This Baton Rouge culinary store offers ideas, classes and ingredients for healthy Lenten cooking

Lent is here, triggering the annual pledge among many Louisianans to reign it in after Carnival season. From now until Holy Week, a more disciplined culinary mood descends, with practitioners giving up common indulgences, and meat making way for seafood and plant-based options on Friday menus.

If you’re a home cook embracing this ritualistic restraint, Red Stick Spice Co. in Baton Rouge is a great source of inspiration.

“This time of year, we have an uptick in questions about fish and meatless cooking,” says store owner Anne Milneck.

Baja Fish Tacos. Courtesy Red Stick Spice Co.

The Mid City culinary shop stocks a wide variety of house-blended spice mixes for quick and easy seafood and vegetarian cooking. And today, the store’s latest Smidgen podcast drops with an episode on Lenten recipes that go beyond just fish.

Moreover, Red Stick Spice’s popular culinary classes include numerous sessions throughout the year that focus on healthy cooking, Milneck says. In December, the store began partnering with Baton Rouge General on four new classes on the Mediterranean Diet that include healthy living tips from medical weight loss physician Drake Bellanger.

Red Stick Spice’s classes fill up fast, but stay tuned to the calendar to get the jump on what’s forthcoming. Milneck says the next available BRG class is April 10. Participants will learn how to make restaurant-style hummus with marinated feta; slow-roasted salmon with fennel, citrus and chiles; white beans and kale with crunchy garlicky breadcrumbs; harissa-honey carrots and farro with Italian sausage and apple cider.

Other Red Stick Spice class topics include plant-based and gluten-free cooking with registered dietitian Daphne Olivier, and meal prep inspiration with personal nutrition coach Kylee Arnold

Asparagus Salad. Courtesy Red Stick Spice Co.

Meanwhile, Red Stick Spice stocks plenty of ingredient options for fast and easy Lenten meals at home.

The middle section of the store features racks of 1-ounce spice blends that Milneck and her team create in-house. Each blend comes with specific suggestions for how to use it, and there’s enough in each packet to season 2 to 3 pounds of protein, Milneck says.

Numerous blends are great for sheet pan dinners, while others are designed for different types of proteins or plant-based ingredients.

There’s also a whole section devoted specifically to seafood.

“This is the section of the store where we solve problems,” Milneck says.

Pick up Lemon-Lime Salmon Rub, for example, Barbecue Shrimp seasoning or Thai Red Curry for a big bowl of shrimp curry or on a whole roasted cauliflower.

“Think of fish as a blank canvas,” Milneck says. “The spice blends are versatile and can be applied to all different types of seafood.”

Red Stick Spice Co. is at 660 Jefferson Highway. Find more info on its website.