Lentils are a super food. Not just because of their impressive nutritional value, but also because of their versatility. They are delicious plain, in soups, in salads, in curries, or even in burgers.
When combined with a grain and some vitamin C for good absorption, lentils provide the same quality of protein as meat. They are very high in fibre, iron, potassium and manganese and contain the most folate out of all plant based foods. Folate is a type of B-vitamin, which helps support red cell formation and proper nerve function. It also helps prevent anaemia and protect against developing heart disease, cancer and dementia.
Theresa’s Spiced Lentils
A little vegetable broth for sauteing
2 leeks, finely chopped
2 onions, peeled and finely chopped
3 large tomatoes, finely chopped
1 jar of chopped tomatoes*
1 heaped tablespoon of tomato paste
2tsp coconut sugar (or honey, or sweetener of choice)
2tsp vegetable stock powder
2tbsp brown rice miso paste (or soy sauce)
2tsp dried oregano
2tsp mild curry powder
1tsp smoked paprika
3 bay leaves
500g green or brown lentils, preferably soaked for a few hours or over night**
About 1.5lt of water
2tbsp white wine vinegar
🍂Heat the vegetable broth in a large deep pan and add the onions and the leeks. Sauté over low heat, (with the lid on in order to create some steam) for about 5 minutes.
🍂Add the fresh and the jarred tomatoes, the tomato paste, the sugar, the stock powder, the miso paste, the oregano, the curry, the smoked paprika, the cinnamon, the bay leaves and the salt. Stir everything for a couple of minutes.
🍂Mix in the drained lentils, then add the water and stir. Bring to a boil and simmer, stirring occasionally, for about an hour, or until the lentils are soft and most of the liquid is absorbed, but some still remains.
🍂Check the seasoning, add the vinegar and turn off the heat. Let rest for a few minutes and serve.
These lentils are heavenly spooned over a simple saffron rice, with pasta, or they can be enjoyed as is, with a piece of warm crusty bread.
*I never buy tomatoes in tins. They are very harmful to our health, due to the cancerous bpa lining, found in all aluminium tins, in combination with the acidity of the tomatoes. These two substances create a reaction which in turn causes the bpa to leach into the food in high amounts. Thankfully, there are alternatives in glass jars which are safe to use, or alternatively, simply use fresh tomatoes, chopped or puréed.
**Most people don’t soak lentils, as is common practice with other dry pulses, such as beans and chickpeas. However, a nutritionist once advised me to soak lentils too, prior to cooking, which makes them easier to digest and reduces cooking time. I have been doing so ever since.