It's meatless Monday again folks! If like me you sometimes struggle to convince your dining companion to embrace meatless meals, this one's for you. Why? Protein! Lentils have a lot of good things going on, they're high in plant-based protein, fiber, potassium, folate, and iron. Woot!
I recently learned that 2016 has been declared International Year of the Pulses by the Untied Nations to celebrate one of the world's most important foods. FYI pulses are edible seeds of the legume family, which include beans, pea, chickpeas, and lentils. Also over the last year-or-so one of my favourite Canadian chefs has taken up the challenge of getting the word out about how easy, healthy, and delicious cooking with lentils can be.
If you already know you love lentils, skip to the great recipe below, but if you need a little more convincing read on. Lentils are cheap! Even the organic ones. Also they have an excellent texture, for all you texture eaters out there. They're grown in Canada. And finally, they're dead easy to prepare. The recipe below can be whipped up in no time and will feed you for a number of healthy and satisfying lunches or dinners.
Did I mention I love this recipe? I didn't. I do! It's delicious.
Note that I only had green lentils so I just used 1 1/2 cups of those, instead of the mix outlined in the recipe. Also, my lentils only took half the time to cook. Finally I made my own sun-dried tomatoes, I oven roasted some because I had them on hand.
1 cup uncooked French green lentils 1/2 cup uncooked green or brown lentils 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil 2 tablespoons plus 1 1/2 teaspoons red wine vinegar, or to taste 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice 1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard 1 1/2 teaspoons pure maple syrup 1 teaspoon fine sea salt, or to taste 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 1 to 1 1/2 cups thinly sliced green onions (about 1 medium bunch), dark and light green parts only 1/3 cup fresh parsley leaves, minced 1/2 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained and finely chopped
Pick over the lentils, discarding any debris. Rinse and drain the lentils and put them in a medium saucepan along with 4 cups (1 L) of water. Bring to a boil over medium to high heat, then reduce the heat to medium. Simmer, uncovered, for 20 to 25 minutes, until tender.
In a large bowl, whisk together the oil, vinegar, lemon juice, mustard, maple syrup, salt, and pepper. Stir in the green onions, parsley, and tomatoes.
Drain the lentils very well. Spoon them into the bowl with the other ingredients (it’s okay if they are still warm) and stir well. Season with additional salt and pepper.
Serve immediately, or let cool slightly and then cover and marinate in the fridge for a couple of hours or overnight. Stir well before serving. This dish will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week, or you can freeze it in a freezer-safe zip-top bag with the air pressed out for up to 1 month. After thawing, I recommend adding extra dressing and salt to liven it up again.