I'd be lying to myself and the Almighty if I didn't confess to waiting until 12 am to fry up some juicy bacon after a bleak and meatless Lent Friday. Lent is a period of Christian religious observance after Mardi Gras — a time of fasting, reflection, and prayer. It's also the worst season for carnivores. Whether you're looking for meal ideas for Lent Fridays or just interested in cheap, meat-free dinners, these 12 recipe ideas are here for you as you endure the last few weeks of Lent. 

1. Black Bean Enchiladas 

It's hard to imagine enchiladas without tangy chicken or tender beef, but black beans make these cheesy enchiladas just as gooey and filling. 

2. Shrimp Tacos 

Many observers of Lent consider fish and other seafood safe to consume on Lent Fridays. This recipe for drunken shrimp tacos is perfect before a Friday night pregame, meditation, or whatever you choose to do on Friday nights during Lent.

3. Butternut Squash Mac n' Cheese 

meat, vegetable, cheese, casserole, sauce, parsley
Parisa Soraya

Cheap, creamy, and oh-so-filling, this butternut squash mac n' cheese is infused with fragrant rosemary that brings out the richness of the squash. 

4. Chickpea Mushroom Burger 

butter, chicken, peanut
Kristi Cook

All you need is a blender to make this savory burger. You can also toast the buns with garlic butter to make this recipe even more delicious. 

5. Thai-Style Vegetable Curry 

Spice up your Lent Fridays and try this Thai-Style Vegetable Curry. Serve over jasmine rice if you prefer to keep it traditional, or opt for something more vibrant and unique, such as sweet potato rice. 

6. Eggplant Parmesan 

basil, cheese, beef, tomato, meat, vegetable, eggplant, sauce, lasagna, Italy, Italian food, European food
Julia Gilman

Eggplant Parmesan is chicken Parmesan's healthier and sexier cousin. Serve it on a bed of rich marinara and skinny spaghetti for a plating aesthetic that's totally Instagram-worthy. 

7. Black Bean Chili

Toss your favorite veggies into a crockpot before leaving for work or Friday morning classes, then return home to this thick and hearty black bean chili. Top it with cilantro, guac, and a squeeze of fresh lime and you're all set.

8. Spring Rolls 

Whether you fry 'em or keep 'em traditional, you can stuff your spring rolls with shrimp or your favorite thinly sliced veggies. If you're not big on peanut sauce, try a homeade fish sauce or a sweet chili sauce. 

9. Wild Mushroom Stroganoff 

This wild mushroom stroganoff recipe uses white wine, vegetable broth, and fresh herbs to make a creamy stroganoff that definitely trumps the beefy version.

10. Vegetable Noodle Casserole 

cheese, macaroni, pasta, meat, vegetable, casserole
Katie Cooper

You can still enjoy granny's favorite noodle casserole, just sub the chicken broth for cream of mushroom or broccoli and add your favorite veggies. Be sure to top it with buttered bread crumbs for a satisfying crunch at the end of each bite. 

11. Vegetable Soup with Dumplings 

Rachael Ray's soothing vegetable dumpling soup takes less than 30 minutes to prep and simmer, leaving you ample time to slurp up bowl after bowl of dumplings swimming in hot broth. 

12. Egg Foo Young With Mushroom Sauce 

Egg Foo Young is like a crispy, savory omelet. Serve it over rice or stir-fried noodles to make the meal more filling. Garnish with green onions and toasted sesame seeds for the finishing touch.

A Day With No Meat? All Is Not Lost.

Lent is supposed to be a sacred time of meditation and self-reflection, with fasting and meatless Fridays serving as ways of abstaining from indulgence. That being said, it doesn't necessarily mean one should starve themselves on Fridays with tasteless frozen fish sticks, or hungrily await midnight to fry up a whole package of bacon. These cheap meals will keep you satisfied and filled, so you can spend the rest of your Lent Fridays fantasizing about the glazed Easter ham you'll devour when it's all over.