As lent kicks off this week on Ash Wednesday, we take a look at some of the Borderland’s staple dishes during the religious day of observance.

El Paso is so close to the border that it’s no wonder we share a ton of delicious recipes and that’s no exception, especially during Lent.

Beginning on Ash Wednesday, Good Friday and all Fridays during Lent, adult Catholics over the age of 14 abstain from eating meat. One of the most common ways of doing this is by eating less red meat and more vegetarian and/or pescatarian meals. While most of these dishes are available pretty much year-round they really are front and center when Lent comes around.


Lentils are a great source of protein and they are also a staple soup during Lent. My family’s recipe is rather scrumptious with the addition of carrots, kale, and tomatoes for more of a stew consistency.

Shrimp or Potato Tortitas (Croquettes)

One of my favorite Lent dishes are shrimp or potato croquettes which are fried patties that may be topped with a light tomato sauce accompanied by rice, beans, and a salad.

Cactus Salad

Nopales or cacti is a common ingredient in numerous Mexican cuisine dishes and can be prepared in various ways. Nopales can be served cold or hot depending on the dish but my favorite is prepared as a cold salad with tomatoes, jalapeños, onions and tons of fresh lime juice and avocado.

Fish / Shrimp

Fish is a huge Lent staple that can be prepared in a variety of ways such as a fish stew, shrimp cocktail, or even tacos. Shrimp and fish can be covered in Pipian which is a special sauce made with pumpkin seeds or even Veracruz style which is a combination of olives, chiles, capers, and different herbs and spices.


Ceviche is a fast go-to dish during lent made with either shrimp, fish or even nopales.

Chiles Rellenos

You can stuff California or Poblano chiles with cheese, tuna or vegetables to create these savory and delicious stuffed chiles.


Capirotada is a traditional Mexican dessert similar to a bread pudding that is usually eaten during the Lenten period and Good Friday. This is one of those dishes that is either loved or avoided since it has a combination of bread, cheese, raisins, piloncillo (Mexican raw sugar), peanuts, milk and spices among other ingredients.

These are but a handful of delicious staple eats that can be consumed during Lent but if you are looking for some more tasty and inspirational dishes check out these recipes - click HERE.

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