Local Catholics offer meatless recipes for Lent

By Sam Lucero | The Compass | February 17, 2021

As the first Friday of Lent approaches, Catholics should begin to consider their choice of meatless meals. As Patricia Kasten explains in her “preparing for Lent” column on page 20, abstaining from meat on Fridays is a universal church rule that was instituted by Pope Nicholas I in 867. (The practice has since been changed to a Lenten obligation.)

The Compass invited two area Catholics with culinary backgrounds to offer simple, meatless recipes and describe how they chose the dish.

Barb Estabrook (Submitted photo | For The Compass)

Barb Estabrook, a member of St. Pius X Parish in Appleton, is an award-winning baker. A story in The Compass last November described how her baking skills have led to numerous national awards, including as a two-time finalist in the Pillsbury Bake-Off.

Estabrook said she chose a salmon recipe because of its healthy benefits, especially for seniors.

“Now that I am in my senior years, I eat salmon usually twice a week because it is a great protein option and because it is rich in omega-3 fatty acids,” she said. “I usually bake extra salmon, refrigerate the salmon up to two days (or I freeze it) and break it up cold over a large salad of mixed greens, adding a few additional ingredients such as cucumbers, bell peppers and dried cherries, then toss the salad with a simple olive oil and fresh squeezed lemon dressing.”

“This was the first time I used toasted almonds and it really added to the salmon fillet, especially with the glaze drizzled over the top as the final touch,” she added. “I felt it made for a nice presentation and added a bit of crunch.”

Bourbon Glazed Salmon with toasted sliced almonds


Glazed Salmon with toasted sliced almonds.

1/4 cup maple syrup

3 tablespoons light brown sugar

1 tablespoon soy sauce (low sodium)

2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

1/8 scant teaspoon roasted garlic powder

2 tablespoons bourbon

4 serving-size, fresh or frozen (thawed) salmon fillets with skin on

Fresh ground sea salt and black pepper

1/4 cup sliced toasted almonds (see note below)


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Place salmon, skin side down, on the lined baking sheet. Blot salmon with paper towels and let set at room temperature until needed.

In a small, heavy saucepan over medium-high heat, combine maple syrup, brown sugar, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, vinegar and garlic powder. Stir until the mixture begins to boil. Set the pan off heat and slowly stir in bourbon. Return to low heat; stir and cook until mixture has slightly thickened — about two to three minutes. Remove the saucepan from heat.

Season salmon with several grinds of sea salt and pepper. Bake salmon for six minutes, then remove from the oven. Spoon and spread two teaspoons of sauce over each piece of salmon. Return to oven and bake for three to four minutes, or until done. To test, insert  fork in the thickest part of salmon and gently twist. Salmon is done when it begins to flake. Remove from oven. Warm sauce and brush over salmon, except reserve about two tablespoons. Sprinkle almonds evenly over each salmon fillet and drizzle with reserved sauce. Serve. My favorite side dish with this salmon is oven roasted asparagus.

Note: I purchase bourbon in $1 sample bottles found in the liquor section of most supermarkets. The alcohol will burn off when cooking the sauce. To toast almonds, heat a nonstick skillet over medium stovetop heat, add almonds and,after one minute, stir and turn until almonds are lightly toasted. Cool almonds in a small dish.

Dan Froelich, executive chef, St. Norbert College Dining Services

Chef Dan Froelich

For the past 32 years, Froelich has been creating breakfast, lunch and dinner menus at the De Pere campus cafeteria. A member of St. Willebrord Parish in Green Bay, Froelich shares a meatless recipe he first tasted in Belize in Central America.

“When my wife, Mary Anne, and I were in Belize visiting our son Andy, who was stationed in Punta Gorda with the Jesuit Volunteer Corps, we were fortunate to enjoy many meals with Andy’s friends,” said Froelich. “The black bean garnachas were one dish that really stood out and we were able to really enjoy with our new Belizean friends. I have made these garnachas many times for our family and friends and they are always a success. They are easy to make and really delicious.”

Belizean Black Bean Garnachas

Black Bean Garnachas


Whole fried corn tortillas (tostada shells can be used)

Black bean puree:

1 medium onion, chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 green bell pepper, chopped

2 15-oz. cans black beans, rinsed and drained

3 tablespoons fresh chopped cilantro

1/2 teaspoon cumin

2 teaspoons chile powder

1 teaspoon black pepper

1 15-oz. can diced tomatoes

3 cups vegetable broth

1 cup grated Gouda cheese

Curtido: (A cabbage relish)

1/2 medium head cabbage, chopped

1 small carrot, grated

1/2 small onion, sliced

1/4 teaspoon dried red pepper

1/2 teaspoon oregano

1 teaspoon olive oil

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon sugar

1/4 cup vinegar

1/2 cup water


In a large pot, saute the onions, garlic and bell pepper until onions soften, about three minutes. Add the beans, seasonings and tomatoes, and stir to combine. Add vegetable broth. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook, uncovered, for about one hour or until a thick puree consistency.

In a pot or cast iron pan, put about one inch of peanut oil. Heat the oil to very hot. Test heat by using a single tortilla chip. When it is hot enough, the chip will float immediately and bubble vigorously. Cooking time for a whole corn tortilla will vary depending on the heat. You are looking for a nice golden color.

When tortillas have cooled, spread the thickened black beans over the corn tortilla shells and top it off with a sprinkling of cheese. Top with the curtido.

Curtido: Blanch the cabbage with boiling water for one minute. Discard the water. Place the cabbage in a large bowl and add grated carrots, sliced onion, red pepper, oregano, olive oil, salt, sugar, vinegar and water. Place in the refrigerator for at least two hours before serving as a topper for garnachas.


[vc_row][vc_column][vc_message]Meatless meals from around the world

Each Friday of Lent, Catholics abstain from eating meat as a way to experience a little of the hunger that many experience daily. Each year, Catholic Relief Services offers meatless meal recipes from around the world as part of its CRS Rice Bowl campaign. Journey with Catholics around the world and incorporate these Lenten recipes into your meatless Fridays. Give the money you saved each week by not eating meat — about $3 per person per meal — to your CRS Rice Bowl to feed those in need around the world.

Source: Catholic Relief Services, crsricebowl.org/recipe.[/vc_message][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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