I used to be pretty cheesy. In both manner and diet. Eggs & cheese for breakfast (insert goofy grin), grilled cheese with pureed broccoli for lunch (insert silly joke), and if meat was not a part of dinner, then there had to be cheese – and a side of ridiculous rhymes. Cheese.
It is hard to beat cheese in texture and taste, however, my husband’s medically imposed diet of no gluten and no dairy forced me to look for new options…..and hopefully new jokes.
Little Sis and I have extolled the virtues of the humble (and VERY CHEAP) lentil before, a lentil loaf, a lentil soup, a lentil/potato burger, and lentil -bulgur burgers (say THAT 10 times fast to amuse the 5 year olds in your house!).
While I’m not sure that we want to change our name to ‘The Lentil Lodge,’ I just have to share this recipe with you because it is delicious, different, and was given the thermos thumbs up for inclusion in his school lunch by my 11 year old. Thermos thumbs-up is a cut above acceptance at dinner because it must be good enough to consume in the mere 25 minutes my cheesy, somewhat pokey boy has in which to eat his lunch.
All that and a fraction of a $1.29 bag of dried lentils and you can see why I love my lentils.
Now you are all set to learn how to make Sweet & Sour Lentils, cheesy temperaments and jokes welcomed whole-heartedly.
Sweet & Sour Lentils (from Mollie Katzen’s Moosewood Restaurant Low-Fat Favorites
1 1/2 cups brown lentils
2 cups unsweetened apple juice
2 tsp. grated fresh ginger root (much easier to grate frozen, fresh ginger root)
2 cups water
1 c chopped onion
3 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
1 cup peeled and diced carrots (I never remove an edible peel)
2 tsp. canola or other vegetable oil (I use safflower)
1 medium bell pepper, diced
1 small zucchini or yellow squash, diced
1 tomato chopped (I used some leftover canned diced)
2 Tbsp. soy sauce (I used Bragg’s liquid aminos)
2 Tbsp. rice vinegar
cooked rice (I used 5 spice rice from Mollie Katzen) recipe below
chopped scallions – I omitted these
Rinse the lentils (looking for any lentil-like stones that made it into the bag – I’ve never found any!) Combine in saucepan with apple juice, ginger and water.
Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 30 – 40 minutes until tender. Add a little water if starting to stick.
While lentils are cooking, saute onions, garlic and carrots in oil for about 5 minutes until onions begin to soften. Add bell peppers, zucchini or squash, tomatoes, cover and cook on low heat for about 10 minutes until just tender. Stir in the sauce and vinegar.
When lentils are ready, combine them with the vegetables. Serve on rice and top with chopped scallions.
I think I’ll add kale or spinach next time to get some green happenin’ in there.
If you’d like to spice things up a little more you can use Mollie Katzen’s 5 spice rice
1 cup long grain brown rice
1 tsp. dark sesame oil – I use toasted sesame oil
1 tsp grated fresh ginger root
1 garlic clove, minced or pressed
1 tsp. five-spice powder (which I was delighted to find in the Asian section of my Kroger grocery store)
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups water
1/4 cup dry sherry or Chinese rice wine (I used sherry)
a few splashes of soy sauce
In a colander or sieve, rinse the rice with cool water and set aside to drain.
Warm the oil in a medium saucepan and add ginger, garlic, and five-spice powder. Saute’ for 1 minute, stirring constantly, add the rice and salt and saute for another 2 minutes, continuing to stir.
Add the water and sherry or rice wine, cover, bring to a boiled, and then gently simmer for about 40 minutes until all of the water is absorbed and the rice is tender (I had to add a little more water to get the rice tender – keep an eye on it.)
Add soy sauce to taste and serve with or without Sweet & Sour Lentils!
Have you had any lentils today?
This message was not brought to you by the Lentil Growers of America, but we thank them none-the-less. (Insert cheesy grin.)