SAN FRANCISCO — The St. John Armenian Apostolic Church in San Francisco offers these traditional Lenten-friendly recipes at its website. “The Great Lent is approaching and the Christian world is preparing for the season of fasting and self-reflection. Each recipe is modified to suit the taste of the cook and you are free to make changes based on your own preferences. A strict Lenten fast in the Armenian Church prohibits animal products, but if your health or circumstances cannot allow for it, start smaller. It shouldn’t become an obsession, but a precursor to spiritual growth,” says Fr. Mesrop Ash, Parish Priest at St. John Armenian Apostolic Church since 2012.
In the Armenian Orthodox tradition, Lent is observed by abstaining from all meat, fish, eggs, and dairy products from the day after Poon Paragentan through Easter Eve Badarak. Because it is often difficult to keep this strict tradition, most individuals and families choose to modify their diets. A good alternative many people choose is to observe this rule on Wednesdays and Fridays, while abstaining from meat only on the other days of the week.
Red Lentils with Cracked Wheat Vospov (Kheemah or Kufta)
1 1/4 cups red lentils, picked over and rinsed
3 cups water