If you read my last post you will know that I’ve been experimenting with some vegetarian recipes lately, and I feel the need to share my latest success.
I never used to eat lentils. In fact, I didn’t even know that they are a great source of protein; I just always thought they were a boring vegetable that you used in soup. As I discovered with my recipe last night; this is not the case. These little legumes are actually very versatile, and can be added to salads, stews, stir-fries, pasta and just about any dish that you want to make vegetarian without losing the protein. A ¼ cup serving has about 10g of protein, 1 g of fat and 150 calories. Protein is vital to our health, and because it takes longer to digest than carbs & fats; it provides us with lots of energy, and keeps us feeling full longer. It also helps our muscles re-build quicker after a workout.
Give lentils a try tonight with this yummy recipe that I adapted from Oh She Glows:
Lentil Sweet Potato Salad – Serves 2 main dishes or 4 sides
½ cup of organic green lentils
1 ½ cups of organic vegetable broth (for cooking the lentils)
1 large or 2 small sweet potato
2 tbsp olive oil
1 small onion diced
2 cloves of garlic minced
1 organic orange pepper (substitute any veggie that will provide some crunch-snap peas, broccoli, etc.)
2 big handfuls of organic baby spinach
½ cup of raisins
½ tbsp of Maple Syrup
½ tbsp of Balsamic Vinegar
½ tbsp of Olive Oil
½ tsp of Dijon Mustard
Salt & Pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 400F.
Peel & chop your sweet potato into small cubes, and toss in a bowl with 1 tbsp of olive oil and salt & pepper. Spread on a baking sheet and roast for 25-30 minutes flipping halfway through.
While your potatoes are roasting, cook your lentils (using the broth) according to package instructions (takes about 15-20 minutes).
In a small bowl, whisk together all the ingredients for your dressing & set aside.
While your lentils & potatoes are cooking, heat 1 tbsp of olive oil in a large frying pan on medium heat. Add your chopped onions & garlic and sauté until translucent (about 5 minutes). Add in your chopped pepper and sauté for a few more minutes. Add in your spinach (until wilted) & your raisins. Turn your heat to low.
Once the sweet potatoes & lentils are finished cooking; add them to your frying pan and stir everything together.
Transfer to a large bowl; stir in the dressing, season with S & P, and voila!
Happy vegetarian cooking!
Do you have some other suggestions on how to cook with lentils?
I have been enjoying your conversation on eating vegetarian. I myself have taken to eating more meals this way and try to keep to my promise of “vegetarian sundays” (I dont think i could ever give up meat completely but i have made the switch to local, organic cuts (SO much more flavor) so i feel good about it!). It is actually really fun to have time to cook and explore different types of ingredients. Lately I have been big into lentils, tofu (the obvious go-to vegetarian food), tempeh and of course different bean dishes.
This is a recipe that a friend sent me that i LOVE! You can make it with or without the chicken but it is super hearty and very easy. If you want it to be more on the stew side, just add less broth (obviously). Also the lime juice in the end is KEY!!!!! Enjoy. i am planning on making that edamame dish this weekend, i have been dying to try them!
Chicken & Lentil soup/stew
• 2 tbsp olive oil
• 1 onion, finely diced
• 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
• 1 large red chili, seeded and finely chopped OR chili pepper
• 2 chicken breast fillets (185g each), cut into 1cm cubes
• 1 tsp ground turmeric
• 2 tsp ground cumin
• 1 vine-ripened tomato, diced
• 1/2 cup brown lentils
• 2 tbsp pearl barley
• carrots, chopped
• 1 sweet potato, diced
• 5 cups (1.25 litres) organic chicken stock
• Salt & freshly ground black pepper
• Juice of 1 lime
• 3 tbsp thick plain yoghurt (optional)
• 1/2 cup fresh coriander leaves (optional)
1. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over a moderate heat. Cook the onion, garlic and chili for 4-5 minutes or until soft. Add the chicken and stir over the heat to sear. Add the turmeric and cumin and cook for another minute.
2. Add the tomato, carrots, potatoes, lentils, pearl barley and stock to the saucepan and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to moderate and simmer for 30 minutes or until the lentils are cooked. Season the soup to taste with salt and pepper. Stir through the lime juice. Serve (optional) with a dollop of yoghurt and fresh coriander.
Thanks Jess! I think there’s a stigma around vegetarian food, but there are great recipes out there, and I think a lot of people will be pleasantly surprised once they start trying some of them. This recipe looks awesome! It looks like the perfect dish to make on a Sunday night, and than have leftovers for the next couple days. I’m going to give it a try this weekend. Thanks!
Soup is very common way to eat Lentinls in arabic culture. I really didn’t enjoy them growing up and my mother is a great cook however I still strayed and stayed away from them. She use to use the beige/brown ones. With that said in the Forest Hill village on Spadina just north of St. Clair is an amazing restaurant called Mashu Mashu that has the best lentil soup ever. I used to eat it on a weekly if not by-daily basis. They used orange lentils (if that makes sense) … mmmm