Today is the first day of Lent. It’s time to dust off your Lenten recipes.
Believe it or not, the Armenian diet is conducive to vegetarianism and perhaps, during Lent, even veganism. In some Armenian recipes it’s easy to eliminate meat altogether without sacrificing taste or nutrition. With the inclusion of so many vegetables, whole grains and legumes, the Armenian diet really is pretty healthy.
Reader Angeline Ohanesian, who truly appreciates the naturally healthy vegetarian and vegan dishes of our Armenian culture, offers two websites which touch upon this topic. The first is about a vegan guide to Armenian lent; the second talks about treasured Armenian recipes and kindly refers to our very own website.
Don’t know the difference between a vegetarian and a vegan? Simply put…
Vegetarian: one who does not eat meat, fish, or poultry. In some cases, they exclude any food derived from animals, including dairy products and eggs. They subsist on fruit, vegetables, nuts, grain, legumes.
Vegan: excludes ALL animal products from their diet, including honey and gelatin.
Unbeknownst to my mother, she grew up in an almost vegetarian household. Money was tight, so meat was rarely served. Her family’s diet consisted mainly of bulgur, rice, potatoes, fresh vegetables, legumes and olive oil. My grandmother never used butter (she said it made her sick), so olive oil was used for everything. Fish was part of their meal only if, on Saturday when the fish was a day-old, my grandfather was able to purchase it at a very reduced price. Lamb or chicken was served sparingly, and only on rare occasions. Perhaps this is why my mom is still in pretty good health at her age, with the exception of using a walker.
Between now and Easter (April 24th, coinciding with Armenian Martyr’s Day), I’ll be sharing some meatless recipes with you.
I’ll be happy to post any of your family-favorite Lenten recipes, too. Just email them to me: firstname.lastname@example.org.
PS: A photo to accompany the recipe would be a lovely addition!