Rice Bowl Recipe From Niger: West African Peanut Stew

Global Meatless Recipes for Lent


International Flavors Combine with Stories of Hope, Videos and Prayer

It can be hard to come up with a meatless recipe each Friday during Lent; especially for families with picky eaters.  This Lent, skip the macaroni and cheese and take your family to someplace special with a collection of five, easy-to-make international recipes.  The recipes are a favorite feature from CRS Rice Bowl, the largest Lenten program in the United States.  This year’s recipes come from Tanzania, Nicaragua, Niger, Lebanon, and the Democratic Republic of Congo and present an opportunity for families to experience new cultures though new ingredients and flavors.  Each recipe comes with a story about a family who is on the road out of poverty, or like for the refugee family in Lebanon, is receiving lifesaving support from programs supported by CRS Rice Bowl.

The recipes are available on attractive recipes cards that can be downloaded from the CRS Rice Bowl website or you can watch the recipes prepared by Chef Fr. Leo Patalinghug, host of Grace Before Meals.com.  Fr. Leo cooks each recipe in a video series called “CRS Rice Bowl’s Global Kitchen”.  The videos are a quick demonstration of how to cook each recipe and an introduction to the people and culture of each featured country.

“Lent is a time to come together as a global family and celebrate the gift of food.  With CRS Rice Bowl we continue our Lenten traditions of prayer, fasting and almsgiving with recipes from five countries.  As a chef, I know how food inspires conversations around the table.  It’s a special gift to get to know our brothers and sisters in places like Tanzania, Nicaragua and Lebanon through their delicious food,” said Fr. Leo Patalinghug.

CRS Rice Bowl’s Global Kitchen debuts on Catholic Relief Service’s YouTube channel and on crsricebowl.org/recipe-archive.

This year marks the 40th anniversary of CRS Rice Bowl, the largest and oldest Lenten program used by millions of Catholics across the United States known for its iconic and symbolic cardboard ‘rice bowl’.  The program has evolved over multiple generations to become a tradition for Catholic families, parishes and religious educators.  Since its inception, millions of Catholics have contributed alms totaling $250 million to support efforts that fight poverty and hunger in dioceses across the U.S. and overseas.

2015 Recipes and Nutritional Information:

CRS Rice Bowl Recipe From Tanzania: Ugali With Bean Soup

Ugali With Bean Soup

Makes 4 servings (557 g per serving)

Ugali is the name for the most common mealtime starch: a thick porridge made from white cornmeal or red millet.   In this recipe it is like a cornmeal meatball.  It adds flavor and thickness to the soup and is fun to eat.


  • 4 cups water
  • 2½ cups cornmeal

Boil water, then stir in cornmeal. Simmer until mixture is thick and water is absorbed. Stir often to prevent burning. Shape the mixture into round balls, one for each person.

Bean Soup

  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 green pepper, finely chopped
  • 4 tablespoons FAIR TRADE olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • Two 16-ounce cans kidney beans
  • 3 cups unsweetened coconut milk

In a large pot, sauté onion and green pepper in oil until soft. Add curry powder, salt, black pepper and tomato. Simmer for 2 minutes, add beans and stir. Add coconut milk and simmer for 10 minutes on low heat. Serve with Ugali.


Calories               553

Protein                 17           g

Carbohydrates   88           g

Dietary Fiber       12           g

Total Sugars        9             g

Fat                        14           g

Saturated Fat      4             g

Cholesterol         0             mg

Phosphorus         261        mg

Potassium           617        mg

Sodium  825        mg


CRS Rice Bowl Recipe From Nicaragua: Gallo Pinto

Gallo Pinto

Makes 4 servings

A national dish in many Latin American countries, this beans and rice dish can be topped with a fried egg or cheese.

  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 4 tablespoons FAIR TRADE olive oil
  • 2 cups rice
  • 4 cups water
  • Two 16-ounce cans red beans, drained
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • Fried egg or cheese (optional)

In a large pot, sauté onion, bell pepper and garlic in oil. Stir in rice. Cook, stirring often, until onions are soft. Add water and cook, covered, until most of the water has been absorbed. Add beans and bay leaf. Mix well and cook over medium heat for 15 minutes. Add more water, if necessary. Serve hot with cheese or fried egg.


Calories               532        kcal

Protein                 18           g

Carbohydrates   90           g

Dietary Fiber       10           g

Total Sugars        8             g

Fat                        11           g

Saturated Fat      2             g

Cholesterol         0             mg

Phosphorus         279        mg

Potassium           570        mg

Sodium  360        mg

Note: Bay leaf, salt, pepper and egg not included in analysis.


CRS Rice Bowl Recipe From Niger: West African Peanut Stew

Rice Bowl Recipe From Niger: West African Peanut Stew

Makes 4 servings (Allergen alert: contains nuts)

This stew gets some sweetness from the peanut butter and brightness from the ginger.  Add more red pepper is you desire more heat. 

  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh ginger, minced
  • 4 tablespoons FAIR TRADE olive oil
  • 6 cups water
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 3 small sweet potatoes, cubed
  • 2 medium tomatoes, chopped
  • 3 cups chopped kale or spinach
  • 1 cup crunchy peanut butter 

In a large pot, sauté onion, garlic and ginger in oil until tender. Add 5 cups water and season with crushed red pepper, salt and black pepper. Stir in sweet potatoes and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 15 minutes. Stir in 1 cup water, tomatoes, greens and peanut butter. Cook over medium heat for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Serve over rice.


Calories               403        kcal

Protein                 11           g

Carbohydrates   22           g

Dietary Fiber       6             g

Total Sugars        8             g

Fat                        31           g

Saturated Fat      4             g

Cholesterol         0             mg

Phosphorus         40           mg

Potassium           372        mg

Sodium  226        mg


CRS Rice Bowl Recipe from Lebanon: Fattet Laban

 Fattet Laban

Makes 4 servings

A classic Middle Eastern dish that combines the creaminess of yogurt with the crunch of chickpeas.

  • One 32-ounce container of plain whole milk yogurt
  • Cheesecloth
  • 1 bunch fresh mint, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon dry mint
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • Two 16-ounce cans chickpeas
  • Pita bread
  • Almonds, chopped, toasted (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons FAIR TRADE olive oil

Place a colander into a bowl, line it with cheesecloth and place yogurt in it. Cover and place in refrigerator. Allow yogurt to drain for a few hours, or overnight.

Combine drained yogurt, fresh and dry mint, and crushed garlic in a bowl. In a pan, heat chickpeas in their liquid until warm, then drain and set aside. Toast pita bread in oven until golden in color. Break some of the pita bread and place pieces in a large bowl with chickpeas. Add yogurt mixture. Top with fresh mint and toasted almonds. Drizzle olive oil over top. Serve with remaining pita bread.


Calories               301        kcal

Protein                 14           g

Carbohydrates   32           g

Dietary Fiber       5             g

Total Sugars        12           g

Fat                        14           g

Saturated Fat      4             g

Cholesterol         22           mg

Phosphorus         22           mg

Potassium           46           mg

Sodium  448        mg


Note: Pita Bread not included. 


CRS Rice Bowl Recipe From the Democratic Republic of Congo: Fried Plantains and Beans

Fried Plantains and Beans

Makes 4 servings

Yes, bananas for dinner!  The plantains are like thick chips and can even be used to scoop up the beans.  Use ripe plantains to bring out the sweetness of this dish. 

Fried Plantains

  • 6 ripe green plantains
  • Salt to taste
  • 6 tablespoons FAIR TRADE olive oil

Peel plantains and cut into thin slices. Lightly salt both sides. Pour oil into pan and heat. Carefully place each plantain slice into oil and fry each side until golden. Drain on rack or paper towel.


  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons FAIR TRADE olive oil
  • Two 16-ounce cans of black beans, drained
  • 1 large tomato, chopped
  • Paprika and chili pepper to taste

In a large pan, sauté onion in oil, then add beans, tomato, paprika and chili pepper. Cook over low heat until hot. Serve with plantains.


Calories               357        kcal

Protein                 9             g

Carbohydrates   61           g

Dietary Fiber       9             g

Total Sugars        20           g

Fat                        10           g

Saturated Fat      1             g

Cholesterol         0             mg

Phosphorus         55           mg

Potassium           704        mg

Sodium  473        mg

Note: Assumed only 2 tablespoons olive oil absorbed for frying plantains.


Recipes were analyzed by Jodie Shield, REd, RDN President and Editor-in-Chief of Healthy Eating for Families. healthyeatingforfamilies.com

For more information please visit, crsricebowl.org or see the online media kit.


Catholic Relief Services is the official international humanitarian agency of the Catholic community in the United States. The agency alleviates suffering and provides assistance to people in need in 91 countries, without regard to race, religion or nationality. For more information, please visit www.crs.org or www.crsespanol.org and follow CRS on Twitter @CatholicRelief and @CRS_expertise; andyoutube.com/user/CatholicRelief.


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