Lenten Recipes from St. John’s Armenian Apostolic Church in San Francisco


1/4 cup chopped parsley

1/4 cup finely chopped red and green peppers

1/4 cup green onions or finely chopped onions


Put the lentils in a kettle, add water and bring to a full boil. Simmer for 5 minutes, removing the thick foam that rises to the surface.

Add salt and simmer covered for 40 to 50 minutes, stirring occasionally. When the mixture has cooked to a thick, yellow mass and the water has been absorbed, remove from the heat.

Measure the cracked wheat into a deep bowl and pour the cooked lentils over it, stirring to combine well. Set the bowl aside, covered, for 10 minutes.

Heat the olive oil in a small skillet and add the onions, sauté until they begin to brown. Add pepper; then add the contents of the pan to the bowl and knead or mix thoroughly. Adjust seasonings.

Wet hands and shape mixture into finger- or sausage-shaped patties: pinch one piece, squeeze gently in your closed fist and release. Arrange the patties on a dish or plate. Mix the greens for the filling, sprinkle over the patties and serve.

Yield: 6 servings or more


Spinach soup


4 cups hot water

1/2 cup lentils, picked to remove residue and rinsed

1/2 cup cracked wheat (bulgur), coarse

1-2 garlic cloves, crushed

1-2 teaspoons of salt

1 can (16 ounces) whole tomatoes, broken

2 tablespoons of tomato paste

1 10oz. package frozen spinach in whole leaves (or its equivalent in fresh spinach leaves)

1 teaspoon crushed, dried basil or 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil


Bring the water to a full boil, add the lentils and wheat, bring to a boil again and simmer for 20-25 minutes.

Add the garlic, salt, tomatoes and tomato paste and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes or until the lentils are tender. Add spinach and basil for the last 5-10 minutes of cooking. Add more water if needed. Remove from heat and serve hot.

Yield: 6 servings

Note: leftover soup will thicken as it cools, you may need to add boiling water when reheating.

*This recipe is taken from Alice Antreassian’s 40 Days of Lent, published March 28, 1989 by St Vartan Press.


Loopyai Aghtsan Bean Casserole (Plaki)


1 20 oz. can white beans (cannellini beans), rinsed and drained

1 cup of water

2 medium carrots, peeled and diced

2 medium celery ribs, diced

2 medium potatoes, peeled and diced

2 garlic cloves, minced

14 cups chopped parsley

2 tablespoons chopped dill

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1/4 teaspoon red pepper

2 teaspoons of salt

1 teaspoon tomato paste, to taste

1 medium tomato, diced

1/3 cup olive oil

Slices of lemons


Rinse and drain the beans in a colander; put aside.

Add drained liquid to saucepan; add water and all remaining ingredients except tomato paste, tomato, olive oil and beans. Cook over low heat for half an hour, stirring.

Add tomato paste and tomato. Bake another 15 minutes. Add olive oil. Cook an additional 10 minutes or until the vegetables are tender and the mixture is the consistency of thick soup.

Add the beans, bring just to a boil, stir and check the seasoning. Pour into a bowl and refrigerate overnight to allow flavors to blend.

Serve chilled, garnished with slices of lemon.

Yield: 6 servings; 10 or more, serve as a starter

*This recipe is taken from Alice Antreassian’s 40 Days of Lent, published March 28, 1989 by St Vartan Press.


Stewed celery


2 medium onions, sliced

1/4 cup olive oil

1 bunch of celery, washed, leaves removed

1/2 cup of water

3-4 garlic cloves, coarsely sliced

1/4 cup medium red or green bell pepper, seeded, coarsely chopped

Salt and pepper

1 heaped teaspoon of tomato puree

Juice of 1 large lemon


Sauté the onions in the olive oil over medium heat for about 10-12 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent them from browning.

Cut the celery stalks crosswise into 1 inch pieces, there should be about 3 cups. Add to the onions, along with the water, and cook over low heat for 20 minutes, covered. Stir occasionally.

Add garlic, bell pepper and seasonings. Mix the tomato paste with the lemon juice and add to the pan, stirring to combine well. Bake an additional 20 to 25 minutes or until the celery is crisp but tender. Serve hot for best flavor.

Yield: 4 servings

*Variation: At step 3, add 2 carrots, cut into 1/4 inch rounds.

Note: Celery leaves can be added during the last 10 minutes of cooking or can be dried and used in soups or potato salad.


Vospov Prinzi Yeghintz (Pilaf rice with brown lentils)


1/4 cup brown lentils, rinsed

1 bay leaf, water to cover

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil

1 cup long grain rice

2 cups hot water or vegetable broth

1/2 teaspoon of salt

1 teaspoon crushed lemon balm or chopped parsley

1 cup chopped onions


Pick the lentils, rinse them, then add them to a 2 or 3 quart saucepan with just enough water to cover the lentils. Add the bay leaf, bring to a boil, then cook gently. Cover, about 5 minutes or until water is absorbed. Discard the bay leaf.

Add 1/4 cup olive oil and rice to pan, toss to coat, then add hot liquid and seasonings. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer for about 20 minutes or until the liquid is absorbed and the rice and lentils are tender.

Remove the pan from the heat, add the lemon balm or parsley and stir gently. Leave covered for 5 minutes before serving.

While the rice cooks, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet and add the onions. Sauté gently for 15 minutes or until the onion begins to brown around the edges. Serve a spoonful of sautéed onion mixture on each serving of pilaf.

Yield: 4 servings


Sundays of Lent

Each Sunday of Lent has a unique name accompanied by a unique message:

* Week 1 – Poon Paregentan (Shrovetide) – A day of good life, reminding us of God’s love and blessings. (Read Matt. 5-7)

* Week 2 – Expulsion Sunday – Sin enters our lives, preventing us from experiencing the best of life and the fullness of God. (Genesis 1-3)

* Week 3 – Prodigal Sunday – No matter how far we stray from the good of life, there is always hope through God’s Love and Forgiveness. (Luke 15)

* Week 4 – Steward Sunday – Managing the talents and gifts God has given us in a life of purpose and responsibility. (Luke 16)

* Week 5 – Judge Sunday – Prayer and perseverance; having constant communion with God is revealed by an unrighteous and unjust judge who is the focus of today’s message. (Luke 18)

* Week 6 – Advent – The Second Coming of Christ is included in the First Coming lessons. (Matthew 24)

* Palm Sunday – We are entering Holy Week. Our Lord’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem also signals the beginning of Christianity’s holiest days. (Matthew 26)

* Easter Sunday – Christ is risen.


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