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Vegan Version Shourabit Djaj mah Hommous” (Lebanese Chick Pea Soup)


During the Great Fast one year, most of our family got sick with the flu. When one is sick, vitamin-rich soups are in order. We had a hankering for this Lebanese favorite, which normally includes chicken.  However, since during the fast, we simply adapted the dish to a Lenten version. Traditionally served over rice or orzo, this dish can be eaten just as a soup as well. That’s what we did when we were sick.  The quantities below are for a large family sized pot – enough for us to have for both supper and a later lunch.  Feel free to adapt to your family size!  Don’t wait until your sick to try this soup!  It’s wonderfully rich and the slight cinnamon undertones make it quite distinctive.


1 Lg. or 2 Med. Onions, Diced

1 Head Garlic, Minced

2 Carrots, Diced

2-3 Stalks Celery, Diced

1 Squash, Zucchini or other, Diced

2 – 3 Potatoes, Diced

A bit of oil

1 Box or Several Cans Vegetable Broth (or better, homemade vegetable stock)

1 Med. Can Diced Tomatoes & Juice

4 Cans Garbanzo Beans & Juice

1 or 2 Cinnamon Sticks (3 – 5” long)

1 Tsp. Thyme

Salt & Pepper, To Taste

Fresh Parsley, Curley or better, Italian, Minced

Juice of 1 Lemon

1 Lg. Bag Baby Spinach

Red Pepper Flakes, Optional – A pinch in each bowl for those who like it.


Sauté onion and garlic in a bit of oil. Add other vegetables & sauté until softened. A vegetable broth or stock, tomatoes, garbanzos and cinnamon stick. Add spices. Cook for 1 hour or more, until flavors meld. Just a few minutes before serving, add parsley, lemon juice and spinach.  Stir in well. Allow to cook until greens are wilted. Serve with Pita on the side, or over rice.



Kathy Moran, long-time Director of the St. Peter the Aleut Orthodox Summer Camp and active member of the St. Anthony the Great Orthodox Church (OCA) in San Antonio, sent us this wonderful recipe. It’s very easy to make these in either a fasting or a non-fasting version. Kathy shares, “Chalupas are a great summer food. The broiler gets used for half a minute, (minimizing kitchen heat build up), and there are many options for picky eaters.  It's an easy Lenten meal and also a great party food.  Young children often prefer the beans and cheese only version, but the sophisticated palettes will appreciate the condiments.”



Chalupa shells (also called tostada shells- they look like flat crunchy taco shells)

Refried beans (reg. canned or vegetarian, or make your own, or use dehydrated)

Cheese: (Cheddar, Monterey Jack, cheddar/jack, imitation cheese for fast days, or my favorite, Mexican Queso)


Condiments: Salsa (Picante Sauce), Pica de Gallo (diced tomatoes, mango, jalapenos, and onions, and chopped cilantro), shredded lettuce or cabbage, Guacamole or sliced avocados, chopped shrimp or crabmeat.


Directions: Spread a layer of refried beans on each chalupa shell.  Top with cheese.  If using shrimp or crabmeat, layer in between the beans and cheese.  Place the chalupas on a cookie sheet and pop under the broiler until the cheese begins to bubble, half a minute or so.  Top with condiments.  She recommends the guacamole and pica de gallo.  The mango makes the pica de gallo unique.


Kathy continues, “I often serve chalupas when entertaining.  Bowls of condiments are provided for guests, buffet style.  Mexican rice, Pozole (hominy), a green salad, and a tropical fruit salad compliment the Chalupas nicely.  This meal is both healthy and easy!  For several years when my children were young, we had Chalupas at least three times per week!”



Haystacks are by far one of my daughter’s favorite lunch or supper meals. The recipe definitely goes for easy rather than any particularly grand cuisine. Haystacks can easily be made in a non-fasting version by adding ground meat.* However, at our house, we usually prepare Haystacks in a fasting version.  It is a protein-rich meal so quickly put together that we often prepare it in just a few minutes on a Wednesday night after attending Daily Vespers, or on some other Lenten evening.


1 Lg. Can Pasta Sauce (No Meat)

Or, 1 Can Tomato Sauce + Seasonings (Or, some homemade or store bought salsa)

1 Tsp. Dried Italian Seasoning or Dried Oregano

1 Pkt. Ground Meatless (Soy Ground Burger Substitute), Optional

1 Lg. Can Refried Beans (Vegetarian)

1 Can Pinto Beans

2 Cloves Fresh Garlic, Minced or Pressed

1 Small Pkg. Taco or Mexican-type Seasoning

1 Mild Onion, Minced

3 – 4 Ripe Roma Tomatoes, Chopped

Leaf Lettuce, Washed, Dried, Torn or Shredded

Black Olives, Drained & Cut into Halves, Optional

Salsa of Choice, Optional

Frito-type Corn Chips – Regular or “Scoops”


At our house, making haystacks is always a group effort.  This is what we do: Add the dried herbs to the pasta or tomato sauce. Then, one person heats up the sauce in the microwave.  Another mixes together the refried and pinto beans, and stirs in the taco seasoning and garlic.  This is warmed it in the microwave or on the stove top. Whoever is available warms up the ground meatless. Someone minces the onion, chops the tomato, washes and tears the lettuce, cuts the olives and place each of these in individual bowls on the table.  Another opens the Fritos and puts them on the table as well. Someone sets the table, and it’s time to eat!   Haystacks are assembled at the table by each person on their own plate.  Start with a bed of Fritos.  Follow with beans.  Top with ground meatless. Pour on some sauce. Then add whatever other vegetables you wish. Top with your salsa of choice. Yum!


Non-Fasting Version:  To the basics above, add grated cheese (cheddar or Monterey jack), sour cream (Optional) and a pan of cooked and seasoned ground meat.

Fast Day Stacked Red Enchiladas (Flat, not Rolled)

A reasonably quick to prepare and delicious stacked enchilada, good to serve for a fast day supper.


1 Small Can Vegetarian Re-fried Beans

1 Can Pinto or Black Beans

1 Onion, Minced

1 Ear Fresh Corn, Cooked, Grilled or Raw, Cut off the Cob

1 Small Can Green Chiles, Chopped (Or, we use fresh, frozen)

2 Cloves Fresh Garlic, Minced or Pressed

3 Ripe Roma Tomatoes, Finely Chopped

2 Tbsp. Fresh Cilantro, Minced

1 Tsp. Dried Mexican Oregano (or regular)

1 Can Black Olives, Sliced, Optional

Salt, to taste

Mix these ingredients together and warm in the microwave or on the stovetop.


Quick Enchilada Sauce:

¼ C. Mike’s NM Red Chile Mix (pg_)

2 Tbsp. Masa Harina

1 Can Vegetable Broth (Or, equivalent, homemade.)

1 Can Enchilada Sauce (Such as El Paso or Hatch)

Stir together the Red Chile Mix and the Masa. Mix these into the vegetable broth. Add the enchilada sauce, and heat these up together, either in the microwave or on the stovetop.



1 Lg. Pkg.* of Corn Tortillas, Warmed & Softened in a Microwave (Wrapped, or in a Tortilla Warmer)


In a large, lightly oiled or sprayed pyrex-type 2 or 3 Qt. Baking Pan, put a layer of corn tortillas (6 or 8*) on the bottom. Cover this with a layer of the warm bean mixture. Top with another layer of corn tortillas.  Add an additional layer of beans.  Top with another layer of tortillas.  On top of this, pour the warmed enchilada sauce.  Bake in an oven preheated to 350 F. for 20 – 30 minutes, until bubbly and thoroughly warmed.

*Note: For a 2 Qt. Pan, it will take 18 tortillas; for a 3 Qt. size, 24 tortillas.

Easy Italian-style Bean Dish

A tasty Lenten dish perfect for a quick, Sunday night supper. Serve with a side salad and hot garlic bread, and you have a complete meal!


1 Lg. Onion, Thinly Sliced

4 Cloves Fresh Garlic, Thinly Slivered

¼ C. Olive Oil

3 Cans Cannellini or other White Beans, Drained

1 Can Diced Tomatoes, Undrained

1 Tbsp. Fresh Basil, Chopped

1 Tbsp. Fresh Italian or other Parsley, Chopped

1 Tsp. Fresh or Dried Oregano

Juice of 1 Lemon or 1/4 C. White Wine Vinegar

1 Tsp. Poultry Seasoning

Salt & Freshly Ground Pepper, to taste


Heat olive oil in a heavy pan. Add onions and garlic and sauté until soft. Add drained beans, tomatoes with juice and the herbs. Add juice or vinegar and adjust seasonings to taste. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until slightly thickened and done. Serve warm.

Moroccan Bissara ~ Puréed Split Peas

A filling side dish or single course for a Morroccan-style Lenten meal, this recipe is meant to be served in a single bowl set in the table’s center and shared by all who dine. It can also be served in wide pasta bowls, placed between guests, to be shared by two or three dinners.


2-3 Tbsps. Olive Oil

½ Head Garlic Cloves, Sliced

1 Lg. Onion, Chopped

2+ C. Green or Yellow Split Peas

½ Tsp. Turmeric

1 Tsp. Salt

6-7 C. Vegetable Broth or Stock



½ C. Olive Oil

2 Tsp. Ground Cumin (Cominos)

1 Tsp. Paprika

Cayenne or Powdered Red Chile Pepper, to taste

Lemon or Lime Wedges


In several Tbsp. of olive oil, sauté onion and garlic until browned.  Add split peas, turmeric and salt and cook briefly with the onions. Add vegetable stock, 1 tsp. cumin, ½ tsp. paprika and ½ tsp. cayenne and cook until the peas are soft and tender.  Purée in a blender or food processor until all is smooth. Return to pot and cook until reheated.  When ready, the dish should be thick but not solid.  When ready to eat, pour into a single or several wide bowls. Cover with a film of olive oil, then sprinkle with remaining cumin, paprika and red pepper. Squeeze lemon or lime juice over the top, to taste.  This is eaten dipped in or on any flat bread, such as Greek pita.  Serve with Moroccan-type salads or with couscous on the side. 

Espinacas con Garbanzos de Seville ~ Spinach with Chickpeas from Seville, Spain

On day during the Great Fast, I cooked up a big pot of dried garbanzo beans, meant to use in several recipes over the next few days. A few years back, the girl’s Uncle Doug and Aunt Lyn visited Seville in Spain, and really loved it. We decided to taste a bit of Seville sabor and tried this recipe. We absolutely loved the combination of rich, spicy broth, nutty flavored garbanzos and juicy greens. More than a touch of Middle Eastern Moorish influence is steeped within this flavorful and nourishing recipe. To be sure, the pot was empty when dinnertime concluded.


1 Lb. Dry Garbanzo Beans, Soaked & Cooked until Tender but Not Mushy

1/3 C. Olive Oil

2 Lg. Onions, Cut in Half & Thinly Sliced

1 Head Fresh Garlic, Cloves Peeled & Thinly Sliced

3 Lbs. Spinach, Baby Leaves or Larger Cut into Ribbon-like Shreds

1 Tbsp. Ground Cominos (Cumin)

1 Tbsp. Paprika

1 Tsp. Ground Coriander

1 Tsp. Red Pepper Flakes, or to taste

¼ Tsp. Cayenne Pepper, Optional

1 Tbsp. Salt

Freshly Ground Black Pepper, to taste

Juice of 1 Sour Orange (Seville) or of 1 Lemon


Brown the onion and garlic in the olive oil. Add spinach greens and spices. Stir until the spinach has wilted down some. Add the cooked garbanzos, plus some of its cooking juice, to your taste. Simmer together for about 30 minutes, until flavors meld.  Add more spices, if so desired. Pour sour orange or lemon juice over all, stir together, and serve either hot or at room temperature.  Great accompanied by hot, crusty bread or Greek-style pita.


Vegetable Enchiladas


This recipe takes a bit of time to put together, but the end product is well worth the effort.  It comes from Mother Thecla, the Abbess at Sts. Mary and Martha Monastery Wagener, South Carolina and is often served at the Annual Youth Retreat held at the monastery.


1 cup chopped Onion

2 cups canned Tomatoes

1 (8 oz.) can Tomato Sauce

1 (or more) cloves minced Garlic

10 drops Hot Sauce

½ Tbsp. Chili Powder

1 Tbsp. Honey

½ tsp. Salt

¼ tsp. Cumin

Pinch Cayenne Pepper and/or chopped fresh Cilantro, optional

New Mexico Red Chile Pepper Mix, to taste, optional


Sauté Onions either in oil or in a bit of water.  Add remainder of ingredients and cook until well heated and flavors are blended.



½ cup dry beans, cooked and mashed Pintos

Or 2 cans Pinto or Kidney Beans

½ cup chopped Onion

1 (or more) cloves minced Garlic

2 Tbsp. chopped Green Olives

½ cup chopped Green Pepper, optional

1 tsp. Chili Powder

½ tsp. Salt


Sauté Onion, Garlic, Green Peppers (if using) and Green Olives. Add mashed beans and seasonings.  Add some of the Sauce to the Bean filling, to your taste.  Stir and cook until flavors are well blended.



Fill 6-8 Corn Tortillas (or slightly warmed Flour Tortillas).  If Corn Tortillas are being used, slightly warm them in a hot skillet in a bit of Corn Oil prior to filling.  Roll up tortillas and either place directly on to plates, or into a large, rectangular Pyrex pan. Cover filled tortillas with sauce.  Either serve immediately, or, cover and refrigerate or freeze for later use. These freeze very well.  If using later, bake (thawed) in oven at 350 F. for 30 minutes.  If not during a fasting season, the enchiladas can be topped with

Cheese of your choice.

Father’s Beans Dominicana

Father Antonio was born in the Dominican Republic. Beans and rice are a national staple there, and he grew up frequently eating this dish. Therefore, this was one of the first Dominican-style recipes he taught me to cook.  In the Caribbean, foods aren’t hot and spicy like they often are in Mexican-style dishes.  Rather, they are very flavorful. While this dish is traditionally made with some sort of ham hock or other meat (try it!), we usually make it fully vegetarian and reserve it for a hearty fast day meal. If you soak the beans and start early in the day (or use canned beans), it can be made in the crock pot. We always double the recipe to make a big pot, as they are even better when served the next day. The remainder can easily be frozen for a quick re-heat.


1 Lb. Dry Beans – Pinto or Black (Or, 4 Cans of Cooked Beans – quicker!)

Soup Stock or Water

2 – 3 Bay Leaves

1 Onion, Chopped

1 Bell Pepper, Chopped

2 – 4 Cloves Fresh Garlic

1 – 2 Tbsp. Olive Oil (or water)

1 Can Diced Tomatoes

1 Small Can Tomato Sauce

½ C. Green Olives w/Pimientos

1 Tsp. Dry Oregano (or 1 Tbsp. Fresh Oregano, Chopped

2 Tbsp. Capers (Optional)

¼ C. Fresh Cilantro, Chopped

Salt & Black Pepper, to taste

Hot Sauce or Pepper Flakes – Served at table (Totally Optional)


Sort the dry beans.  Rinse and to reduce cooking time, soak beans for several hours or overnight.  Place beans and bay leaves in soup stock or water and cook for 1 hour. Chop all vegetables and cook them in a bit of olive oil or water, until onions are translucent.  Add these to the beans.  Add diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, green olives and oregano. If you use the capers, add them as well.  Simmer until the beans are done and the flavors have blended.  About 5 minutes before serving, stir in the cilantro and salt and pepper the beans to taste. This dish is always served on or beside a bed of white or yellow rice. Not being a Dominican purist, I often add a sprinkle of hot sauce or red chile pepper flakes to my serving, as I actually enjoy that hot pepper kick!


Nigerian Itiakiet Stew (Red Bean Stew)

With crusty bread on the side, this spicy African bean stew makes a one-dish meal. It can also be served over rice or with rice on the side.


3 Tbsp. Olive Oil or Peanut Oil

2 Lg. Onions, Chopped

½ Head Garlic, Sliced

2 Green Bell Peppers, Diced

2 Tsp. Ground Cumin (Cominos)

½ Tsp. Ground Cayenne or Red Chile Pepper

1 Can Tomato Sauce

1 Small Can Diced Green Chiles

2 Lbs. Dry Red Kidney Beans, either Dark  or Light Red, Soaked

Water or Vegetable Stock

¼ C. Peanut Butter

Salt & Black Pepper, To Taste

Juice of a Lemon


Sauté the onions, garlic and green peppers in the olive oil. Add spices, tomato sauce, green chiles, soaked red beans and stock or water. Stir all together well. When warmed, add peanut butter, salt and pepper. Stir well, and then cook for several hours, until the beans are soft. Add lemon juice in an amount to your liking just before serving.  This recipe can easily be put together then transferred over to slow cook in a crock pot.

Tofu “Chez” Enchiladas w/Red Chili 

This is a dish we made up during Great Lent one year when we were tired of just plain ole beans and wanted a variation thereof.  The recipe can easily be increased or decreased depending upon the quantity desired.  This batch makes 2 lg. pans. It is large enough for our family to use for a good dinner one night and a next day lunch – or to take to Church.


3 Pkgs. Extra Firm Tofu, Drained

2 Med. Onions (or 1 Extra-Lg.), Peeled & Quartered

3+ Cloves Fresh Garlic, Peeled

1 Zucchini or Yellow Squash, Quartered, Optional

¼ C. Nutritional Yeast (NOT Brewer’s Yeast!), Optional

1 Tsp. Ground Cumin (Cominos) Powder

½ Tsp. Oregano, Dried – or 2 Tsp. Fresh Oregano

1+ Tbsp. Fresh Cilantro, or to taste, Optional

2 Tbsps. Olive or Vegetable Oil, Optional

Salt, to taste

1 Can Pinto Beans, Undrained

1 Can Diced Tomatoes w/Green Chili Peppers, Undrained

1 Can Whole Corn, Undrained

1 Recipe Red Chili Sauce, Heated

Flour Tortillas, Slightly Warmed

Black Olives, Sliced (for a garnish)

Scallions, Chopped (for a garnish)


Drain tofu and place it in a food processor.  Blend thoroughly.  Add onion, garlic, squash, nutritional yeast, cumin, oregano, cilantro oil and salt. Blend again.  Set filling aside. Make or warm up the Red Chili Sauce.  Slightly drain the canned vegetable’s juices into the Red Chili Sauce. Thoroughly stir the beans, tomatoes with green chilis and corn into the tofu filling. Warm up the tortillas.  Pre-heat the oven to 350 F. Lightly oil the bottom and sides of a large pyrex-type casserole dish (or 2). Fill each tortilla with the tofu mixture and roll them up. Place filled tortillas in the casserole dish.  Cover the top with a generous amount of Red Chili Sauce.  Place in the oven and bake at 350 F. for about an hour, or until done. Garnish the top with sliced black olives and scallions. Serve with a green salad on the side.


Anne Carroll’s Baked Beans

If one has the time and inclination to prepare baked beans “from scratch,” this is one of the best recipes I’ve ever tasted.  It was shared with me years ago by long-time friend, Anne Carroll, who along with her family, lives in Lithonia, Georgia and are part of the St. John the Wonderworker (OCA) Parish in Atlanta. The recipe serves approximately 25, and is perfect for Church suppers, or for a large family BBQ or picnic.


2 Lbs. Great Northern Beans

2 Lg. Onions, Chopped

2 Lg. Cloves Fresh Garlic, Minced or Pressed

1 Can Diced Tomatoes

2 Tsp. Salt

1 Heaping Tsp. Paprika

1 Tsp. Ground Ginger

½ Tsp. Dry Mustard

1 ½ C. Brown Sugar, Tightly Packed

¼ C. Molasses, Optional

1 Lb. Uncooked Bacon (Good Bacon!), Diced


Sort and wash the beans.  Boil gently for about an hour. Drain and reserve bean water. Add all other ingredients to the beans, except for the bacon. Stir well.  Dice the bacon finely.  Lightly oil a very large (or 2) pyrex-type baking dish.  Layer the bean mixture with the bacon, ending with beans on the top. Add just enough of the reserved bean water to fill the pans to the top.  Cover with foil.  Bake beans in the oven at 250 F. for about 7 hours.  Don’t stir.  Add more bean water during the baking if the beans start to dry out.


“Bride & Prejudice” Rajma ~ Punjabi Red Bean Stew (Indian)

My daughters and their friends absolutely love the writings of British author, Jane Austin. They truly appreciate films of Austin’s work, such as A&E/BBC’s longer version of “Pride and Prejudice.” In addition, the girls all thoroughly enjoyed the clever parody of P&P done by “Bollywood” and entitled, “Bride and Prejudice.” The story begins in Amritstar, located in the Northwestern Indian state of Punjab, quite near Pakistan and Kashmir. Amritstar is home of the famous Sikh Shrine, “The Golden Temple.” We found and enjoy the following savory Punjabi Bean Stew, eaten in honor of this fun film and its even more delightfully spicy music.  The following is a large batch – enough for family or a group of friends gathered to drink tea and watch the movie!


3 Tbsp. Olive or Peanut Oil

2 Lg. Onions, Chopped

½ Head Fresh Garlic, Chopped

1 Fresh Hot Pepper, Seeded & Minced

2-3 Tbsps. Fresh Ginger, Minced

1 Lb. Light Red Kidney Beans, Soaked

1 Lb. Dark Red Kidney Beans, Soaked

Water or Vegetable Stock

1 Lg. Can Diced Tomatoes, Plus Juices

1 ½ Tbsps. Ground Cumin (Cominos)

1 ½ Tbsps. Ground Coriander

1 Tsp. Cayenne Pepper or milder Powdered Red Chile Peppers

Salt & Pepper, to taste

¼ C. Lemon Juice

Fresh Parsley, Minced

Fresh Cilantro, Minced, Optional


Sauté onion and garlic in oil. Add fresh ginger and hot pepper, stir together briefly, and add kidney beans and stock or water. Add tomatoes and spices. Stir together and cook until the beans are soft and tender. Add lemon juice just prior to serving.  Serve with chopped parsley and/or cilantro sprinkled over the top of each bowl.  If not fasting, a good dollop of fresh yogurt is a wonderful addition as well. Serve with flat bread, rice or bulgur pilaf.

¡Gloria a Dios por todo!
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