Hosting a dinner party during lent can be a tricky task because we know not everyone does lent the same. You have your strict fasters, the semi-fasters, the non-fasters, and the “I don’t know what fasting is” fasters. And all need to be fed. Typically my usual dinner parties include a variety of greens, cheeses, meats or fish, and Greek yogurt for dessert—basically zero to few Lenten options. When lent comes around my menu changes to please all my guests. Although not everyone may be fasting, and definitely not everyone has an agreeable pallet, I rely on two easy to make dishes that everyone agrees are not only Lenten but also healthy and quick to make.
Garbanzo Bean Soup (Revithia)
My dad discovered this recipe on one of our visits to the island of Sifnos many years ago. Before that, he was not a fan of Garbanzo beans, but just one bite changed his ways. Two bowls later and he was asking the owner for the recipe. Just the revithia, onion and little else. On Sifnos they use dry garbanzo beans and bake everything in a ceramic baking dish overnight. You can do that too but it’s just as satisfying coming from the can and cooked stovetop, and I’ve added extra flavors I like.
-6 15 oz cans of garbanzo beans (undrained)
-1 large white onion, quartered
-2 small shallots, halved
-4 bay leafs
-3 lemons, juiced
-3/4 cup of olive oil
-4 cloves of garlic
-pepper to taste
- In a medium sized pot, pour full contents of garbanzo beans plus the liquid into the pot.
- Add onions, shallots, bay leafs, garlic, and half of the olive oil. Add pepper to taste.
- Bring to a boil. Reduce heat all the way to low and slow simmer for one hour or until beans are soft.
- 15 minutes prior to serving, add remaining olive oil, plus lemon juice.
- Serve with lemons and enjoy!
Spinach and Rice (Spanakorizo)
Spanakorizo has become an instant favorite of every single mouth I’ve fed it to. The style my mom grew up with included tomato paste and you’ll often see other recipes that will include a tomato sauce to the dish. That is something you can add on your own as well as you find new flavors you like. I don’t include a tomato sauce in mine, and I have officially won over my mom with this one. Served as a side or main dish, it’s simplicity and taste will surely be on the menu for many occasions to come.
-2 bunches of spinach, chopped
-1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
-6 cloves of garlic, minced
-1/2 cup long grain white rice
-2 large lemons, juiced
-1/4 cup dill, chopped
-1/2 cup Italian parsley, chopped
- In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat and sauté the onions and garlic until they become wilted.
- Add spinach to the skillet, stirring in for a couple of minutes.
- Once spinach is nearly cooked, pull off the heat and store aside in a bowl.
- Cook rice according to box directions. While rice is simmering, stir in spinach, onions and garlic, plus the dill and parsley.
- Add lemon juice and remove from heat.
- Serve warm and enjoy!