Traditional lenten dishes for Christmas in Ukraine

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Traditional lenten dishes for Christmas in Ukraine

Traditional lenten dishes for Christmas in Ukraine

On the evening of January 6, on Christmas Eve, Ukraine celebrates the Holy Evening and traditionally puts 12 meatless dishes on the table – according to the number of apostles. As soon as the first star appears in the sky, the whole family sits down at the table and begins dinner.

Depending on the region of Ukraine, the dishes are slightly different, but we have collected 12 traditional dishes known throughout the country.


Kutia is the main dish for Holy Evening. It is with kutia that both a lean feast before Christmas and a rich meal the next day begin. Traditionally, it is made from wheat with poppy seeds, honey, nuts and raisins. The dish has a deep symbolic content, because wheat, like a grain, comes to life every year, therefore it is a symbol of eternity.


Uzvar is a traditional Christmas dried fruit compote. It must be on the Ukrainian Christmas table along with kutia.


Dumplings with cabbage and dumplings with potatoes. Serve with oiled and fried onions. This dish on the table symbolizes the abundance of the family.


Lenten borscht. It symbolizes peace and harmony. As a rule, they prepare borsch with prunes and mushrooms. And to make the dish more festive, porcini mushrooms are added.


Cabbage rolls are a cabbage dish that is a symbol of unity around one foundation, stability and strength. To make the dish lean, instead of meat, cabbage leaves are stuffed with rice and mushrooms.



Vinaigrette is a popular vegetable salad. There are many versions of the vinaigrette: pickled cucumber, sauerkraut, pickled beets, or even tulka.


Mushrooms. Pickled or salted, seasoned with oil and onions, baked in the oven. Mushrooms symbolize procreation and fertility, therefore they are often used to prepare festive dishes.


The braised beans, symbolizing rebirth and spring, or the braised cabbage, symbolizing unity, are traditional Lenten dishes for the Christmas table.


Fish. For the preparation of lean dishes for Holy Evening, it is advisable to choose low-fat types of fish. For Christmas, you can fry it, bake it, cook aspic.


Patties and donuts. They can be made lean from yeast dough, and then fried or baked. For a sweet lean filling, use jam, poppy seeds, fresh fruits or dried fruits, for salted ones – cabbage, mushrooms, buckwheat with dill, beans or peas with onions fried in vegetable oil, boiled potatoes.


Baked apples. They symbolize the connection with our ancestors and the fortress of the clan. Housewives often use nuts and raisins for the filling.


Christmas kalach is a traditional ceremonial bread made from white flour. Twisted and interlaced dough with a hole in the middle. With kalachi they go to visit godparents, relatives, parents.