Ash Wednesday – What’s a Vegetarian to Do?

Ash Wednesday, for those not in the pew which observes Ash Wednesday, is the first day of Lent, and a day of fast and abstinence. Although that can mean a dreary day of self-denial spent dreaming of excess, it can also be a strongly rewarding day of spiritual concentration. I’ve burdened myself with the first and been blessed with the second in various years.

I no longer observe Ash Wednesday, or days of fast or abstinence, and that isn’t why I’m so fat, because I’ve always GAINED weight during Lent. I think I must be a throwback to Primitive Woman, who put on weight under every possible circumstance so she’d have plenty to live on during IMpossible circumstances. Yeah, that’s it. That’s the ticket. I’m the reincarnation of Lucy. I’m so proud.

Okay, so a day of fast means you only have one full meal. It used to mean you didn’t eat anything, but now it means one full meal and nothing or light food the rest of the day. A day of abstinence means no meat.

So, if you don’t eat meat ANYWAY, and it’s Lent and you’ve given up something for the forty days as an act of devotion and penitence, what do you do on a day of abstinence? Abstain from tofu?

Anyway, I did NOT have crepes with Nutella yesterday. Time did not permit. But I did make chocolate chip pancakes for breakfast. Here is the recipe:

Make up pancake batter and put in … wait for it … chocolate chips.

Top with warm orange marmalade.

Tonight, I think we’re going to have Aztec casserole, vegetarian version:

15 ounce can black beans, drained

  • 15 ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup salsa (more or less)
  • 1 cup frozen corn kernels
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • salt to taste
  • 1 1/2 cups grated cheese or soy cheese or soft tofu + salsa
  • 8 to 12 corn tortillas (I use flour tortillas)
  • Avocado slices

Preheat oven to 400F. Lightly oil a medium-sized casserole dish. In a large bowl, combine beans, tomatoes, salsa, corn, cumin and salt. Place a layer of 4 to 6 tortillas to cover the bottom of the casserole dish, overlapping the edges. (NOTE: I tear the tortillas into bite-sized pieces and scatter them over the bottom of the casserole dish.) Cover tortilla layer with half of the beans and half of the cheese or tofu, then repeat the layering until all ingredients are used. Bake for about 20 minutes. Remove casserole, cover, and let cool for at least 15 minutes before serving.
In honor of the day, I shall leave off the avocado.

WRITING PROMPT: What would your main character give up as a sign of devotion and penitence?



I was born in Louisville, Kentucky, but now live in the woods in southern Indiana. Though I only write fiction, I love to read non-fiction. The more I learn about this world, the more fantastic I see it is.

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One thought on “Ash Wednesday – What’s a Vegetarian to Do?

  1. Jim Hilton

    March 9, 2011 at 10:25am

    My favorite variation on pancakes/waffles is to add a small handful of frozen raspberries to the batter right after pouring. Crush the berries in your hand to separate them, then sprinkle. Heavenly!

    Permalink  ⋅ Reply
    • Author

      Marian Allen

      March 9, 2011 at 8:42pm

      Oh, we love blueberry pancakes! Even better: blueberries and chopped pecans. Mmmmmmm….

      Permalink  ⋅ Reply

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