Simple. Heart-healthy. Very nutritious. Lentils are loaded with protein and bone-friendly calcium, as well as vitamins A and B, phosphorus, and iron. They are a quick legume that you can substitute meat for and not have to remember to soak the night before!
Lentils are one of the many staples of the Greek Mediterranean diet that has become so notable from health experts. Even though you might be thinking, “Yuck, those sound way too healthy for me”, I dare you to give them a try. They just might surprise you and I promise that you can only benefit from including this to your winter repertoire or go to meal for chilling days that you crave a for an easy, affordable, and hearty meal.
Recipe: (serves 6)
1 onion, chopped
1/4 cup EVOO
2 carrots + 2 celery stalks, cleaned and diced
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. basil
1 bay leaf
dash of cinnamon (optional)
1 can of crushed tomatoes or plain sauce
2 cups dry, brown lentils
8 cups of water, hot
1/2 cup spinach or mushrooms (optional)
2 Tbsp. vinegar
S/P (salt and pepper)
Saute onion in oil until translucent, add carrots and celery. Cook on medium heat until just softened (5-7 minutes). Add garlic and herbs until fragrant. Stir in lentils, spinach, and tomatoes; cook for 1-2 minutes before adding water. Simmer at a low boil for about 30-45 minutes or until lentils have thickened and softened. Remove from heat and stir in vinegar. Top with feta cheese and a whole wheat crusty bread.
*This recipe freezes well.
There are so many versions of lentil soup, some with more spice and some with lemon. The possibilities are endless, and it is actually pretty difficult to mess up. You will never know if you love lentils until you try!
Kali Orexi. (Bon Appetit in Greek)