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Tasty Chickpea Gyros

By Michelle DiFranco | Photography by Shane Folkertsma | March 2021

A Lenten Recipe For Busy Catholic Parents

 

Perhaps I’m biased, but I think that some of the unsung heroes of the coronavirus pandemic are parents. With kids at home who are normally at school, parents at home who are normally at work, and fewer opportunities to get away themselves, mothers and fathers have had to help carry a tremendous burden for families. And on behalf of all the amazing Catholic parents who now face the annual Lenten task of preparing meat-free meals that don’t elicit moans and groans from our offspring, I’m giving them a big shout-out and encouraging them in their vocation.

Now I  certainly can’t control this seemingly endless pandemic. But as for helping a fellow parent navigate the demands of a kitchen during a period of fasting, I can try to lend a hand. What does a busy parent do when looking for new recipe ideas for Lent? I joined a local Facebook group for Catholic moms, and it has provided me with plenty of great suggestions.

A few months ago, a friend invited me to join this amazing group of Catholic women on social media, and I’m really grateful for the invitation! It has everything from parenting advice to Catholic book suggestions; from homeschooling tips to encouraging words from Scripture.

The group’s founder was looking for a way to connect with other moms after she and her family moved to a new area, and she found that making connections with like-minded women was very supportive. “When I became a mom, I found a lot of secular moms groups and wanted to have a group centered on our Catholic faith. I met a lot of women who had so much wisdom to share! I thought, how can I bring all of us together and build a community of faith and motherhood?”

The group offers both practical advice and spiritual advice – everything from “how to survive Mass with toddlers to how to manage the death of a loved one.” As the founder says, “It’s a village of faith.”

I share the following recipe from this “village of faith.” When I was pondering what Lenten-appropriate recipe to feature in this month’s column, I had some ideas, but before committing to any one recipe, I turned to my fellow moms for fresh ideas. Within minutes of posting my question on the group’s page, the suggestions started to pour in. I selected one of the many great recipe ideas that one of our moms posted, and with her permission, I share it here. I’ve already tried it, and it is absolutely as delicious as it sounds! 

So to the parents who are struggling through these difficult times – know you’re not alone! As Catholic parents, we should be encouraged to lean on each other and support each other. Because whether it’s a school shutdown, a sick child or the simple quandary of what dish to prepare for dinner ... we can help each other get it done!
 


TASTY CHICKPEA GYROS

(recipe idea courtesy of Heika Scheitler)

  • 2 cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • ¼ teaspoon chili flakes (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dry dill

Salt and pepper to taste
Dash lemon juice
Greek pita bread (about 8)

  • Sliced red onion
  • Sliced tomato
  • Sliced cucumber
  • Feta cheese (optional)

 

TZATZIKI SAUCE

  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • ¼ cup grated or finely diced cucumbers
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper to taste

For the Tzatziki, combine all ingredients and place in the refrigerator to chill.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Rinse and drain chickpeas and then pat dry with paper towels.
In a mixing bowl, toss chickpeas with olive oil, lemon juice, spices and dried herbs. Spread onto a cookie sheet in a single layer and roast in the oven for 30-40 minutes (depending on desired crispiness). Serve with pita, tzatziki sauce, sliced red onion, tomatoes, cucumbers and feta cheese.

AS CATHOLIC PARENTS, WE SHOULD BE ENCOURAGED TO LEAN ON EACH OTHER AND SUPPORT EACH OTHER.