All the lentils, all the time

IMG_5660

Soo… mo’ lentils!

Mmm. For such a tiny little thing they pack a nutritional wallop and are astoundingly delicious.

IMG_5655

In other news… I love when I can walk outside and pick a snack out of my garden.

IMG_5635

And that the crepe myrtle in the front yard is practically exploding. When I was in school it seemed like I would always miss the blooms, but this year it’s making up for it in full force. See? Pink explosion.

IMG_5636

Anyway. OH! I almost forgot. Pluots are amazing right now, you should go eat one.

IMG_5644

Right. Lentil pasta. An excellent idea, not sure why I hadn’t thought to do this before. The sauce texture kind of resembles bolognese but is obviously meat-free, which is a nice alternative and just as delicious. Besides, lentils are cheap and filling and super good for you, so everyone wins! Besides all that there is essentially a metric ton of veggies crammed in here, so you can feel reeeeally good about eating it. Winner, winner, lentil dinner! Ha.

IMG_5652

I don’t think my brain is working too well on account of a really filling and tasty lunch (nap time? I think yes) soooo… I’m going to leave it at that. Pictures for you, hooray!

IMG_5649

Lentil Marinara

Recipe serves 3 for dinner, with bountiful leftovers (so really 4 for dinner with some change). Healthy and delicious, and relatively fast, this can be on the table in less than an hour.

  • 1 c  lentils, rinsed (I used French lentils, they’re smaller and chewier)
  • 2 c water
  • 1 onion, diced
  • a good glug of olive oil
  • 1/2 clove garlic (I used 1/2 of the little frozen chunks TJ’s sells)
  • fresh basil, marjoram, oregano and sage to taste (Dried is fine too)
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1/6 c (ish) good red wine (Optional. I never measure)
  • 1 bell pepper, diced
  • a few heaping handfuls of mixed greens or spinach
  • 1/2 zucchini, grated
  • 2 c green beans, parboiled
  • 1 can of tomato sauce (just tomatoes)
  • pasta noodles of choice for serving
  • avocado for serving, optional (but recommended!)

IMG_5642

Combine lentils and water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and let cook until the lentils have absorbed most of the water and are soft but still have a bit of bite, about 30 minutes. Drain and set aside.

In a  sauté pan, toss in a bit of olive oil and heat over medium-low. Sauté onions until translucent, about 5-10 minutes depending on your onion-crunchy preference. Add garlic, basil, marjoram, oregano, sage, and wine and sauté a few minutes more. Add in bell pepper, mixed greens, zucchini, and green beans, and keep sautéing, until the veggies are cooked and delicious. Toss in the can of tomato sauce, salt and pepper to taste, and the cooked lentils. Cover and let simmer for about 15 minutes to get all those wonderful flavors to comingle… then serve over noodles! This is excellent topped with avocado, or cheese if that’s your thing!

IMG_5657

Super Squash Strikes Again!

No, that is NOT ranch dressing. Just in case you were wondering.

That’s right.

You can’t escape my obsession with squash for long.

I’m not orangey yet, believe it or not. I’m sure we’re getting there, between the amount of pumpkin, squash and pumpkin derivatives I’ve been consuming (not to mention carrots and bell peppers. oops.) Whatever, I like my beta carotene and Vitamin A.

Lucky for you, (and me), squash is SUPER SQUASH. As in, SUPER good for you! It basically deserves a cape and some spandex for full-on superfood status. Full of phytonutrients AND antioxidants AND vitamins, it is probably one of the best winter foods out there. Besides, it’s versatile and delicious, so why WOULDN’T you eat it?! Especially when I’ve discovered tasty recipes for you. I sort of like to imagine a butternut squash chunk with a cape on flying around antioxidizing the crap out of free radicals, providing anti-inflammatory support, and blocking the formation of cholesterol in cells, all while providing thorough gastronomical enjoyment to the being consuming it (Ideally me). Talk about a super squash.

Incidentally, I read that b-nut super squash contains THREE HUNDRED and FORTY FIVE percent of your daily Vitamin A requirements, per cup. Yup, you read that right. No wonder I have fighter-pilot vision, it must be all that Vitamin A and retinol.

Whoaaaa. I just reread the last two paragraphs. Yeeesh. I am SUCH a nerd. But I am totally ok with that, it’s part of my charm, right? Hehe.

So, onto the recipe! This is something a bit different—Kira and I both agreed that it was very unlike anything either of us had ever made (in terms of its flavor profile). It was also delicious (because I would never share with you something that wasn’t, of course!). It also steams the squash, which, fun fact, helps it retain its nutrient density (so that you get all 345% of that Vitamin A).

Middle Eastern Egg Noodles with Squash, Yogurt, and Cashews

Adapted from Delicious Living, which I picked up from Whole Foods at some point and clipped the recipe.

Supposedly this serves 6, but we made half the recipe and had waaay more than what would feed 3 people. I’ll list our measurements :)

Food type items:

  • 3/8 c plain, low-fat yogurt
  • 1 clove of garlic (or frozen chunk, if you like the Trader Joe’s version, like me)
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 tsp dried mint (or mint tea, if you can’t find regular mint…)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 an onion, diced
  • 3/4 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • a good shake of cinnamon
  • a few grindings of pepper
  • 1 cup of cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 1 butternut squash, cubed into 1″ pieces (ish) (I am so NOT that exact)
  • 1/2 c water
  • egg noodles, to feed your crowd
  • 1/3 c coarsely chopped cashews (or more, if you’re me and you’re nuts for nuts, haaaa) (or just NUTS)

Firstly: Combine yogurt, garlic, and salt in a bowl. Crush mint between your fingers and add to yogurt. Whisk until smooth, then cover and let it chillax in the fridge.

Secondly: Heat oil in a skillet (or straight sided saute pan) on medium. Add onion, and cook until onion browns, about 6 minutes or however long it takes your particular onion. Stir in coriander, cumin, cinnamon, and pepper. Add tomatoes, squash, and water. Cover and simmer over medium heat about 15 minutes (according to the recipe—ours was probably closer to 20 or 22 minutes), until the squash is tender.

In the meantime, cook yo’ noodles. Usually my egg noodles are done after about 7 minutes. Drain. Toss pasta with squash sauce, and then plate. Drizzle with yogurt sauce and liberally sprinkle (or douse) with cashews.

*Alternatively: the recipe orinigally calls for a can of no-sodium added crushed tomatoes, but we didn’t have this. Besides, we decided we’d rather use fresh ingredients if possible! So in went a small carton of cherry tomatoes, hooray! Also, the original specified walnuts, which we also didn’t have. Whatever, I prefer cashews. Either way, whatever you have!

Incidentally, if you’re interested, the recipe includes nutrition facts! I just thought I’d share (though don’t expect this on a regular basis, because a) I’m too lazy, and b) I don’t calorie count!)

Per serving: 358 cals, 11 g fat (3 g monounsaturated, 6 g polyunsaturated, 1 g saturated), 1 mg cholesterol, 12 g proteinm 51 g carbs, 7 g fiber, and 86 mg sodium.

Super squash strikes a blow against free radicals everywhere!