Food & drink
5 Mediterranean meat-free meals for your Good Friday munchies
Stay away from the bacon no matter how much you want it!

Kristina Cassar Dowling

Lent is a time of sacrifice, a period where items or activities of habit are given up in preparation for Easter. Much like the Islamic fasting period of Ramadan, a time of reflection and abstinence is expected from lay people of the Christian or Catholic faith.

The most prominent day of reflection is Good Friday and the most common form of abstinence is staying away from meat products. Here are a few meal options to get you in tune with Lent’s Good Friday.

Qaqocc (artichoke)

Traditional to the Maltese kitchen and highly recommended for their health benefits, artichokes serve as a great meat free alternative when you’re trying to give bacon the boot during Lent. Preparing qaqocc in a pressure cooker reduces cooking time and adds a tender, more succulent texture to the leaves. Serve this with your favourite sides, such as spinach, endive, potatoes, anchovies, tuna, kunserva and of course fresh Maltese bread.

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Tuna pie

Fish is accepted on prominent fasting days and is recommended for Wednesdays and Fridays throughout the Lenten period. Tuna is easy to cook with and pretty versatile in its preserved form and therefore makes for a great meat substitute.

Tuna pies are quite the thing in Malta. Usually combined with spinac, fresh or frozen onions, finely sliced olives and a hearty sprinkle of coarse black pepper. All this, stuffed in pie crust that’s perfectly browned in the oven.

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Veggie curry

Going totally veggie for a couple of days won’t hurt you. If anything it will give the poor cattle and poultry a break. Get your curry on in a guilt-free kinda way. Indian food is predominantly vegetarian due to the Buddhist and Hindu practices that take place in the Asian quarters so finding a recipe won’t be hard.

Some of the best ingredients to add to your vegetable curry include: potato - for that creamy, comfort food element; fried eggplant - to add that astringent flavour; fresh greens, like bok choi - for an antioxidant kick; and a variety of others that could make for a weekly Friday special.

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Homemade pizza

Whether you’re making the dough yourself, or buying a batch from the baker’s, preparing a fresh, homemade pizza is so rewarding. From rolling out the dough to arranging the ingredients to your exact liking, the prep process is fun, fun, fun!

Get the kids involved and make an activity out of it. Choose fine ingredients like buffola mozzarella, fresh button mushrooms, fresh fried marrows, thinly sliced aubergines - fried and salted to order - and a variety of other fresh, ideally organic, local produce.

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Pasta Norma

A pasta dish for the hungry folk out there, Spaghetti Norma is a typical Sicilian dish that’s never been known to disappoint. If you’ve never tried a Norma, you need to get this dish into your life.

Simple cooking is usually the best since it focuses on flavour not flamboyance. Grab a large aubergine, cube it, fry it in good extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle a teeny bit of salt over the golden cubes. Prepare a good red sauce. Don’t forget a pinch of sugar to cut the acidity and swish your al dente spaghetti through it. Then, add the fried aubergine, grate as much ricotta salata on top, and garnish with fresh basil leaves, pepper and olive oil to taste. Yum!

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Hey presto! Five easy meals that are totally meat-free, guilt-free and ready to elevate your Good Friday feeding times.

2nd April 2021


Kristina Cassar Dowling
Written by
Kristina Cassar Dowling
A local writer in love with the Maltese islands, Kristina is a hunter for all things cultural both in Malta and outside its shores. A curious foodie, music fanatic, art lover and keen traveller with an open mind and a passion for writing.

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