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This meatless meal is fit for a king or any surprise guest

Aleteia meatless meal planner Lent 2024 - Royal bean pie crowned with mashed potatoes

Robyn Mackenzie | Shutterstock | Altered by Aleteia

John Touhey - published on 02/20/24

Need to feed unexpected visitors on a Lenten Friday? Royal Bean Pie Crowned with Mashed Potatoes will ensure that your guests eat like kings.

Imagine yourself at home one Lenten Friday when you hear a knock. Opening the front door, you are stunned to discover a handsome couple in fine attire standing outside. With dignified calm, the gentleman explains that he and his shivering companion are the King and Queen of Aragon. Unfortunately, their Uber driver dropped them off in the wrong neighborhood and might they come in to get out of the cold?

You cautiously invite this strange couple in, and as they take a seat on your sofa, it dawns on you that they look very familiar. Indeed, you saw a photo of the pair just a few hours ago – while reading a story in Aleteia about the Royal House of Aragon’s visit to your area! Thank goodness you tidied up this afternoon!

That’s when you suddenly realize it is dinnertime and their Royal Highnesses look quite famished. You really should offer them a meal, but what dish could you quickly whip up that would be fit for royalty — on a Lenten Friday no less? Then you remember with relief something else you read in Aleteia this very article that tells you how to make Royal Bean Pie Crowned with Mashed Potatoes!

Hospitality is always a miracle

Of course, the odds of an actual king and queen showing up unexpectedly at your door are microscopically small. However, there is always a chance that you will run into a hungry friend, neighbor, or stranger. And like Abraham and Sarah, who as you recall had three visitors suddenly show up at their tent uninvited, we always want to be ready to show our hospitality.

There is something truly holy in hospitality, especially when it is offered to someone who we have no immediate connection with or interest in. As Fr. Luigi Giussani writes in his book The Miracle of Hospitality:

Hospitality always means welcoming something different from us.”

According to Giussani, by showing hospitality to others who are different from us, be they kings and queens, or refugees from faraway lands, we live “to the ultimate degree” our true humanity, “imitating God” by living out the ideal of gratuitous love.

We have only to look at the example of Abraham and Sarah. When Abraham spotted the three visitors, he recognized that he was in the presence of the Lord (who suddenly revealed Himself as Trinity), and immediately invited the three into his tent, asking Sarah to feed them. It is then that God revealed that his promise to Abraham would be fulfilled; the aged Sarah would soon give birth to the child that she and Abraham have long desired.

The miracle of hospitality, indeed!

Royal Bean Pie Crowned with Mashed Potatoes

Royal Bean Pie Crowned with Mashed Potatoes

This recipe is quick and delicious. It takes about half an hour to prepare from start to finish. You can make it with whatever ingredients you have on hand. You might substitute mushrooms for Brussel sprouts, for instance, use peppers or celery in place of carrots, add the remnants of a bag of frozen veggies, etc. Be free and creative and as long as you follow the basic idea, the result will be tasty.

Ingredients (serves 4-6)

  • 2 15 oz cans of navy beans (or kidney beans, black beans, etc.)
  • 2 large potatoes (about 2 lbs. worth)
  • 1 medium onion
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 6-7 Brussels sprouts
  • 2 carrots
  • 2 cups of vegetable broth (or water in a pinch)
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • salt, pepper, herbs (rosemary, thyme, oregano)
  • breadcrumbs and grated parmesan cheese

Directions: Peel, cut and boil the potatoes until easily penetrated with fork. Trim the Brussels sprout ends and quarter them, then microwave on high for 1 ½ – 2 minutes in a covered bowl. Mince garlic and 2 sprigs of parsley, chop the onion, peel and grate carrots.

Sauté the garlic, onions, carrots, and sprouts in a saucepan until tender. Drain the beans and add to the saucepan along with 2 cups of vegetable broth. You can add a little more broth if needed until it barely tops the beans and other ingredients. The important thing is that you want the beans to cook, but you don’t want the mixture to be overly liquidy. Add a pinch of salt, a dash of pepper, and about half a teaspoon of herbs. Bring the beans to a boil and add half a teaspoon of herbs (e.g.., oregano, thyme, rosemary), along with two sprigs of parsley, chopped. Cover pan and let simmer for 15 minutes, until beans are tender.

Drain potatoes and mash them with a potato masher. Add 1 tablespoon of butter, 1/3 cup of milk, and a pinch of salt. Wisk the potatoes with a fork until smooth. Add a tiny bit more milk if needed – but don’t let the mashed potatoes become soupy.

Once the beans are done, ladle them into an 8” x 8’ baking dish, or medium-sized casserole dish. You can spoon out any excess liquid if necessary and refrigerate to use for soup later. Top the beans with a layer of mashed potatoes. Sprinkle with breadcrumbs and generously with parmesan cheese. Place under the broiler until a golden-brown crust begins to form on top. Remove from oven and garnish with leaves of remaining parsley. Serve with tossed salad.


For more meatless meal ideas, check out Aleteia’s Meatless Meal Planner for Lent 2024. We will be adding new recipes every Tuesday all throughout the season of Lent.

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BibleCatholic LifestyleFoodLent
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