Last week I promised you another protein-rich meal: lentil stew, so, with pleasure, here she is! Lentils make a delicious, nutritious, and truly satisfying meal that can be served alone, or over your favorite rice or noodles.
Lentils are legumes which are easier to prepare than dried beans because they do not require several hours of soaking prior to cooking. They cook relatively quickly and absorb the flavours of spices easily. Other than being simply delicious, they are a nutrient powerhouse! They have a ton of iron and protein, are rich in minerals, B vitamins and fiber, which assists in the lowering of cholesterol and blood glucose levels.
There are many different types of lentils that you may want to experiment with and see what suits your taste buds. For a warm dish like this, I like the taste and texture of French lentils (soft, “meaty”, almost creamy), whereas if I am making a lentil salad, I prefer the taste and texture of green lentils (firm and a little crunchy). The green lentils take longer to cook, so keep in mind that one hour will definitely not be enough time to prepare them. If you under-cook them, they won’t be flavorful and you’ll end up having the misconception that lentils are bland. Red or yellow lentils I like a lot in Indian recipes. Try them all and see what you like best!
Enjoy, in joy and in health!
2 cups French lentils
2 cups mushrooms, chopped
4 cups spinach or rapini, chopped
4 gloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons grapeseed oil
2 cups homemade vegetable broth (or you can replace with purified water only)
1 cup purified water
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon unsalted steak spice
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 teaspoon red chili flakes
½ cup fresh parsley or cilantro, chopped
Sea salt and black pepper to taste
1. In a pot, heat 1 tablespoon of oil and 2 gloves of garlic over medium heat. Add lentils and stir, making sure they are coated with oil. After about 2-3 minutes, add broth and water. Add sea salt and bay leaf.
2. Once mixture boils, lower to simmer and allow to slow cook for approximately 1 hour. Taste test to make sure the lentils are soft. If all the water is absorbed but lentils are still too hard, add a little more water and allow to cook for longer. Different types of lentils will take longer to cook.
3. While lentils are cooking, in a saucepan, heat 1 tablespoon of oil and 1 clove of garlic. Add chopped mushrooms, steak spice, oregano, fennel seeds and sea salt. Cook over medium heat until most of the moisture from the mushrooms has evaporated and mushrooms are soft, about 15 minutes. Set aside.
4. In another saucepan, heat 1 tablespoon of oil and 1 clove of garlic. Add chopped spinach or rapini. Add chili flakes and sea salt. Cook over medium heat until leaves are wilted and tender, about 10 minutes for spinach, 20 minutes for rapini. Set aside.
5. Once lentils are soft, remove bay leaf and discard. Add mushrooms and spinach or rapini to the pot. Garnish with chopped fresh parsley or cilantro. Can be served alone in a bowl or over rice or noodles. Serve warm.
“To avoid criticism, do nothing, say nothing, be nothing.” ~Elbert Hubbard