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Meatless Meals for Lent: Lentils with Spinach and Ginger


Editor’s Note: Missioner Janice Smullen offers the first simple, meatless meal for this Lenten season. Her recipe is adaptable for whatever ingredients you might have handy.

I prefer to eat meatless, so Lent is never a dietary problem for me. When I was in the US, I would use the recipes sent out to my parish with the Rice Bowl information and really focus on being in solidarity with people in the featured countries. I also focus on one big question where I need God’s guidance and voice that constantly during the time of Lent.

I have adapted many of my US recipes to Jamaican ingredients, and this is one of my most recent.


Minced garlic, onion, shallots, or green onions (whatever is available and to your liking)
1 tsp. ginger
½ tsp. curry powder
½ tsp. turmeric
1 T. oil

1 cup cooked lentils
½ cup vegetable stock
½ cup coconut milk

Fresh greens


Heat oil and sauté garlic, onion, etc. Add spices and cook 1 minute.

Add lentils, vegetable stock and coconut milk and let simmer partially covered for about 12–15 minutes.

Stir in the fresh greens (I use callaloo here in Jamaica) and simmer 3 more minutes. Salt to taste.

>Optional side dishes:

I boiled up a yellow yam while I was preparing the lentils, and then cut up the yam. This was sautéed in coconut oil and sprinkled with salt, pepper and garlic powder.

Pumpkin is always available here so that is a pumpkin muffin in the photo.

Dessert was mango and a star apple.

Janice’s reflection for Lent:

Dear God,

You have given us a big, wide, colorful, and delicious world. I ask you to continue to guide me through each day and give me the strength to fulfill your plans for me. I especially ask for guidance as I contemplate my return to the US. I know that my heart will be sad if I leave Jamaica, so I pray for clarity with the decision to stay or return.

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Janice has been granted the fruits of a family vocation and many community volunteer experiences during the past 40 years. Each experience has helped to build her faith in God's unending and unconditional love. She has been a CCD teacher, doula, ESL instructor, retreat facilitator, and mentor to refugee families. Now, Janice is grateful for the freedom and health and the opportunity to continue service and growth overseas. She lived most recently in Greensboro, NC, and loves to garden, sew, read, hike, and do yoga. Janice has been in Kingston, Jamaica since March 2016.