“Lentils are friendly—the Miss Congeniality of the bean world.” – Laurie Colwin
Lentils are one of my absolute favourite kind of legumes. I love the texture, the taste, the versatility and the heartiness. I had never (knowingly) had lentils until I was in my mid-late 20’s when my sister cooked them for me at one stage, and I was absolutely hooked. From salads to curries, I actively try different ways of incorporating them into my diet frequently.
A couple of weekends ago, I had spent one afternoon wandering around Homeplus (Tesco) in Jochiwon (조치원) with one of my friends. I had come with a list that I was diligently following, however, as my friend and I started talking about how much we love shopping for food, I ended up abandoning my list and choosing random things. Amongst other things, I picked up kale, spinach and red cabbage.
When I got home, I was trying to think of how I could incorporate the above veggies with the lentils I’d already made into a dish with all the other veggie goodness that was in my fridge. Within the hour, I had a delicious meal on my plate, and I was frantically trying to remember what I’d seasoned my lentils with the night before. Doing things right before bed is not always a good thing!
Eventually it came back to me and a few weeks later, I managed to replicate this recipe. I hope you like it and that you find it as delicious as I do. My favourite thing about this recipe is that you can taste that it’s healthy.
Stir-fried Lentils and Vegetables
- ½ cup cooked/canned marinated green whole lentils
- ½ tbsp olive oil
- ½ tsp balsamic vinegar*
- dash of lemon juice
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 onion, diced
- 1 red pepper, chopped
- ¼ head of red cabbage, chopped into bite size pieces
- ½ courgette/ zucchini, diced
- 1 packed cup fresh spinach, chopped
- 1 packed cup cooked, chopped kale
- 1 cup button mushrooms, quartered
- ¼ tsp dried sage/ ¾ tsp fresh sage
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- dash of lemon juice
- dash of balsamic vinegar
- Put the lentils** in a seal-able plastic container with the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, a little salt and pepper. Close the box, shake it and refrigerator for a minimum of 1 hour or overnight. If using tinned (canned) lentils, it’s best to rinse before placing the seasoning on them.
- Heat a pan on medium-high heat until piping hot***. Once hot, add oil and heat for 30 seconds.
- Add the sage, pepper and courgette . Stir fry for 2 minutes.
- Add the cabbage and onion to the pan with a dash of lemon juice and stir fry for around 5-7 minutes.
- Add the garlic and continue to stir fry until the courgettes and pepper are slightly browned. The cabbage should be soft and wilted (this can take about 10 minutes).
- Add the mushrooms, spinach and kale. Cook a further 5 minutes until the mushrooms are barely softened and browned.
- Add the lentil mixture with a dash of balsamic vinegar and cook for another 5 minutes until warm throughout.
- Serve immediately.
This can be eaten as a main dish with bread, couscous, rice or a baked potato. It can also be used in place of a salad as a side dish. I got three meals out of this dish, but I accompanied it with a salad and either rice or a baked potato each time.
*If you don’t have balsamic vinegar, you can use any vinegar of your choice.
**I cooked dried green lentils the night before, cooled them and then followed the above directions from step 1.
***To check that the pan is piping hot, flick a little water on to the pan, when it sizzles a lot, add the oil and heat as per step 2.