During the season that leads up to the celebration of Easter, some Christians forgo meat — beef, lamb, poultry, pork, lamb, venison and any other animal — as a form of abstinence on Ash Wednesday and Fridays. It's a tradition that dates back hundreds of years. Fish is allowed on these days, though, and so are other meatless dishes.

Of course, a meatless pizza on Friday night is always an option, but there are so many delicious foods to eat during Lent while still observing the tradition. If you abstain from meat during Lent, try one of these delicious dinners. Even if you're not abstaining, these dishes are so good, you'll want to try them anyway.

1. Franesca Soup: In Ecuador, this is a traditional dish served during Lent. This soup has 12 grains (representing Jesus' 12 disciples), dried cod, peanuts, hard-boiled eggs and mini cheese empanadas floating in a creamy base. On Good Friday, vendors serve it out of large vats. It's a bit of work to make yourself, but so worth it.

2. Italian Fish Stew: You have a few different options for the whitefish in this stew that also includes clams, mussels and a choice of squid or crab in a white wine and fish broth. Plenty of complementary herbs along with onion, celery and garlic add major flavor.

3. Spicy BBQ Chickpea and Crispy Polenta Bowls with Asparagus and Ranch Hummus: This visually stunning dish is comprised of beautifully arranged asparagus, polenta cakes, spicy chickpeas, arugula, grape tomatoes, sliced avocado and cheddar with a dollop of hummus in the center. It's not for people who can't handle their food touching, but for everyone else, it's a Lenten treat.

mushroom lentil bourguignon This beefless-bourguignon is perfect for Lent. (Photo: Jaymi Heimbuch)

4. Mushroom Lentil Bourguignon: Lentils for Lent? When they're added to mushrooms, they take the place of beef in this meaty, but not full of meat, classic French dish. Serve with with creamy mashed potatoes or over roasted vegetables.

5. Spinach and Artichoke Ravioli Bake: Meat sauce pastas don't work for a Lenten meal, but you don't have to give up pasta. This quick-to-throw-together meal uses frozen ravioli and jarred Alfredo and pesto sauces, with spinach and artichoke thrown in to veg up the casserole.

6. Baked Pollock with Peppers and Tomatoes: Peppers, onions and garlic are sautéed before tomatoes are added. The fish goes on top before it's all baked in the oven, with a little booze for flavor added toward the end of the cooking time.

7. Quiche with Asparagus, Mushrooms and Cheddar: This simple dish makes a breakfast, lunch or dinner for Ash Wednesday any Friday during Lent. It uses a pre-made pie crust (but you can make our own if you want). Fresh, seasonal asparagus should be available the last week or two during lent to make this extra special.

Robin Shreeves ( @rshreeves ) focuses on food from a family perspective from her home base in New Jersey.