Home Food & Drink Dishes commonly found on Mexican tables during Lent and Holy Week

Dishes commonly found on Mexican tables during Lent and Holy Week

by sanmigueltimes
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Check out these delicious alternatives for those observing Lenten dietary restrictions in Mexico

Lent and Holy Week are periods of deep religious significance in Mexico, marked by unique culinary traditions that reflect the country’s rich cultural tapestry. During these forty days leading up to Easter Sunday, many Mexicans participate in ‘Cuaresma’ (Lent) and ‘Semana Santa’ (Holy Week), often abstaining from red meat in favor of vegetarian or pescatarian meals (fish or seafood).

Empanadas de Vigilia are a staple during this time. These meatless hand pies are filled with various ingredients such as poblano chile rajas, mushrooms sautéed with onion and epazote, or fish sautéed with onion, garlic, and tomatoes1. They embody the spirit of the season, offering a delicious alternative for those observing Lenten dietary restrictions.

Another Lenten favorite is Capirotada, a bread pudding with a deep symbolic meaning. Made with day-old bread, piloncillo syrup, dried fruit, and cheese, it’s traditionally consumed on Fridays during Lent and especially, during Holy Week. Each ingredient represents a different aspect of the crucifixion story, preparing this dessert comes as a reflection of the season’s religious significance.

Egg dishes also play a prominent role during Lent in MexicoHuevos Rancheros and eggs scrambled with Nopalitos or green beans provide economical and satisfying protein options on meatless Fridays1.


As Holy Week approaches, street food becomes more prevalent, with vendors offering cheese pambazos, fried fish, plantain dishes, and tamarind and fruit-based treats. These foods are practical, delicious, and convenient for those participating in the many outdoor Semana Santa events.

The ‘Siete Cazuelas’ is another tradition observed during Lent Fridays and holy days. This meal consists of seven different dishes, including broad bean soup, lentil soup, shrimp pancakes with nopales and pipián, fish fillet, Torrejas, sweet chilacayote, and Agua de Obispo—a refreshing drink made with beet water, banana slices, orange, and lettuce.

Capirotada (Photo:Archive)

Mexican cuisine is renowned for its diversity and flavor, and the dishes served during Lent and Holy Week are no exception. From the savory empanadas de Vigilia to the sweet capirotada, these foods offer a glimpse into the country’s culinary creativity while honoring the solemnity of the season. Whether one observes Lent out of religious conviction or cultural tradition, the period is undoubtedly a festival of flavors, celebrated with dishes that might not be found during the rest of the year.

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