I was raised Byzantine Catholic. It is pretty much like being Roman Catholic, but not really. I could explain further, but I really don’t intend to use my blog for theology lessons. But for us, Lent starts on Monday, not Ash Wednesday. We don’t even really acknowledge Ash Wednesday. I remember the first time I saw someone with ashes on their head, I thought they had been cleaning their fireplace and then touched their forehead before they washed their hands. Another difference is that on the first day of Lent and on Good Friday, we can’t have meat or dairy. Growing up in a meat-and-carb-loving family who didn’t really like seafood or beans (or, in my case, fruits and vegetables), and knew absolutely nothing about vegan cooking, this was tough. Basically we picked on Pop Tarts (yes, strangely most varieties of Pop Tarts are dairy-free), Campbell’s Tomato Soup, peanut butter, saltines, bananas, and lo mein all day. Well, this was not very tasty, filling, or healthy.
Luckily in the past several years, I have learned to make and enjoy a wider variety of foods. So now one of my go-to dishes for the first day of Lent and/or Good Friday is fish or shrimp tacos with Mango Avocado Salsa. Actually this salsa makes a frequent appearance on our dinner table ever since I first saw the recipe I based it on two years ago. I tweaked the ratios to how I like it, got rid of the raw onion, and replaced the jalapeno with chili powder and cumin, because I usually have these in my pantry, but don’t usually have a jalapeno lying around (and I am not a huge fan of chunks of raw jalapeno). We LOVE it on fish, shrimp, black bean, or chicken tacos.
I used to make it with just half of a mango and half of an avocado, but The Bug absolutely devours it (well, he does pick around the tomatoes). But when I use a whole avocado and mango, we do usually have some left over. And I hate leftover food. Well, actually, I hate throwing away week-old, uneaten leftover food. So I have come up with a number of ways to “re-purpose” any salsa that is left. Except for the salad, these are all some of The Bug’s favorites:
- Scoop it up with Tostitos Scoops (I usually get the baked ones)
- Put it in an omelet with cheese
- Make a quesadilla with beans and/or cheese
- Put it in a grilled cheese sandwich
- Spoon some on top of a pile of mashed black beans (my version of refried beans)
- Scoop it on top of a salad with Cumin Lime Dressing, and maybe a little feta cheese (my cheaper, easier to find replacement for cotija cheese)
I am giving up wine this year. It was that or ice cream, and I don’t feel like I can part with ice cream right now. Are you giving up anything for Lent?
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Mango Avocado Salsa
Adapted from Cooking Light
1 mango, chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
1 avocado, chopped (about 1 cup)
3/4 cup chopped tomatoes (I like to use grape tomatoes)
Juice of 1 lime
1-2 Tablespoons chopped cilantro
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon salt
A few grinds of pepper
1. Combine all of the ingredients in a bowl. I like to squeeze the lime over it right after I cut the avocado to keep it from turning brown.
2. If you have time, let it sit in the fridge for a little while to let the flavors blend before eating.
3. Scoop onto your taco of choice.