Lentil As Anything

This recipe was inspired by my daughter who has requested we eat more vegetarian dishes. Hubby and son love their meat and I do seem to cook a lot of meat based dishes for dinner and decided I needed a new veggie dish that will satisfy my carnivorous family members as well as give us a couple of nights off meat. I've called the recipe Lentil As Anything (homage to the 80's band Mental As Anything and a great vegetarian restaurant in Melbourne!) but mostly because this dish can be used pretty much on anything! 

The first night we just had it on rice and the second night we used it on soft tacos with lots of guacamole. The meat loving males of the household loved both dinners and gobbled both dishes right up and went back for seconds. My daughter is very happy with it and called it my best new recipe in ages so I'm already looking forward to making it again and having it with some pasta. Would also be delicious served on some sweet potato mash with a heap of steamed veggies on the side and of course as nachos toppings!

The star of this recipe is the humble lentil and as well as being high in protein (they are 25% protein!) they are also very high in fibre and nutrients such as B vitamins, Magnesium, zinc and potassium. They are also high in Iron which is great for vegetarian diets.  There are many types of lentils out there but for this recipe, use a lentil that holds it shape well like brown, blue, green or Puy lentils. I used french blue for this recipe. You don't need to soak them like other legumes but it does lessen the cooking time. I did soak mine for a few hours before I got them in the pot but as this is a slow cooked meal anyway, you can just give them a rinse rather than soak them.

Ingredients

1 cup of lentils

2 tblspns of olive oil

1 red onion diced

6 cloves of garlic (you can use less, we just love our garlic!) finely chopped

1 sweet potato diced 

2 stalks of celery diced 

1 large carrot (or 2 small!) diced

1 large zucchini diced

2 tspn dried thyme

2 tspn of ground cumin

700gr jar of tomato passata 

2 cups of broth or stock (I used a bone broth stock soup but of course a veggie or chicken stock will work well here too)

1 bunch of coriander (parsley would also be great here because I know coriander is either loved or hated!)

salt and pepper to taste

Method

1. In a large pot, heat your olive oil on a medium-high heat

2. Add onion and garlic and stir until transparent and then add your cumin and thyme

3. Add your rinsed lentils and stir for a few moments

4. Add your diced veggies and give another stir

5. Add your passata and broth or stock and stir well

6. Turn down to a simmer and cook uncovered for 30 mins stirring occasionally

7. Add a lid to your pot and turn the heat down to low and cook gently for 2-3 hours. It can be cooked longer and left for as many hours as you like as the longer you cook, the more flavour will develop.

8. Just before serving, cut up a whole bunch of coriander or parsely and stir through. Serve on rice, pasta, sweet potato mash, in tacos or as a nachos. It is also delicious just in a bowl as it is with a sprinkling of fresh herbs on top. 

Enjoy and I hope you give this recipe a whirl soon or save it up for Meat Free Monday dinner!

Yours in health,

Alisha x

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