Lentils are staple in my diet. I love them for their versatility, high protein content, and cooking speed. I typically use green french lentils (which I used in this recipe), small black lentils, or small orange lentils. Green and black lentils hold their shape when cooked, so they are better for pilaf-type dishes, while orange lentils tend to break down when cooked and make wonderfully rich stew-like dishes. All of them are delicious!
Lentils are known for their protein, but they are also a great source of fiber, folate, iron, and B vitamins. This recipe combines lentils with roasted broccoli and cauliflower – two of the most vitamin and antioxidant rich brassicas. Brassicas are cruciferous vegetables (along with brussels sprouts, cabbage, kale etc.) with tremendous cancer fighting properties. Many nutrition experts suggest eating cruciferous veggies every day.
Lentils with Spicy Brassicas Ingredients (serves 2):
1 cup uncooked lentils
2 cups of bite-sized pieces broccoli
2 cups of bite-sized pieces of cauliflower
4 cloves of garlic, diced
1/2 teaspoon curry powder
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
Optional – 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
Toss the washed broccoli and cauliflower with olive oil, garlic, curry powder, and turmeric. Spread them out on a baking sheet and roast at 415 degrees until slightly browned (30 minutes).
While the veggies were roasting, cook 1 cup of lentils on the stove top (2 cups of water or broth for every 1 cup of dried lentils). Lentils take about 20 minutes to cook – keep checking so you catch them as soon as all the water cooks away.
Combine the roasted brassicas with the cooked lentils in a large mixing bowl. Add in a splash of balsamic vinegar and crumbled feta cheese (optional). They are delicious served hot alongside a big green salad, or eaten cold the following day for lunch.
Lentils are similar to quinoa in that they make a terrific base for nearly any combination of vegetables and many different sauces and flavors. Let your creativity run wild! I like the spicy indian flavor of this combination with the salty feta cheese, but the possibilities are endless.