Category Archives: Legumes

Kale and Lentil Salad

Red Lentils are quick to cook, and very filling. This salad can be served warm as a side dish, or chilled until cool and eaten as a cold salad. You will need:

  • 2 cups red lentils, cooked and drained
  • 1 Tablespoon good quality extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tablespoons good vinegar such as balsamic or sherry
  • 2 cloves of garlic, smashed and minced
  • wedge of lemon
  • 1/4 cup Dinosaur kale, chiffonade
  • 1/4 cup heirloom cherry tomatoes, cut in half lengthwise
  • fresh basil, minced or chiffonade
  • 3 Tablespoons lightly toasted pine nuts or other nuts like hazelnut
  • sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

To prepare the salad have your ingredients ready and warm a skillet or sauté pan gently over medium heat and warm the oil and garlic until it softens, about 3 minutes. Stirring occasionally to ensure no sticking or burning. Add your vinegar and kale and wilt the kale, stirring to coat the greens with the warm garlic dressing. Once wilted remove from the heat and season with salt and pepper to taste. Mix this with the basil and nuts and tomatoes while still warm but not hot. Squeeze a little lemon over the salad and toss gently ensuring an even coating. You may serve this chilled or warm as it is and it is a lovely summer dish. This is excellent with a grilled fish as an entrée.   Serves-4

Spicy Asian Edmame Spread

  • 1 12 oz bag of thawed, frozed edamame (shelled)
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons tahini paste
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons wasabi paste (paste works better than powder)
  • 2 tablsepoons tamari
  • 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil or neutral vegetable oil

In a food processor puree all the ingredients except the oil until smooth. With the processor running pour in the oil in a light stream to emulsify. You will probably have to scrape down the sides once or twice.

Check for seasoning and add spices if you like.

This dip is great with veggies both raw and grilled, as well as crackers and on a sandwich!

Makes appx: 1 1/2 cups

Roman bean and Lentil Soup with Greens

 

  • 1 bunch mustard greens, washed well
  • 1 bunch turnip greens, washed well
  • ½ bunch kale, washed well
  • 1 cup dried Roman beans, soaked overnight
  • 1 cup dried lentils, soaked overnight
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 medium onions, diced
  • 4 medium carrots, peeled and diced
  • 4 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 8 oz. can low sodium canned tomatoes, crushed or diced is fine
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Kosher salt to taste or Janes Krazy Mixed-Up Seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon Sri Lanka curry powder, or other spice blend of your choosing
  • 1 fresh bay leaf
  • 1 tablespoon Sri Lanka curry powder, or spice mix of your choosing

 

Soak beans overnight and drain well, washing two or three more times.

Wash the greens in a sink full of clean water and then drain in a colander. To prepare them begin by holding the vein that runs down the length of the leaf into the stem. Pinch that as you tear off the leaves with your other hand, leaving the tough stem to be discarded. Tear the leaves into pieces, or slice with a knife.

In a large pot heat about 2 tablespoons olive oil on medium-high heat, and begin to sweat the carrots and celery and onions. Add a few pinches of Kosher salt and stir occasionally. Crush the garlic cloves, or if you like a stronger flavor, grate or mince them. Stir again and toss in bay leaf, greens and spices. Let cook for 3 more minutes stirring occasionally to ensure no burnt spots. Add the beans and cover with water or vegetable stock up to two finger widths above the ingredients. *If using store bought vegetable stock make sure it is low-sodium and organic if you can find it.

Bring the soup to a boil and skim off any foam that forms on the surface. Add more water if necessary.

Lower the heat to a gentle simmer and cook covered for about an hour and a half. Check for seasoning and adjust salt.

This soup can be frozen and holds up well in the refrigerator for up to a week. Heat only the portions you intend to eat at a time, as with any dish you re-heat.

Lentils

LENTILS

Lentils are a member of the legume family which are plants bearing pods with rows of seeds inside. They are ideal as a quick source of protein, fiber, amino acids and are low on the glycemic index. They are very low in saturated fat and cholesterol and are also a good source of iron, folate, and omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. For one cup of cooked lentils you get a whopping 18 grams of protein and 16 grams of fiber! That means they fill you up. They cook very quickly, and depending on which type you are using some faster than others. You don’t need to soak lentils like other beans, and it there is much controversy as to salting before or after the cooking process. It has been my experience that after soaking, adding salt to the cooking water can slow things down a bit, but because beans contain calcium and other minerals, these make the cell walls sturdy anyway. Adding salt can sort of fill in spaces  in the cell walls, and make it take a bit longer, but with lentils it doesn’t really matter. It can produce a more flavorful result and since they don’t need to be soaked prior to cooking go ahead and add salt. Now, regularly I would say to cook your beans in a pressure cooker, as I am a huge fan of these. Lentils, however, will not fare well in a pressure cooker, and will become mushy and paste-like as an end result.
The most common varieties of lentil you have eaten are probably the delicate and peppery French green, or “Puy”, and the earthy Brown lentil. Split peas are considered to be a lentil as well. In Indian cooking “Daal” is a common dish and is another name for lentil, as well as “Gram”. The delicate yellow or red variety is used most commonly for this cuisine and while they don’t retain their shape very well after cooking, they are delicate and flavorful with a velvety texture that is very enjoyable.
Dried lentils are best because of their quick cooking and that they don’t need to be soaked beforehand. You can find most types I have mentioned in any grocery store, and also in the store’s “international” or “ethnic” aisle. My go to for varieties of any kind of food is “Cooks Thesaurus” on the web.
If you are dining out, and you are searching for the lentil, your best bet would be Middle Eastern, Greek, or of course, any Mediterranean type restaurant. You can easily find lentils added to many dishes, or alone in a salad, and are most likely prepared with unsaturated oils, like Olive oil.
To cook simply pour the amount of lentils you are going to use into a clean bowl, and rinse them with cold water picking out any debris, or stones, or discolored ones. There usually aren’t many of these these days anyway. Then drain them into a colander, and using a ration of : 1 part lentils to 3 parts water or stock, simmer until they are tender. Usually for brown or green lentils this takes about 15-20 minutes. For the more delicate red, or yellow “daal” I mentioned, it takes a whopping 5-10 minutes! Woo Hoo! Split peas can take another cup of water as they swell a bit more than their cousins.
Lentils love assertive flavors like citrus, garlic, onion, spices and fresh herbs. They stand alone or compliment vegetables, poultry, or fish, especially Salmon.

A simple dish you can make quickly would be a red lentil salad, with spinach, lemon juice, fresh parsley and minced garlic with some extra virgin olive oil.

  • 1 pound fresh or frozen spinach, defrosted and drained
  • 4 cups cooked red lentils
  • juice of 1 fresh lemon
  • 1 cup rough chopped flat leaf parsley
  • 2 cloves garlic, smashed or minced
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

You can also take some cooked, puy lentils and make the same. Or make a hardy stew with crushed, low-sodium tomatoes, garlic, pepper and oregano.

  • 4 cups cooked lentils (or 2 cups raw)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 cups vegetable stock (or 6 if cooking the raw lentils as is)
  • 1 can low-sodium crushed tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 white onion finely chopped
  • 2 or 3 cloves garlic, smashed or finely minced
  • 3 tablespoons fresh, chopped oregano, or 1 tablespoon dry
  • salt and pepper to taste

In a sturdy pot on medium heat, sweat the onions with a little sprinkle of salt until they become translucent, add the garlic and tomato paste and stir for about 1 minute and quickly add the stock and lentils. Cook for about 10 minutes or until it comes to a boil, then turn down the heat and simmer a bit and add your oregano or fresh herb of choice. A dash of red wine vinegar, or lemon juice will brighten up this stew.

These are just two simple examples of quick and healthy ways to prepare lentils. I hope you will consider them a lot more in your diet as they are one of the easiest ways to get both high protein and high fiber in an easy way.