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We have been making a lot of taboulli lately, so when I saw this recipe for Lentil Taboulli in Runner’s World last week, I felt compelled to give it a try. I ended up changing up a lot of the ingredients to fit within the Duke’s House budget and to lower the fat and calories. Shame on you Runner’s World for publishing a recipe that is swimming in olive oil. I understand that olive oil has good fats which we can all use, but to publish a recipe in a ‘healthy’ magazine that contains nearly 1/2 cup of oil per six servings, give me a break.

With that said, I obviously cut down the oil quite a bit, from 7 tbsp to 2 tbsp to help my waistline out a bit. I also changed the 1/2 pint of grape tomatoes to a can of diced tomatoes to help out my budget a bit. Additionally, I included a whole cucumber to add volume to the recipe.

The lentil taboulli was easy to make and it was a big hit. As the RW recipe suggests, I served a salmon fillet over the bed of taboulli. The lemony flavor of the taboulli was awesome with the salmon served over it. We will have this again and again for sure.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup lentils, dry (about 140 grams)
  • 1 can diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1 cucumber, chopped
  • 4 scallions, chopped
  • 1 tbsp garlic, minced
  • 1 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 2 tsp salt (this could easily be reduced to 1 tsp)

Directions:

  • Cook lentils according to the directions on the package.
  • Combine other ingredients in a container with a lid and toss.
  • When lentils are finished cooking, drain, and add to the other ingredients. Toss again.
  • Serve hot or cold, I prefer cold.

Servings ~ 4
Calories (w/o Salmon) ~ 230, Fat ~ 7.5 g, Carbohydrates ~ 32 g, Protein ~ 11 g

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Our trip to Peru inspired me to try some South American cooking. We had some amazing food in Peru, and that is not even considering the fact that most of it was carried up and prepared on the Inca Trail by Chaskis. This dish is not necessarily Peruvian, but it contains many of the ingredients that are commonly found in my “Inca Trail Cookbook” that I purchased in Aguas Calientes. Sadly, I don’t know that I will ever do much cooking directly from the book because a lot of the techniques and ingredients it includes are not easily/properly translated to English.

Unfortunately, this is another dish that tastes way better than the photograph looks. I think there is a common theme here, maybe the photographer. Anyway, here you have it, Lentil Salad with Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Queso Fresco.

Ingredients:

  • 2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 red onion, coarsely chopped
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • salt and pepper to taste (I used about 1/2 tsp of each)
  • 1/2 cup lentils (70 g dry)
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp lime juice (or the juice of 1 lime)
  • 1/4 cup roasted red peppers
  • 1/2 cup crumbled queso fresco cheese (about 2 oz)

Directions:

  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  • Peel and cube sweet potatoes, chop onion.
  • Toss the cubed sweet potatoes and the chopped red onion with 1 tbsp olive oil, cumin, paprika, salt and pepper.
  • Place vegetables in a roasting pan and roast, gently stirring every 10 minutes or so, until potatoes are tender.  Mine took about 40 minutes total.
  • While potatoes are roasting, bring the lentils to a boil in about 2 cups of water.
  • Simmer lentils gently until tender, about 25 minutes.
  • Drain lentils well, and let cool completely.
  • Place lentils in a bowl and toss with 1 tbsp olive oil, 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar, and the juice of one lime.
  • Stir in the sweet potatoes and onions, roasted red pepper, and queso fresco, and gently toss to mix.
  • Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Servings ~ 4
Calories ~ 268, Fat ~ 10 g, Carbohydrates ~ 36 g, Protein ~ 10 g

I really enjoyed this dish, but next time I might change it just a bit. I will double the amount of balsamic vinegar but make a balsamic reduction before I mix it into the dressing. I was hoping to have a little bit sweeter (and less acidic) of a flavor and I think that would do the trick.

By mid-week, I usually realize that we have already eaten one of the key ingredients that I had bought with a recipe in mind. This week I had been hoping to make Yetakelt W’et, the tastier of the two Ethiopian dishes that I made a few weeks ago. Alas, it requires making a spiced clarified butter first and I used up two of the spices while making soup on Sunday. After a short search, I turned up a few recipes for M’judra with rave reviews and very few ingredients, all of which we happened to own. With that, my desire to try M’judra was born.

M’judra (served with steamed broccoli drizzled in BBQ sauce because it tastes good that way)

Ingredients:
  • Lentils, dry, 245 gram(s)
  • Brown Rice, uncooked, 376 gram(s)
  • Onions, raw, 2 large
  • Olive Oil, 2 tbsp
  • Salt, 1 tbsp
  • Water, about 6 cups more as needed
  • Plain Non-fat Yogurt (optional)
Directions:
  • Boil lentils in the water until nearly tender, about 25 minutes.
  • While lentils are boiling, slice onions finely into half circles and cook over low heat in olive oil until caramelized.
  • When onions are finished cooking, set them aside on a paper towel to absorb excess fluids.
  • Add rice to the pot of lentils after they are tender and add a few cups of water if necessary, return to a simmer.
  • Add salt and simmer slowly until the rice is tender and all the fluid is absorbed – approx 20 minutes.
  • Continue adding water as necessary until rice is tender.
  • Serve hot or cold, garnished with the crisp brown onion slices and few spoonfuls plain yogurt (not shown in picture).
Serves 8
Calories (w/o yogurt) ~ 322, Carbs ~ 57 g, Fat ~ 5 g, Protein ~ 13 g
This one seemed to be a big hit with Chris. He appreciated the price point, about $2 for 8-servings and he is a big fan of rice in any form. I liked it a lot as well. I was pretty excited to have leftovers for lunch for a few days!

Sunday morning Chris surprised me with pink potted tulips and half of a Hershey’s Cookies and Cream chocolate bar. It was the perfect Valentine gift for a girl like me. Hopefully the tulips will last long enough for me to put the bulbs in the ground in the spring. I always hate getting cut flowers because it makes me really sad when they wilt. Hershey’s Cookies and Cream chocolate bars are just about my favorite candy. At about 200 calories per bar and full of white choclate-y goodness and bits of oreo-like cookie, they can’t be beat. 

We did not do a very good job of making a grocery list this week. Combine that with a cooking failure, we cooked something for a pot-luck that was so bad that we didn’t even keep it for ourselves, and it was slim pickings at our house yesterday. After scouring the internet for some time, I adapted a Nepali soup recipe to the ingredients that we own and it turned out great, although nothing like the original recipe. We also made some Nepali bread to go with it, but I will write that off as another cooking fail. 

Curry Infused Creamy Tomato-Lentil Soup
Ingredients:

  • Canned Tomatoes, 3.50 cup
  • Lentils, dry, 140 gram(s)
  • Milk, canned, evaporated, ~ 8 fl oz
  • Ground Coriander, 3 tbsp
  • Ground Cumin, 1 tbsp
  • Tumeric, 1.5 tsp
  • Onions, raw, 1 small
  • Garlic, 1 tbsp
  • Cayenne Pepper, 1 tbsp
  • Basil, 1 tbsp
  • Black Pepper, to taste
  • Salt, to taste
  • Parmesan Cheese (optional)
  • Sriracha (optional)

Directions:

  • Wash lentils thoroughly. Place in a pot with 3 cups water and 0.5 tsp turmeric. Cook, partially covered, until very tender, about 30 minutes.
  • Drain lentils.Combine lentils and 1 cup water in a deep pot. Add the tomatoes, cumin, ground coriander, cayenne, onion, garlic, salt, black pepper, and the remainder of the tumeric and bring to a boil.
  • Lower heat and cook, partially covered, 10 minutes.
  • Add lemon juice and evaporated milk and simmer for several minutes longer.
  • Puree entire mixture in blender until smooth.
  • Return to pot, simmer until thickened to desired consistency.
  • Garnish with parmesan, basil, and Sriracha (optional).

Makes 4-6 servings
(Based on 6 servings) Calories ~ 157, Fat ~ 4.4 g, Carbs ~ 27 g, Protein ~ 11.6 g 

This stuff was killer. We finished it all before I could even pack some up to save for lunch today. Even with his discriminating palate, Chris thought this was good enough to serve to other people!

After being inspired by another blogger, I decided that tonight was the night to try cooking Ethiopian food. I picked two dishes at random based on what ingredients we had on hand. The first one was Yetakelt W’et which is a spicy vegetable stew. The second dish was a lentil based dish called Mesir Wat. Both of these are served over Injera, an Ethiopian bread that is similar to a buckwheat pancake. In order to make the Yetakelt W’et, I also had to make Nitter Kebbeh which is basically a spice infused African version of ghee. During the cooking process I was fairly sure that Chris would like the Mesir Wat because it was fairly hearty and spicy. I was not so sure about the Yetakelt W’et, I figured he would write it off as a pot of veggie stew. I was wrong on that one. Chris raved about that spicy veggie stew and the lentil dish.

The first thing that I made was the Nitter Kebbeh because I needed it to start the Yetakelt W’et. I combined many recipes to finally arrive at something that I had all of the ingredients for. Here is the final product:

Nitter Kebbeh
Ingredients:

  • 1 stick butter
  • 1/4 onion chopped
  • 2 tbsp minced garlic
  • 3 slices fresh ginger
  • 1/2 tsp tumeric
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tbsp dried basil

Directions:

  • In a small saucepan, gradually melt the butter and bring it to a boil 
  • Add the other ingredients and reduce the heat to a simmer
  • Gently simmer, uncovered, on a low heat for about 30 minutes
  • When the surface becomes clear, pour the liquid through a cheesecloth into a heat-resistant container
  • Discard the spices and solids

Yetakelt W’et
Ingredients:

  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper 
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1/4 cup niter kebbeh (ghee, or any other clarified butter could probably also be used ina pinch)
  • 1.75 cups canned green beans
  • 2 medium carrots, chopped
  • 6 medium red potatoes, cubed
  • 1.75 cups canned diced tomatoes
  • 1 can tomato paste
  • 2 cups vegetable stock
  • salt and black pepper to taste
  • 2 tbsp dried parsley

Directions:

  • Saute the onions, garlic, cayenne pepper, and paprika in the Niter Kebbeh for 2 minutes
  • Add the beans, carrots, and potatoes and continue to saute for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent burning
  • Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, and the vegetable stock
  • Bring to a boil and then simmer for 15 minutes, or until all of the vegetables are tender
  • Add salt and pepper to taste and mix in the parsley
  • If the stew tastes acidic or not sweet enough for your taste, sweeten to taste with a sweetener of your choice, I used a little bit of Splenda.
  • Serve with injera

Number of Servings: 8, Calories ~ 135.9 per serving

Mesir W’et
Ingredients:

  • 140 grams dried lentils
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 tbsp garlic, minced
  • 1 small can tomato paste
  • 2 cups vegetable broth or water
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 1 tsp powdered ginger
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 ts Garam Masala
  • 1 Tb berbere OR an additional 1 Tb paprika OR 1 Tb cayenne pepper
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • Olive oil for frying  

Directions:

  • Soak lentils for at least an hour in water
  • Drain and rinse lentils and set aside
  • Saute onions and garlic in oil until onions turn clear
  • Add broth or water
  • Add spices and tomato paste and bring to boil
  • Add lentils and turn down heat and simmer until lentils are tender the broth thickens
  • Serve with rice, Injera bread or pita bread

Number of Servings: 4, Calories ~175 per serving

Injera (based on a recipe from Branny Boils Over – http://brannyboilsover.com/?s=injera)
Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 T baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp white vinegar
  • 1/2 cup diet tonic water
  • 1.5 cups water

Directions:

  • Combine dry ingredients
  • Add tonic water, water, and vinegar and whisk until smooth
  • Preheat a nonstick skillet and spray with olive oil
  • Ladle 1/4 cup of batter unto the heated pan and swirl the contents to spread the batter all around into a thin circle
  • Cook over a low heat until top surface is no longer shiny, do not flip
  • Cool on a rack

Number of Servings: 4, Calories ~170 per serving