It’s the lentils you have forgotten. Virtuously purchasing, jarring, and then over the months, they kind of get pushed to the back of the pantry, not on purpose, more so an involuntary sifting of food storage life. Lentils are a rich source of lean protein dietary fibres, iron and folate. Adding lentils to our diet has multiple health benefits, from helping us to control our weight to promoting heart health, controlling diabetes, preventing birth defects, lowering blood pressure, cholesterol & glucose. They are low in calories and contain absolutely no fat! So make sure this amazing superfood is a part of your shopping basket always.

There are four main categories of lentils: brown, green, red/yellow, and specialty.
Making them a regular part of meals, you might like to think of them differently – not as the main part, but as a dressing or sauce. Yellow, brown & red lentils cook down to a mushy texture, and so, they can make a great coating or dressing for more vegetables, fish or meat. Green & Black lentils – keep their shape & texture after cooking. They also absorb oils & vinegars very well, so they can be incorporated as a dressing.

Mediterranean Lentil Dressing

1 cup French Du Puy or Black Beluga lentils
3 cups water
1 bay leaf
1 small red onion
1 tablespoon of organic tomato paste
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 bunch of fresh chives
1 bunch of fresh mint leaves

Rinse the lentils and put them into a saucepan with the water and the bay leaf. Cover and bring to a boil; cook for 20 minutes, until all of the liquid’s absorbed. While the lentils are cooking, in a small saucepan, sauté the onion with the olive oil, add the tomato paste, keep stirring for 4 – 5 minutes to cook out the tomato, remove from the heat, add the vinegar and stir to emulsify. Drain the cooked lentils, discard the bay leaf and tip into a large mixing bowl, pour over the dressing & leave to cool. Stir through the chopped chives & mint. Season with salt and pepper; use to dress salads, just grilled fish, over roasted vegetables or baked chicken.

A sauce started with onion, spices and lentils cooked to a coating consistently can then be used to toss through potatoes, cauliflower, pumpkin and green beans, then roasted to cook the vegetables and allow the cooked lentils to crust up and create fantastic texture.

Spiced Lentil & Cauliflower Bake

½ cup red or yellow split lentils
2 tablespoons ghee or coconut oil
½ teaspoon ground turmeric
6 fresh curry leaves or 2 dried cassia leaves (optional)
1 sliced brown onion
1 1-inch piece ginger, peeled & grated (about 1 tablespoon)
2 cups chopped cauliflower florets (or pumpkin, potato/sweet potato)
1 teaspoon fenugreek
1 teaspoon flaky sea salt
Coriander, mint, lime slices, halves cherry tomatoes, crispy fried shallots & chat masala
Cover lentils with water in a small bowl and let soak for 30 minutes. Drain.
Heat ghee in a large pot over medium-low. Add turmeric and toast just until slightly darkened, about 10 seconds. Add curry leaves, if using, ginger, and cook until very fragrant, about 1 minute. Add drained lentils, cook, stirring, until nearly dry, 1–2 minutes. Add cauliflower, fenugreek, 1 tsp. salt, and 4 cups of water. Increase heat to medium-high and bring to a boil. Simmer covered until the lentils and vegetables are just cooked, 15- 20 minutes; Spoon out into an oven friendly roasting dish and finish cooking in the oven for 20-25 minutes until the cauliflower is tender and the lentils crusty. Serve sprinkled with lemon or lime to squeeze over and freshly chopped herbs, fried crispy shallots & cherry tomatoes, a pinch of chat masala and flaky sea salt. Add cooked rice for a complete plant based protein meal.