Meatfare Sunday: A Guide for a Fast-Friendly Lent

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Meatfare Sunday: A Guide for a Fast-Friendly Lent

With the Lenten season nearly upon us, this Sunday (Judgement Sunday) is the Meatfare Sunday in the Orthodox Church, meaning it is the last day to eat meat before the Great Fast. This Sunday's service is designed to fill us with salutary fear, sorrow for our sins, and to stress the importance of good works, especially works of mercy. It is important to think of fasting not as an inconvenience, but rather as a challenge and mission to better ourselves as devout Orthodox Christians. While I certainly am not qualified to give an entire lesson on the reason and meaning for fasting, I did think it was necessary to include that short description. Now, moving on to the main premise of the guide...what can we eat for the next 40+ days?

Let's begin with a list of things we cannot have: 

All meat, poultry, fish, olive oil (vegetable oil is allowed), dairy products, cheese, milk, butter, eggs, and alcoholic beverages.

Growing up in a Greek household, it seems as almost every meal has had a animal-based protein (meat, poultry, fish), a healthy portion of olive oil, and (if I was lucky) some feta cheese. Those meals will have to be wiped from memory for the next few weeks, though luckily, I am here with some alternatives. 

What can we eat?

As I browsed through our shelves for some fast-friendly items, here are a few items which stood out to me. All products listed will have a direct link to their product page on our website, and all of the items listed are also available in-store.

 Dolmades (available in multiple sizes)

A favorite food item for most Greeks, but they usually contain ground meat, such as lamb, which is mixed in with the rice, though our dolmades are MEAT-LESS. In addition, we have the grape leaves in stock, so you can make your own! I do caution, from experience, this process was quite tedious when I tried it.

Gigandes (available in multiple sizes)

Gigantes are a plump, hearty legume that is common in Greek cuisine. This product features gigantes beans mixed with spices and tomato sauce. This dish is a great addition to any lenten meal, especially since it is a good source of protein.


Lentils are another popular ingredient that is used during fasting time periods. It is naturally present in every day Greek cuisine, but the high protein, low calorie nature of this legume makes foods that contain it perfectly suited for lent.


Orzo is one of the most versatile items in the Greek cuisine, I would recommend mixing with tomato sauce. Because there is no meat in it, this is a great dish to eat during Lent.

Halva (multiple flavors and sizes)

Halva is looked at as a Lent-friendly food, especially since it doesn’t contain any oil, which some people avoid. This is a great choice for those who want to eat something a little sweet while they are fasting. It is also still very nutritious, thanks to the ingredients.

In addition to these shopping list items, other meals which offer a strong nutritional base could be vegetable centered favorite would be frying or grilling zucchini and eggplant. In addition, the general consensus is that seafood is ok as long as it is not shellfish, which means octopus and shrimp are certain to make the menu at some point during the Lenten season. Lastly, those who are looking to keep up their solid protein intake, tofu is one of the more popular options. Personally, I was never a huge fan of tofu until I discovered that it almost tastes like chicken if you season it with the right ingredients. My personal mix of herbs and sauces include salt, pepper, soy sauce, ginger, garlic, and just works!

I will again preface that I am by no means qualified to give advice on Fasting and the Lenten season, I would recommend that if you have any questions, do not hesistate to reach out to Priests and other religious leaders in your church. Below is a link to the Lenten calendar from goarch website.

Thank you, we hope to see you soon, and have a nice weekend.


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