(Quick apology to those of you who received an incomplete blog post email notification — my cat stepped on the computer and somehow managed to publish my post before it was finished. Thank you for your patience and understanding. My cat apologizes too (meow). )
It’s cold. Let’s warm up. What do you say? We need a heatwave!
This Coconut Curry and Red Lentil Stew will leave you feeling warm and full! It is packed with veggies, so it is also guilt-free!
Two of the main ingredients in this coconut curry and red lentil stew are part of my February Grocery Challenge which is quickly about to come to an end! I have purchased many new ingredients that I otherwise would have continued to look over. I encourage you to try this challenge for yourself and let me know what you buy and how you use it!
Red Lentil FUN facts
18 grams protein per 1-cup serving (boiled)
High in fiber
helps reduce cholesterol
assists in healthy digestion
Magnesium and Iron
Heart Health and Energy!
quick cooking time (10-30 min)
1:2 ratio (1 cup lentils to 2 cups water)
They soften a lot and can have a creamy texture
Unlike other legumes, they don’t require pre-soaking
I’m not sure why I never bought curry powder before, but I am sure glad I did! I have a feeling I am going to be on the lookout for ways to incorporate this spice a lot more frequently! I used it in the stew as well as on the roasted cauliflower. Ian snacked on the leftover curry-spiced cauliflower after dinner saying,
It’s like snacking on french fries
Coconut Curry and Red Lentil Stew:
The ingredient list may seem long, but it’s SO worth it!
Short grain brown rice
1 TBS Olive Oil or Coconut Oil
1 TBS-1.5 TBS Curry Powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 onion (chopped)
1 carrot (sliced)
1 red bell pepper (chopped)
1-2 tsp fresh ginger minced or grated (I used one generous tsp)
2 cloves garlic (minced)
2 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar of choice
1/3 cup tomato paste
about 7 cups water
1 can light coconut milk (I used 13.5 oz)
1 cup cooked peas
2 cups red lentils
1 can garbanzo beans
red pepper flakes to taste (optional)
Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees (if roasting cauliflower)
Start cooking the brown rice according to package directions.
Toss cauliflower with a small amount of olive oil. Toss with curry powder, cumin, garlic powder and onion powder and sprinkle with salt. Once preheated, roast for 30 min or until cauliflower is soft.
Meanwhile, heat 1 TBS oil in large soup pot or dutch oven.
Add curry powder and cinnamon and stir
Add chopped onion and cook for 3 min, or until onion starts to soften
Add carrot, pepper, ginger, garlic, salt, and sugar and cook until veggies start to soften (just a few minutes)
Add tomato paste, water, coconut milk, peas, lentils, garbanzo beans and bring the pot to a simmer.
While cooking, sprinkle with red pepper flakes to taste (optional)
Cook until lentils soften (about 20-30 min)
Serve with roasted cauliflower, brown rice, and cilantro for garnish (optional)
This high protein pea pesto can be used on toast, on a sandwich with complimentary vegetables, as a dip/hummus, and as a pasta sauce!
Pasta: Inspiration to Inception
I can’t take credit for the idea to turn this pesto into a pasta dish, that was all my Mom! As a very creative lady, she has been making it that way for over a year and was urging me to try it.
It wasn’t until Ian and I went out for our anniversary dinner (6 years!) that I felt inspired to make it that way. So many delicious pasta dishes on the menu at Scampo in the Liberty Hotel in Boston! To begin, they start you with a fava bean puree (that was beautifully bright green) for dipping the crisp bread-sticks. This bright green dip is what reminded me of the pea pesto crostini and ultimately gave me the idea to somehow incorporate beans (which, as a bonus, adds another excellent source of protein on top of the peas).
With all the snow and cold in Boston, getting to the grocery store is a very tedious task. It’s hard enough to “suit up” for the walk, let alone actually make it through the snow to your destination. Sadly, Whole Foods is just a short walk (5min) away and I couldn’t bring myself to go. I figured I would work with what I had, which meant that I would have to substitute Fava beans for another type I had on hand.
While comparing beans, I found that Fava and Cannellini/White beans both have a similiar “note of nuts” flavor. After a bit more researching I read that Cannelinni are “creamy” and Fava were “dense, grainy and rich in texture.” This seemed to definitely be in my favor! “Creamy” without dairy? Yes, please.
For the “nutty” and “cheesy” flavor that Parmesan provides I looked to Nutritional Yeast. This is a great source of that “cheese” flavor and is quite nutritious providing complex B vitamins (including B12). If your grocery store doesn’t sell it, here it is on Amazon.
The original recipe doesn’t call for pine nuts, but I threw in some hemp seeds to simulate a little more of that “nutty” flavor that Parmesan and pine nuts provide. It’s also a great source of Omega-3’s.
And with that, the pesto was born in the food processor.
Can’t stop there! I needed to incorporate those cherry tomatoes from the original recipe too! Mushrooms are always good to try to incorporate in your daily diet and I was happy to find that they pair nicely with peas! So I threw the mushrooms in a non-stick pan. NO OIL. They have enough moisture to stand their ground against the heat of the pan. Here are my flavorful and moist sauteed mushrooms as proof:
Aren’t they gorgeous? Then I blistered my cherry tomatoes in the same pan once I removed the mushrooms.
Ok, I have gone on long enough. Here are the the recipes:
Triple P (Pea Pesto + Protein):
2 cloves garlic
1 (15oz) can cannellini beans (drained and rinsed)
1 1/2 cup thawed frozen or steamed peas
4 TBS nutritional yeast
2 TBS olive oil
2 TBS water
2 TBS hemp seeds
2 tsp lemon juice (I added this late in the game as I felt it was missing something. You may find that you’d like to add more (or even less I suppose!) )
salt and pepper to taste
Mince garlic in a food processor
Add remaining ingredients and process.
Additional olive oil, lemon juice, and water may be added incrementally to reach desired texture.
Triple P on Pasta:
1 package brown rice pasta (I used spaghetti)
(I used a half pint, but this up to your tastes and presentation preference)
I used about 5 ounces, but this is also up to your tastes and presentation preference
Additional peas for serving (optional)
Additional beans for serving (optional)
Bring a large pot of water to a boil and prepare brown rice pasta
Brown rice pasta likes to stick to itself so don’t throw it all in at once and be sure to stir, stir, and stir again. Rinse with cool water to stop cooking process and prevent the pasta from becoming “gummy”
Saute sliced mushrooms in pan (no oil) then remove once finished cooking
Blister the tomatoes in the same pan the mushrooms were in
Toss pasta with pesto until covered and dress with the mushrooms, tomatoes, and extra peas.
Tip: If your pesto has been refrigerated prior to making pasta, you may need to add some liquid, warm it up a bit and give it a good stir.
Tip: To add some texture on top of the pasta, try adding breadcrumbs instead of grated Parmesan cheese or additional hemp seeds.
Pea Pesto Sandwich:
Let your creativity sing! I used the pea pesto on sprouted grain with carrots, tomatoes, and hemp seeds, but you can use whatever fresh veggies you see fit to make a delicious and protein packed sandwich. Next time I plan on trying it with sauteed mushrooms as well!
Pea Pesto Toast:
YUM. Such a perfect snack! Spelt toast with cherry tomatoes. Even after the rehab, it would still make an excellent appetizer with bread or crackers!
Pea Pesto Hummus:
Not up for a pasta, sandwich or toast? Just dip those veggies, bread or crackers directly!
Oats are total (or should I say “toatal”) health allies. Ann and Jane Esselstyn state in their book, Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease, the three reasons why you should incorporate oats daily:
Oats help lower cholesterol.
Oats help decrease inflammation
Oats are dose-responsive, so the more oats you eat, the more effective they are.
We all know oats are great for breakfast, but how to incorporate them into lunch and dinner? Well, these veggie burgers have you covered.
Greens, Beans, Onions and Mushrooms are all powerful super foods but I want to take a moment to focus on sweet potatoes. Sweet Potatoes are an excellent source of beta-carotene which the body then converts into Vitamin A. It also is a great source of fiber and potassium as well as Vitamin C, B-6 and manganese. The most nutritious part is the skin, so think twice before you grab the peeler 😉
Now, veggie burgers are known to be tough to get the right texture. My first time around with this recipe ended up being too moist and squishy.
Squishy is never the best adjective for food. So, I tried again after letting my brain process a bit. I ended up switching the oat flour for whole oats with much success! I hope that you enjoy them as much as we did!
LEFTOVERS? I broke one up over our lunch salads for the next day and paired it with an oil-free balsamic dressing (3 parts balsamic vinegar, 2 parts mustard of choice, (I used honey) and 1 part maple syrup — yep, I said maple syrup!)
(If you find that your burger is too crumbly or too wet, let me know in the comments so that I can re-examine my ingredients or instructions. After all, this is a blog about my “adventures” in the kitchen and I would love for you to be a part of it!)
1 (15oz) can drained and rinsed Garbanzo Beans (chickpeas)
5 ounces sliced mushrooms
1 packed cup spinach
1 1/2 tsp cumin (or more to taste)
1/2 teaspoon salt (or more to taste)
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp garlic powder
pepper to taste
1/4 cup quick oats
1/4 cup rolled oats
Your favorite bun and fixings! (I used Ezekiel Sprouted Grain which can be found in your freezer section, lettuce, tomato and tahini spread. Ian also enjoyed honey mustard) I am curious about avocado, so if you try it, let me know below!
UPDATE 2/15/15: We had these as leftovers tonight and put caramelized onions on top with honey mustard. I highly recommend 🙂
Preheat oven to 400 degrees and roast sweet potato (if roasting) and prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper for burgers.
Pulse garlic and then onion in a food processor.
Sauté mushrooms in a pan (no need for oil) and when they are nearing the end of their cook time, toss in spinach and cook just until it begins to wilt.
Place beans, mushrooms, and spinach in the food processor and pulse very gently! Add sweet potato and pulse just until combined. We want to be careful not to completely break everything down or else we lose the desired texture. It is alright to see some bean pieces. Alternatively, you can mash these ingredients with a potato masher if you fear over processing (or if you loathe cleaning your food processor like we do)
Take mixture and place into a large bowl. Add the cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper, and oats. Mix until incorporated (adding extra oats if the mixture seems too wet.
Get hands wet (helps to keep mixture from sticking to your hands) and roll into approximately 6 balls. Press them flat on the parchment paper.
Bake at 400 degrees for 10 min. Then flip (they may be fragile at this point still so be gentle) and bake for 10 min. Flip again and bake for 5, and then once more for 5 for a total of 30 min until they are browned and have solidified but not burned. Alternatively, you can put them in a pan as well.
Serve on your favorite bun with your favorite fixings and condiment.
Parsley and Tahini Spread:
This definitely has a strong flavor but it will pair well with the bun and burger. If you taste it off the spoon, it may surprise you 😉 You can dull down the flavor with some more water or to adjust consistency.
1/4 cup tahini
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/3 cup parsley
1 TBS hemp seeds (may be possible to omit if you can’t find them)
salt to taste
2 tsp water (or more to adjust for taste and consistency)
Start by mincing the parsley in the food processor.
Add remaining ingredients except water and mix. It should thicken up.
Add water as you see fit!
UPCOMING: Tonight I am making a green pasta sauce. What ever could it be? Any guesses? Also, I made cookies with what I am calling “date jelly.” Curious? Stay tuned and subscribe because it should be making an appearance soon!
One last thought: There is so much snow that my head is spinning. So, this seems fitting since I haven’t been able to stop singing it for weeks: SNOW.
Ok, one more last thought: Stay warm! Unless you live somewhere warm, then I am sending you snow. SHIP SNOW YO. Click it. It’s real.
I had heard of them being used on salads and in smoothies, but I (personally) needed to break them down a bit and attempt to cut the bitterness.
I remembered making an arugula pesto a few years ago (another somewhat bitter green) and that was enough to get the wheels turning. Unlike that original arugula pesto, I wanted to steer clear of a ton of oil and the Parmesan cheese.
The result is, what I like to call, DANDY PESTO. It remains somewhat sharpso I recommend using it as a spread on your favorite whole grain bread or on a sandwich with some cool/fresh veggies and/or tomatoes.
1 cup (packed) Dandelion Greens
1 clove garlic
1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes (I used the ones packed in oil but separated them from the oil — they add a “sweet” flavor. If you can only find them dried and not in oil, soak them in boiling water for 60 seconds to soften them. Then drain and let them cool. )
1/2 cup Cannellini Beans (drained and rinsed)
1 TBS water
1 TBS Flax (ground)
1 tsp lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste (these greens are already peppery, so be sure to taste first!)
hemp seeds (optional for dressing up an open faced sandwich 🙂 Can be a substitute for the traditional pine nuts in a pesto)
Pulse clove of garlic until minced in food processor.
Add remaining ingredients and pulse until combined.
Spread on favorite sandwich with cool/fresh veggies and/or tomatoes or serve open-face on favorite toasted whole grain bread as a snack or pairing with soup.
What’s so great about this?
Dandelion Greens: 1 gram protein per 1-cup serving. High in calcium, iron, vitamins and minerals, antioxidants, etc. I really could go on and on!
Cannellini Beans: 17 grams protein per 1-cup serving.
The month of February is a special one! With it being heart health awareness month and also Valentine‘s day, I challenge myself (and also you!) to fall in love with a new healthy ingredient by purchasing one you have never purchased before each time you hit the grocery stores.
Don’t worry about what you’ll do with it. Take the leap, buy, and figure the rest out later. If you need to know what you’re looking at or how to pick the ripest or best one, check out the Perfect Produce app by Spark People. I use it all the time to find out if I am purchasing things that are “in-season” and how to tell which will be the most delicious (e.g. cantaloupe). They also provide great tips about storing, handling, and nutritional profile!
♥February is also my niece’s 4th Birthday, my 6 year anniversary with Ian, and the upcoming birth of Ian’s second niece. Special times! ♥
You were either bugged by me to check out this fancy new blog I have so cautiously put off for a year, or you stumbled here by way of the magic of the internet, not even sure what the heck this is. Either way, welcome! I can’t wait to share my kitchen adventures with you ❤ Check out my “about” section to learn more about me and the blog and don’t forget to follow/subscribe so you don’t miss anything!