Monday, November 7, 2011

A Little Lentil Love

And we're back to Meatless Mondays. At least for this week. In my planning, I take it week-by-week, so while I can tell you exactly what we're having for dinner each night this week (and, for that matter, what I'm having for lunch and breakfast), come Friday night, my planning is complete and it's every man for himself. Meaning - leftovers or takeout.

Anyway, I digress. I've been having a thing for lentils these days. I think I've written about the benefits of these teeny little legumes before, so I won't bore you with the details. Instead, how about some fun lentil facts, courtesy of the National Lentil Festival (yes, there's a festival for everything):

  • Lentils are shaped like a contact lens. In fact, lens is the Latin word for lentil.
  • Lentils may have been used as an aphrodisiac in ancient Egypt. They also thought that the lentil enlightened the minds of children, making them more cheerful and studious.
  • The lentil is a cousin of the bean, and both are a part of the legume family. All legumes are seeds that grow within pods.
  • During World War lI, Americans were encouraged to eat lentils to help the wartime economy.
Pasta Lentil Bolognese
Source:: Clean Eating magazine, April/May 2011

  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 medium carrot, diced (used shredded)
  • 1/2 c. diced celery
  • 1.5 c. diced fennel (skip)
  • 4 cloves minced garlic
  • 2 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 2 c. low-sodium veg broth (used no-salt added chicken I had on hand)
  • 1 c. lentils
  • 28 oz crushed tomatoes
  • 2 tsp oregano
  • 2 tsp parsley (skip)
  • 1 tsp basil
  • 8 oz pasta
  • 1/2 c. low-fat milk
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt (skip)
  • 1/2 tsp pepper (skip)
  • In a large Dutch oven, heat oil on med-high. Add onion, carrots, celery, fennel and garlic. Cook until brown bits begin to form, approx. 15 mins. Add vinegar and scrape brown bits from bottom of pan as liquid evaporates. Stir in broth, 1 c. water, lentils, tomatoes, oregano, parsley and basil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer partially covered for 45 mins, stirring occasionally.
  • Cook pasta.
  • Add milk to bolognese and continue to simmer for an additional 10 mins. Season with salt and pepper.
Yield: 4 servings (4 oz pasta; 1.5c bolognese)
Per serving: 337 cals; 4g fat (1g sat); 68g carbs; 15g fiber; 13g protein; 484mg sodium; 1mg choles

So, the hubs took one look at the dish as I was plating it, sighed and said, "I see Meatless Monday has returned." But, he managed to eat all of his, and the kid ate about half of his. I'm not sure that the kid fully realized there was no meat in the dish, as he was way too busy telling us about secret codes he and his buddies came up with at school (did you know "JERK" is a good thing?). The dish does take a bit of advance planning because it does take a while to cook, but I think it's worth it. It's very hearty and I really don't think anyone missed the meat.

Three Forks

Portion control!


  1. I love lentils too. This looks like a great new pasta dish to add to the repertoire. (PS: I also love the word repertoire.) :)

  2. LOL! I enjoy the word repertoire too! And the dish IS good - plus it makes for a great leftover lunch!