Let’s talk: Lentils

LetsTalkLentilsLast Friday, when I was Skyping with my mom and dad, my mom suggested that I post a recipe with lentils in it. I thought it was a bit random, but she explained that the Canadian celebrity chef, Michael Smith, was doing a new Web series on the humble lentil. At this point, my dad piped in and asked me if I knew the country which produces the most lentils? I guessed Canada and I was right. I remembered reading the packaging on some lentils I’d purchased in the UK a few years ago and was surprised to see that they were a product of Canada. This, along with my dad’s proud look when asking the question, gave the answer away.

According to Wikipedia, Canada produced 1,493,620 metric tons of lentils in 2012, far surpassing India, ranked #2, with 950,000 metric tons. Most of India’s lentils stay in the local market, whereas Canada exports the vast majority of its production.

After Skyping with my parents, I made my 3rd trip that day to the grocery store to pick up some lentils and, yes, they were from Canada:

LentilsKanada

The last  time I had lentils I was with Martin at the top of the ski hill in Crans-Montana. We’d stopped for lunch and I wanted a light meal. I ordered the lentil soup, which was actually a cold lentil salad. I remember thinking it was super yummy, so I thought I would try and recreate it for my first lentil recipe. I looked up a couple recipes online to get an idea of what was required, took bits and pieces that I liked and crossed my fingers that it would work.

009And it did! This version isn’t quite the same as the one I had on top of the mountain, but it’s a good alternative. I added three slices of thinly cut bresaola, but without this (and the cheese if you’re vegan), it’s a great vegetarian meal.

The next day, I used it as a side dish for dinner accompanied by German coil sausages and roasted vine tomatoes.  Martin loved it!

Lentils are cheap, easy to cook and super nutritious (Health magazine has selected lentils as one of the five healthiest foods). Take my mom’s advice and add them to your diet today!

008

{recipe after jump}

Lentil Salad {with celery, carrot, beetroot and feta cheese} ~ mainly adapted from this recipe

~ Makes 5-6 servings

Dressing:

  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 medium onion (trimmed, thin wedges)
  • large garlic clove, peeled, smashed with flat side of a knife
  • 2 tablespoons good quality red wine vinegar
  • 3 fresh sweet basil leaves
  • 1 shallot, peeled, rough chopped
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Pinch of salt

Salad:

  • 1 cup black Beluga lentils or Du Puy lentils rinsed, picked over
  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 3 celery stalks (de-string them)
  • 1 carrot (peeled)
  • 1/2 cup diced pickled beetroot
  • 1 tsp chopped fresh parsley
  • 2-3tablespoons feta cheese
  • 2-3tablespoons red wine dressing

1. In a small frying pan start making the vinaigrette dressing by heating 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. Add sliced onion wedges, garlic cloves, and slowly caramelize, turning down heat if necessary to prevent burning. Cook for about 10 minutes, until onion is fragrant, golden brown and slightly stringy. Remove skillet from heat.

2. While onion and garlic are caramelizing, start your lentils. In a large saucepan bring lentils and water to a boil. Cover pot, reduce heat and slowly simmer for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, turn off the heat and leave lentils covered for 5 minutes more.

3. While the lentils are cooking, finish the vinaigrette. Transfer caramelized onion and garlic to a blender. Add the vinegar, basil, shallot, ground black pepper, dried thyme and puree until combined. Carefully drizzle oil in through the lid, while blender is on. Add a pinch of salt and set aside.

4. Chop celery, carrots, pickled beetroot and feta cheese into small pieces.

5. Drain lentils and transfer to a large serving bowl. Carefully fold in vegetables and feta to taste. Top with dressing and fold to combine evenly. Chill in fridge until cold.

6. Serve as a side dish or light main meal.

 

xx BHF

4 thoughts on “Let’s talk: Lentils

  1. What a great idea to post about lintels! Growing up Linsensuppe was one of my favorites and I have to admit I still enjoy it today 🙂

Thank you for your feedback! xx BHF

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