Now that pancake day has been and gone, the next tradition that follows is Lent. Whether you’re actually a traditionalist or not, it is a good opportunity to evaluate your diet and make some healthy cutbacks for at least a few weeks. Just in time to feel healthier for spring and summer, then you can get back to indulging in a no holds barred barbecue without feeling as guilty!
But whilst you’re making those cutbacks, you don’t need to neglect the barbecue, some of the healthiest food is either grilled or can even be pan fried on a barbecue with a multi cooking surface. Here is some info about Lent and its foods, as well as some ideas for a range of healthy barbecue meals, so you won’t feel like you’re cutting back at all.
All About Lent
Lent in modern times is commonly known as a period of 40 days where you might decide to give up something. Some common consumables people choose to give up for Lent are chocolate, sweets, meat and sometimes drinking alcohol.
It doesn’t have to be food or drink though; some people might vow to give up using social media (or at least reducing it). Others might decide to improve something about their lives, vowing to help out more at home or be nicer to their siblings.
If you never even started your New Year’s resolutions back in January – Lent will give you a second chance. Why not take a second shot at dry January or Veganuary if you didn’t quite accomplish it at the time?
The period of 40 days starts the day after indulging on Pancake Day (Shrove Tuesday). This first day is known as Ash Wednesday and the 40 days end just in time for Easter, with the final day being the Thursday before Good Friday.
Lent Approved Food
Those who observe Lent traditionally abstain from eating meat like chicken, beef and pork on Fridays – fish however is still acceptable, perfect if you are already a pescatarian.
Whether you are observing Lent traditionally, are pescatarian and need new ideas or simply fancy trying something different, here’s a few fish recipes to try out:
Grilled Fish Tacos with Avocado and Sriracha Mayo
Swap taco Tuesdays with taco Fridays with this recipe. This recipe uses grilled fish instead of deep fried, which is healthier for you. There’s also scope to play around with different toppings and sauces, from sour cream and lime to spicy tomato salsa. You can either opt for soft or crunchy tacos too, using corn tortillas or flour ones.
Grilled Fish Sandwich with Herby Mayo
Fish and chip Friday originated from the Lent tradition, with fish and chip shops first appearing over Britain in the 1860s. This recipe for a grilled fish sandwich provides a healthier alternative to its battered and more traditionally British cousin. You still get to enjoy a nice bit of cod, and you can even add a variation of chips – or perhaps a grilled new potato salad? Salad doesn’t have to be boring.
Swordfish Steaks with Caper Butter Sauce
You can still have a steak on Friday thanks to this swordfish steak recipe. Swordfish is similar to tuna and is large and meaty, which makes it perfect for a fish version of steak. Its largeness makes it very easy to cook on a barbecue grill.
If you can’t find swordfish, you can always try this alternative recipe for tuna steak.
Kebabs with Coriander, Mint and Walnut Chutney
If a kebab takeaway is what you usually crave on a Friday, but you’ve given up takeaways for Lent. Then try your hand at making fish kebabs with this recipe. Whilst this particular recipe is for monkfish kebabs, you can also use other white fish like a firm and meaty bit of cod. You can also try grilled chicken too for other days of the week or if you’re not giving up all meat on Fridays. You can have them as skewers, or add flatbreads or wraps. Rice also makes a nice side with this dish.
Other Types of Seafood
Other kinds of seafood and shellfish are also appropriate for a Friday barbecue during Lent. As Lent continues into the early spring why not celebrate the longer warmer days with some grilled crab cakes or get adventurous with these mussels and prawn dishes. If you’re avoiding meat, you can always leave the chorizo out of the paella, or replace it with a vegan alternative.
Other Non-Fish Dishes and Vegan Alternatives
Meat like chicken, beef and pork was once considered a luxury in the early religious days. Which is why it’s one of the more common things people give up during Lent. Fish is seen as okay due to various reasons; it was less of a luxury, and seen differently due to being a cold blooded animal.
If fish is not your thing, or you’re trying out veganism or vegetarianism for Lent, then you can try plant based alternatives to meat, such as this vegan beetroot burger. You could also keep it simple with grilled vegetable skewers, corn on the cob or salad mixes. There are plenty of meat free alternative products out there on the market now that make a meatless barbecue quite easy to achieve.
If You’re Still Eating Meat
If you’re not giving up meat or any other specific type of food in particular, but still want to try eating a little healthier for 40 days, swap out burgers and fried chicken for grilled meat dishes like this grilled chicken chilli which you can serve with rice or some tortilla chips.
Let Lent Kickstart Your Grilling Passion
Whether you’re partaking in Lent or not, healthy food doesn’t have to be boring or complicated, it can be as simple and delicious as some grilled chicken and broccoli.
Finding healthy meals you enjoy will have you continuing the trend way past the 40 days of Lent, leaving you to enjoy a few burgers on the barbecue completely guilt free.