Dragon Lady Lentil Balls with Sweet and Sour Sauce

sweetandsourmeatballDo you remember my Iron Lady Lentil Burgers? These Dragon Lady Lentil Balls are a riff on that recipe with the addition of an amazingly zesty and easy-to-make sweet and sour sauce. Serve with brown rice and sautéed veggies and you’ve got an easy, inexpensive*, delicious, nutritious**, vegan meal!

You will need a food processor for this recipe.

Ingredients 

1 cup of uncooked lentils. I used Du Puys lentils because they cook in just 15 minutes

1 ½ Tbsp prepared yellow mustard

2 Tbsp maple syrup

1/2 tsp dry mustard

1/4 tsp curry powder

1 carrot – cleaned and cut into rough chunks

1/3 cup raisins (any type)

½ cup walnut pieces

2/3 cup rolled oats

1 cup fresh spinach leaves

1 tsp salt

A few grinds of black pepper

1-2 Tbsp water

Directions

Cook the lentils according to package directions – typically 2 cups of water for 1 cup of dry lentils.

Pre-heat your oven to 400F.

Put all the burger ingredients in a food processor and process until you have a very smooth, moist mixture.

Shape the lentil mixture into evenly sized meatballs. I made 15 meatballs of about 2 tablespoons each but you can make bigger or smaller balls. Place the balls on a greased cookie sheet. Bake at 400F for 7 minutes then flip the balls and bake another 5-10 minutes (depending on your oven). The meatballs will have a bit of crunch on the outside but should be moist inside.

I found a simple sweet and sour recipe here and adjusted it slightly. Here is the recipe with my alteration.

Ingredients

2 teaspoon cornstarch

½ cup water

3 Tbsp unseasoned rice vinegar

1/3 cup light brown sugar

1 tablespoon ketchup

1 tablespoon soy sauce

2 Tbsp red pepper jelly (or similar style – I used an apricot and jalapeno jelly)

Meatballs2.jpgDirections

Whisk the cornstarch and 1 Tbsp water in a small bowl or cup. Set aside.

Mix all the other ingredients in a small sauce pan and heat to just before the boiling point (you do not want this mixture bubbling up, but do want everything well blended and hot.

Give the cornstarch mixture another stir and pour into the saucepan contents. Stir to combine for about 15 seconds. Let the sauce sit and thicken for about 10 minutes before serving.

Serve up and enjoy. Rawr!!!

*Inexpensive – these lentil balls are made almost entirely from pantry staples that cost just pennies.

**Nutritious – these meatballs are loaded with protein iron, fibre, B6, magnesium,

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Linguini with lentils and fresh vegetables in a creamy lemon-garlic sauce

lemon-garliclinguini.jpg

Ahhhh… I’ve been on a bit of vacation and it was so nice to get back into the kitchen and creating. This recipe for linguini with a creamy lemon-garlic sauce is fast, easy, fresh and tangy. Use whatever blend of veggies you like. I used what arrived in my weekly organic farm box, but broccoli, zucchini, chard, corn kernels, even water chestnuts, would all make excellent additions or substitutions.

Next post, I’ll include a variation of this recipe that leaves out the almond butter. It’s ideal for people who have nut allergies but still want the zing of lemon-garlic dressing.

Ingredients

10 oz uncooked linguini

½ cup uncooked black (a/k/a beluga) lentils

1 red pepper diced

2 cups snow peas cleaned and cut in half

½ cup slivered almonds toasted (optional)

For the sauce

Juice of 1 lemon (about ¼ cup)

2 Tbsp almond butter

3 cloves garlic – minced

2 Tbsp olive oil or other light-tasting oil

1 Tbsp soya sauce

1 tsp sea salt (or to taste)

1 tsp hot chili paste (I use sambal oelek)

Directions

Cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain and place in a large bowl.

Place the lentils in a small pot with 1 cup of water. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and simmer for about 15 minutes until the lentils are cooked and the water is absorbed. When cooked, add to the bowl with the pasta. Add the snow peas and red pepper and any other vegetables you’re using.

To make the dressing, combine all the ingredients in a small glass or bowl and mix well. Pour over the pasta, lentils and vegetables and toss to combine. Sprinkle with the toasted almonds if using.

Serve up and enjoy. This dish makes 3-4 large servings and is equally delicious hot, cold or at room temperatures. Do store it in the fridge though!

Red lentil dal – dishing up some red hot love

redlentildal

I love Indian food, and lucky me, I got to spend a month in the south of India partaking of some of the best Indian meals any person has ever enjoyed.

This recipe for red lentil dal is highly westernized but no less flavourful and nourishing than the more exotic originals. What it is though, is faster to make using ingredients that are readily available in North America and Europe. Don’t let the long list of ingredients deter you – it’s mostly spices you likely already have in your cupboard.

Ingredients

2 cups red lentils

1 Tbsp coconut oil (or olive oil)

1 large onion diced

2 Tbsp curry paste (I use Thai Kitchen brand)

1 heaping Tbsp curry powder

1 tsp ground tumeric

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp chili powder

1 tsp salt

1 tsp sugar

3-4 cloves garlic minced

1 tsp ground ginger

1 tsp sambal oelek (chili paste)

½ tsp ground cinnamon

¼ tsp ground cloves

397 ml can tomato paste (13.5 oz)

1 cup chopped spinach (optional)

2 tomatoes diced

Directions

Cook the lentils. You need 4 cups of liquid. I use a mix of vegetable broth and water. You can use just water or all vegetable broth. Bring the lentils and liquid to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and simmer covered. The lentils will only take about 15 minutes to cook. There may be a tiny amount of liquid in the pot and that’s okay. Set aside.

In a large pot, melt the coconut oil. Add the diced onion and cook on medium-low heat for about 15 minutes, stirring often, until the onions are golden.

Add all the spices and seasonings: curry paste, curry powder, cumin, tumeric, chili powder, sambal oelek, garlic, sugar, salt, cinnamon, cloves and ginger and heat through combining with the onion. Add the chopped tomato and combine. Add the tomato paste and spinach and combine. Last, add in the cooked lentils and mix everything together.

Serve with basmati rice, samosas and chapati bread. Mmmmm.

 

Iron-lady lentil burgers with mustard sauce

lentilburger.jpg

I love lentils. I love burgers. I love mustard. I HAD to try this recipe – especially because it was just weird enough to work. The original recipe is from One Green Planet. I have modified both the ingredients and the process to amp up the flavour and nutrients and simplify the cooking (because I am lazy).

I’m calling these iron-lady lentil burgers because between the spinach, lentils and raisins you have one fibre, protein and iron-rich meal.

There is something about these burgers that makes me think they a) would make excellent sliders and b) would be a favourite with children. The patties are super even textured and have just a hint of sweetness.

You will need a food processor for this recipe.

Ingredients

The mustard sauce

3 Tbsp prepared yellow mustard

4 Tbsp maple syrup

1 tsp dry mustard

½ tsp curry powder

The burgers

1 cup of uncooked lentils. I used Du Puys lentils because they cook in just 15 minutes.

1 carrot – cleaned and cut into rough chunks

1/3 cup raisins (any type)

½ cup walnut pieces

½ cup rolled oats

¼ cup bread crumbs (or just use ¾ cup rolled oats or ¾ cup breadcrumbs – whatever you prefer)

1 cup fresh spinach leaves

2 Tbsp of the mustard sauce

1 tsp salt

A few grinds of black pepper

1 tsp hot sauce (optional)

1-2 Tbsp water

Directions

Cook the lentils according to package directions – typically 2 cups of water for 1 cup of dry lentils.

Pre-heat your oven to 400F.

Prepare the mustard sauce by mixing all the ingredients together in a small bowl or jar (you end up with about ½ cup of sauce).

Put all the burger ingredients in a food processor and process until you have a very smooth mixture. I ended up with a rather large and dry ball of patty mix so I added the 2 Tbsp of water to make the mix a bit more malleable.

Divide the patty mixture into four equal portions. Shape into patties and place on a greased cookie sheet. Bake at 400 for 10 minutes and flip the patties, then bake for another 5-10 minutes (depending on your oven).

Serve with the mustard sauce. I topped mine with tomato, lettuce and pickled onions. These burgers would be ridiculously delicious on a pretzel bun!

Hola! It’s Aztec soup – spices, veggies and lentils sing in a bowl.

AztecSoup

Here’s a hearty, flavourful soup that’s easy to make and satisfying. I love it with side of toast and sliced avocado sprinkled with salt and pepper.

Alas, this delicious soup that’s loaded with great flavours and textures photographs badly. You’ll just have to trust me that this ugly duckling is beautiful on the inside (of your tummy).

This recipe makes four dinner-sized bowls. Mmmm.

Ingredients

1 medium onion chopped

1 cup (250 ml) red lentils

1 red or green pepper diced

2 carrots sliced into half-moon coins.

1 stalk celery sliced

½ cup fresh or frozen corn

1 large jalapeno pepper minced

2 cloves garlic minced

½ Tbsp olive or coconut oil

4 cups vegetable broth

1 Tbsp chili powder

2 tsp cumin

1 tsp dried oregano

Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Add the carrot, celery, onion, jalapeno and garlic and sauté on medium heat until the onion softens about 5 minutes. Add the diced pepper and sauté a few more minutes. Add all the other ingredients and stir to combine. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and simmer for about 30 minutes. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed.

This soup will keep covered in the fridge for about 3-4 days and freezes well. It will last for 3 months in the freezer, but even better share with neighbours and friends.

Lemon-garlic soup with lentils and rice

LemonGarlicSoup

Are you feeling a little less than spectacular after a holiday season of indulgences? Here’s the perfect bowl to perk you up. The garlic, lemon, turmeric and parsley are all ready to give you a detox and boost your immune system. This is also a bright, refreshing soup full of great flavour and textures, and you can whip it up in just 30 minutes. Mmmmm.

Ingredients

4-6 cups vegetable broth

The juice from 2-3 lemons (about ½ cup juice)

1 tsp grated lemon rind

1 tsp turmeric

4-5 cloves garlic. Mince half the cloves and slice the other half.

1 bay leaf

1 piece star anise (optional, but I love the tang it gives)

¼ cup chopped fresh parsley (see TIP below)

1 cup cooked lentils. II used ½ cup dried beluga lentils (also called black lentils) because they taste great and cook in 15 minutes.

1 cup cooked brown rice (about ½ cup before it’s cooked)

2 carrots sliced

salt to taste (You probably will need none, but depends on your broth.)

Directions

Put all the ingredients except the rice, lentils and parsley in a pot and bring to a boil. Let simmer for about 10 minutes so the carrots cook. Remove the bay leaf and the star anise. Add the lentils, rice and parsley. Heat through and serve. Enjoy!

TIP: You can freeze your fresh parsley to use in cooking. Make sure it’s clean and dry and place the whole bunch in a zippered freezer bag. When you need fresh parsley for a recipe, simply break off however much you need and crumble it into your dish. No chopping required. Frozen parsley will lose some of its brightness and firmness so I don’t recommend using frozen parsley for garnishes or in dishes such as tabouli.

Linguini with lentils and walnuts …. when condiments get saucy

linguinicondiments

It’s amazing what very everyday condiments can become with a little coaxing.

I found the original version of this recipe on the Oh She Glows blog. She writes that she made the dish late one night using whatever was in the pantry. My slightly altered version of the recipe adds a few staple ingredients and adjusts some of the measurements. I also used fresh rather than canned lentils.

Beluga or black lentils are much smaller than other lentils so they cook up quickly. You can have a fresh pot of beluga lentils in just 15 minutes and they are nutty and chewy and just generally delightful.

This whole recipe can be ready in 20 minutes – less time than it takes to order in and waaaaay better for you and your wallet!

Ingredients

10 oz linguine or other pasta

½ cup walnut pieces toasted

¼ cup tomato-based salsa of choice

3 Tbsp olive oil

1 tsp garlic powder

3 Tbsp ketchup

5 Tbsp nutritional yeast

½ tsp ground pepper

1 tsp salt

1 cup fresh chopped spinach

½ cup fresh or frozen green peas. If using frozen (I did), thaw them or give them a quick zap in the microwave.

½ cups beluga (black) lentils (or 1 cup of canned lentils drained and rinsed)

½ red pepper diced (optional)

Handful of fresh basil chopped (about ¼ cup)

Directions

Place your lentils in a small saucepan with 1 cup of water. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 15 minutes with the lid on. Remove from heat and let the lentils sit while you prepare the rest of the ingredients. You may have some liquid left in the pot, so just drain that off.

Cook the pasta according to package directions.

Place the peas, spinach, diced red pepper, toasted walnuts, lentils and linguine in a large bowl.

Put the olive oil, ketchup, salsa, nutritional yeast, salt, pepper and garlic powder in a small saucepan. I used the same pan I had cooked the lentils in (less dishes!). Heat the ingredients through and stir them until they are blended. Pour over the bowl of pasta, lentils etc. and toss together. Serve up and enjoy.

This recipe makes 3 very generous portions.

How to toast walnuts

Toast the walnuts by spreading them on a baking pan and baking for 5 minutes at 400 degrees. Know thy oven and watch those nuts – they can burn quickly. I use a toaster oven for minimal power usage (I can still hear my cost-conscious mother moaning every time someone wanted to fire up the “whole oven” for one item).