Lentils and green vegetables are two of my stable foods. I love both and both are high on the nutritional scale when it comes to foods we should be eating more of. For me the secret to a good lentil dish lies with two things. The first is making sure that the lentils are not over-cooked; mushy lentils just will not work in this dish. Secondly, you need a kicking dressing that is full of flavour to bring out the best in your lentils. This dressing is full of warming spices; think cinnamon, nutmeg, chilli and cumin. For my greens I have chosen brussel sprouts, leeks and spinach as I love all three and all three were available in my local market this morning. You could also use green beans, broccoli and courgette. The addition of feta (optional of course), capers and fresh herbs at the end score major flavour points. Oh, and did I mention that this tastes just as good served at room temperature as it does warm. Enjoy xx
Serves 4 as a side or 2 as a light meal.
For the lentils:
1 tbsp olive oil
1 cup green lentils
1 small red onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic
For the greens:
1 tbsp olive oil
Small knob of butter (optional)
1 leek, sliced into half inch size pieces
1 cup brussel sprouts, trimmed and cut in half
2 large handfuls of spinach, finely sliced
For the dressing:
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp mustard
1 tbsp maple syrup
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp chilli flakes
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp grated nutmeg
Pinch sea salt
Grind of black pepper
1 tbsp capers
Small handful of fresh mint and parsley, chopped
2 tbsp crumbled feta cheese (optional)
Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a medium size pot over a low to medium heat. Add the chopped red onion and cook for five minutes. Add the garlic and lentils and cook for two minutes before adding 2 cups of boiling water. Bring to a boil, reduce to a low simmer and allow to cook for 15-18 minutes, or until the water has been fully absorbed and the lentils are tender. Be careful not to over cook the lentils resulting in mushy lentils. Remove from the heat and set to one side.
To cook the vegetables, heat the olive oil and butter in a frying pan over a medium heat. Once it begins to froth, add the leek and sprouts and cook for five minutes. Add the spinach and a pinch of sea salt and cook for a further three minutes. Remove from the heat and spoon into the lentil mixture.
To make the dressing, add all the ingredients to a jar, close the lid and shake well. Pour half the dressing over the lentils and vegetables and toss well to combine. Spoon onto a serving dish and top with the capers, herbs and crumbled feta. Serve the remaining dressing in a bowl on the side.
This dish can be served warm or a room temperature.