter
+ flavored vinegars (apple cider instead of alcohol)
+ vegetable oils (sunflower, soy, peanut, sesame, walnut, etc)
+ honeys, jams, maple syrups, corn syrup
+ barley, cornmeal, oats, wheat germ, wheat
+ rices (brown, cracked, whole, wild, etc)
+ flours (rice, bleached, wheat, all-purpose, etc)
+ vegetarian chili (canned)
Lenten Ingredient Concerns

Noodles … Be careful of packaged noodles, most have part of egg or milk in them. Replace noodles with pastas or vegan noodles.

Mayonnaise … Most brands have milk, egg, or both.

Margarines … If you really want to fast, check your margarines for whey products. A soy margarine is always free of whey. Some vegetable oil margarines are also lacto-free.

Eggs … If absolutely necessary, use an egg substitute. It tends to make recipes more difficult; you may wish to just get a better recipe rather than determine how much egg substitute it takes to make your recipe work.

Cheeses … Placing a small bowl of shredded cheese on the table for the [pre-fasting aged] children is an acceptable way to make their meals more appealing to them; as well as adding to the lack of calcium that a vegan diet inherently has.

Broths … Meat broths can be replaced with vegetable broths. If you use bouillon cubes, remember not to add any salt to your recipes, as the cubes are very salty.

Gelatin, Jello & Marshmallows … While these products were once considered animal, the process to create these removes the finished product so far from the animal make-up that Orthodox Rabbi’s consider it Kosher for non-meat uses. This seems good enough for most Orthodox Christians. (Vegetable based gelatins are also available.)

Peanut Butter & Tahini … what can I say?

Chocolate … is really Milk Chocolate and can be replaced with Cocoa or Carob (chocolate chips can be replaced with carob chips).

Alcohol … Apple Cider is a great substitute for white wine, and sometimes sherry or red wine.

Desserts … As a host during lent, remember that many people give up desserts and sweets. So keep fresh fruit in a decorative bowl or basket on your table for your guests. The diabetic guests will also appreciate this.

Lenten Breakfast Items
+ fruit kabobs
+ lenten waffles with jam or syrup
+ peanut butter & honey on bagels
+ fruit salad
+ applesauce cake
+ tahini & honey on toast
+ lenten pancakes
+ lenten muffins
+ fresh fruits
+ baked apples
+ baked grapefruit
+ cereal & vanilla soy milk
+ cinnamon toast
+ good morning cake
+ kasha (or, of course, Grits)
+ granola with applesauce
+ granola with pie filling
+ oatmeal with raisins & syrup or jam

Believe it or not, applesauce works great as a milk substitute on cereals … and, equally hard to believe, OJ sometimes works just fine. (Really.)

Most all of the above suggestions come from St Mary Antiochian Orthodox Church, Wichita, Kansas.

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  • Stan Theman

    Wow-a lot of pointless rules. What’s the reason for this? Do you truly consider yourself better than those who don’t do this?

    • christinaarcher

      Not at all. We consider ourselves sinners. That’s it. Not ‘better’ than anyone- fasting or no fasting.

  • Fr Joseph Huneycutt

    It’s the Fast for Orthodox Christians. Judging from your comment, it’s not for you. I understand.

  • Pauline Magnusson

    A ton of great suggestions! Thanks for the comprehensive list! I’m not a great home economist as it is, and as a relatively new convert (my kids and I were received into the church last Holy Saturday) this is a part of Orthodox life I’m still having to learn from a logistical standpoint.

  • Fr Joseph Huneycutt

    Most (who fast) find that they grow into fasting — day to day, year to year. Fall down, get back up. Do a little better, trusting God is always good. A Bright & Glorious Pascha! Your prayers.


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