I Ate Lentils and I Survived (And they were Yummy!!)

How have you guys been doing?  Sorry it has been forever since I’ve posted – I was home for Spring Break, and then, thanks to the late winter weather we’ve been having, I had some unexpected extra family time back in Montreal.  It was all very nice and relaxing, but there was a lot of eating out, which isn’t too exciting to blog about.  Now that I’m back in the tundra and all alone in my apartment, I get to cook (and blog) again!!

Last night’s dinner came together a bit haphazardly, almost by fate, as often the best meals do.

A few days ago I had picked up some beautiful baby eggplant @ Marche Jean Talon {the best part of which may be that I’ve finally stopped pronouncing it, even in my head, as something that rhymes with Jimmy Fallon – am I Quebecois yet?}, and I knew they were fast approaching vegetable death.  I fully planned on making mac and cheese from a box for dinner, because frankly I still think it’s delicious in its own way, but roasted up the eggplant (cut in chunks and drizzled with olive oil and sea salt) while I read for school.  {400 degrees F for about 30 minutes}

I figured I could still have my mac and cheese in a box, but maybe dump some eggplant on top, and then I’d be getting my veggies, and that makes it healthy, right?  But then I tasted a chunk of roasted eggplant, and boy was it delicious!  Suddenly something resembling astronaut food didn’t seem so tasty, and I knew it wouldn’t be as good for me, either.  If you’re not going to enjoy eating the crap, then what is the point?

I remembered I have lentils that I’ve been meaning to make.  Because they’re healthy and good for you and can be vegan.  Notice I don’t mention that I was excited to have them for their taste.  Until last night, actually, I’d never had lentils.  And I was thoroughly convinced that lentils taste like feet.  Not that I’ve exactly tasted feet, but I am definitely a meat and potatoes girl, and lentils are neither.

After much searching, I found this recipe online.  And then I improvised… it calls for green French lentils, which sound quite fancy, but all I had were brown.  I didn’t use leek, but rather, and onion.  A lot of onion.  And a lot of garlic.  Also from Jean Talon.  {Sidenote garlic story… a little old man popped out to help me pick the garlic, declared that he’s Italian, so he knows garlic, asked me if I was married yet, and let me know that if I eat the garlic, I’ll be married soon.  And then he disappeared.  I don’t think it’s magical marriage garlic, and doesn’t eating garlic tend to repel people anyway?, but it is purple and delicious!!}

Back to the lentils… I used way more tomato paste than they called for.  I couldn’t find tomato paste in a tube, only in a can, and didn’t want to waste all of it for a tablespoon, so I just used half of the 5.5 ounce can.  Instead of water, I used vegetable stock.  No soy sauce, no salt, no scallions.

Basically, heat your olive oil in the pan/pot (I used my dutch oven), add onion, garlic, tomato paste, cook until fragrant and a little bit darker (recipe says 4 minutes).  Add 1 cup dry, uncooked lentils.  Add 2.5 cups vegetable broth (you could use chicken broth, or water, but I was going for flavorful and vegan so I went with the vegetable broth).  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat, cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, until lentils are tender, about 45-55 mins.  (I think I did about 45ish minutes, until they were kind of al dente.  Smushy lentils just sounded gross to me.)  Cover and let sit, removed from heat 10 minutes.

While I was cooking the lentils, I roasted the sweet potatoes that I had picked up at the store the same way I had roasted the eggplant.  Parchment paper is forever my best friend.  It’s so much easier to line the pan beforehand than spend forever scrubbing a cookie sheet when you’re done.  Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.  Put your chunks of sweet potato on the sheet.  Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with sea salt.  About half an hour at 400.  You could probably stir them at some point so they get more evenly browned, but I think they were good just the way they came out – brown bottoms and soft tops and all 🙂

To recap, we now have cooked lentils, and roasted eggplant and sweet potatoes.  Scoop out some lentils into a nice hearty bowl.  Add some eggplant and sweet potatoes, and you have a delicious, nutritious, and totally vegan meal.  This girl is more than a little proud that she pulled off vegan, and it was still pretty good!

If you aren’t going vegan, you might sprinkle it with some Parmesan cheese – just enough to be a little gooey.

How have you guys all been doing?  I’m guessing it’s warmer by you than by me – this morning felt like -2F outside, so I admit I snuggled under the covers a little longer.  Spring is coming, ever-so-slowly but surely, so hang in there 🙂

Oh!  If you’re wondering why there’s no finished roasted eggplant picture, it’s because I ate most of them before they made it to the lentils.  And there’s no sweet potato pics because I got hungry and lazy and cranky.  But you get the general oven roasted idea, I think.  It’s definitely a recipe worth trying out – if it converted me to a lentil eater, you might enjoy it 🙂

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4 thoughts on “I Ate Lentils and I Survived (And they were Yummy!!)

  1. I may be a lentil convert after this meal.
    I was attempting a nice even roasting of the vegetables in the oven, but they came out pretty well caramelized on the bottom , which ended up being more delicious than I’d imagined.

    Like

  2. Pingback: Salmon, Roasted Veggies, and Lentils | sophisticatedjerseygirl

  3. Pingback: Pan Seared Salmon and Lentils | sophisticatedjerseygirl

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