Sunday, June 13, 2010

Meatless Monday: Lentils

We love lentils at my house. I tend to use lentils a lot as they are a good source of protein and iron.

"Iron is needed by the body for the formation of blood. Good sources of iron are spinach and turnip greens, whole grains (including whole wheat bread), black-eyed peas, lentils, peas, and some dried fruits (dried apricots, prunes, and raisins). Eating iron-rich foods with foods containing vitamin C can increase iron absorption: few slices of tomato with your spinach salad can make a difference." 

And better yet, Henry loves them. 

I tend to make up my Lentil soup recipe with whatever I have on hand, but here's a basic one as a reminder...

Easy Lentil Soup

1 onion, chopped
60 ml olive oil
2 carrots, diced
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 g dried oregano
1 bay leaf
1 g dried basil
1 (14.5 ounce) can crushed tomatoes (or fresh tomatoes, depending on what you have)
385 g dry lentils
1895 ml water
15-30 g spinach, rinsed and sliced
30 ml balsamic vinegar
35 ml olive or hemp oil
salt to taste
ground black pepper to taste


In a large soup pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add onions, carrots, and celery; cook and stir until onion is tender. Stir in garlic, bay leaf, oregano, and basil; cook for 2 minutes.

Stir in lentils, and add water and tomatoes. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer for at least 1 hour. When ready to serve stir in spinach, and cook until it wilts. Stir in vinegar and oil, and season to taste with salt and pepper, and more vinegar if desired.

And here's a fabulous lentil recipe for summer from Riverford Organic Veg

Lentil Salad with Red Peppers, Red Onions, Feta and Mint

Preparation Time: 15 mins
Cooking Time: 30 mins
Serves: 4

1 cup dry lentils
3 bay leaves
4 whole garlic cloves, peeled and bruised
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
6 tbsp red wine vinegar
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp ground cumin
salt and freshly ground pepper
1 small red onion, diced
1 medium red bell pepper, seeded and finely diced
3 tbsp fresh mint, chopped
170g feta cheese
18 Kalamanta olives

1. Pick over the lentils and discard any stones. Wash the lentils and place in a large saucepan with the bay leaves, bruised garlic, and oregano.

2. Cover with water by 2 inches. Bring to boil, turn down the heat and simmer, uncovered for 30 minutes, until tender. Drain and cool.

3. To make the vinaigrette, whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, garlic, cumin, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Toss the vinaigrette with the lentils, onions, red pepper, 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper.

4. Let sit for 20 minutes. Taste and season as needed with additional salt, pepper and vinegar.

This salad can be prepared 6 hours in advance up to this point. To serve, toss the lentil salad with the mint and place on a platter. Garnish with the crumbled feta and the olives.

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