Savory lentils with heirloom tomatoes and veggies
Ready to dish up!
30 Minutes to a Colorful, Healthy, Tasty Lunch or Supper
What to do when you're out of time and need a healthy meal everyone around the table wants to dig into?
Sometimes we just don't have time or energy to cook a big meal for our family. Sure, you could hit the fast-food line, but that's as high on grease and calories as it is low on nutrition and disease-preventing vitamins, minerals and trace elements.
That's when I like to fall back on old standbys and comfort food. You? This savory one-pot meal takes only 30 minutes from setting the water to boil to setting the pan on the table. My grandchildren asked for seconds, so you know it's good.
This recipe came about almost by accident, when I needed to save some pricey organic produce before it went bad. Here's the story.
Mission: Save the veggies!
A while back, I helped my daughter and her family while Mom and Dad were busy preparing for the grand opening of their new business. Neither had time to cook. Their veggie bins were full of gorgeous organic produce. I had to get those foods into tummies—not the compost bin!
I made casseroles they could reheat on the run. Labeled them. Dated them. No one would have to guess what was what or how old it was.
On the last day, all packed to go, and with an hour to kill, I wracked my brain for something to do with ribs of celery on the edge of going soft and three nearly forgotten heirloom tomatoes now good for nothing but soup or stew. I needed a hearty, one-dish meal that would keep for a few days--comforting, as well as nourishing.
Red and brown lentils
Lentils to the rescue
Scouring the pantry for a base, I found rice and beans in half a dozen varieties each. All would take too long to cook, but aha! Tucked in a dark corner, a bag of lentils. Perfect!
I set the water to boiling, washed the lentils, and had them cooking in less than five minutes. While the lentils softened, I minced a tiny bit of just-turning-red jalapeno pepper, sliced the celery, and chopped onion, garlic and the tomatoes.
The spicy vegetables would infuse those lentils with flavor, so I added the pepper, onions and garlic as soon as they were chopped, along with salt and a little celery seed. Turned them down to simmer till not quite soft.
Cook it all up in a handsome stove-to-table pot
Any handsome kettle or pot that takes the heat as beautifully as it frames your food will do. This is the one I used in the photograph at the top of this page.
What makes these pots so versatile is that, if you have a gas range (not electric), they can go from stove-top to table. Their rustic simplicity holds your homemade soups, stews and casseroles appetizingly on a cold, blustery day. Would you agree?
I'm so grateful to my children for gifting me with this beautiful cooking dish. La Chamba pots come in a variety of sizes. Guess what's on my Christmas wish and gifting lists!
Add coarsely chopped heirloom tomatoes for flavor and color
How wonderful is it when food that tastes good is also loaded with healthful nutrients? In this recipe, we've got lycopene-rich heirloom tomatoes and several other vibrant, fresh vegetables.
Lycopene is an important anti-oxidant that helps us fight disease at the cellular level. According to a UC Davis study, the richer the tomato's color, the more lycopene we absorb. This bright red orb is a prime example.
But did you know that onions and garlic, from the allium family, are super good for us too? Their flavanoids and polyphenols help prevent certain cancers, reduce heart disease risk, and in women may even help to reduce bone loss.
Test your knowledge! How much do you know about the humble lentil?
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One of the world's healthiest foods
Then we have what some say is one of the world's healthiest foods, the teeny, tiny lentil.
Lentils are jam-packed with fiber and nutrients, and have been found to reduce cholesterol and heart disease. Not only are lentils high in the good fiber that keeps our digestive tract happy, they are a good source of iron, too.
If you have to watch your blood sugar, you'll be glad to know they have a low glycemic index as well.
Not to get too deep into the nutrient side of this dish, let's just say you get a lot of health and taste bang for your thirty minutes start-to-table.
Lentils with heirloom tomatoes and veggies recipe
Give this easy 30-minute one-dish meal a try
Next time you're low on steam and time, give this quick, vegetarian one-dish-meal a try. I'd like to know whether your family enjoys it as much as mine do, so don't be shy about rating it or leaving a comment afterward.
Rate this recipe!
- Prep time: 10 min
- Cook time: 20 min
- Ready in: 30 min
- Yields: Serves 6
- 2 C Dried lentils, Rinsed
- 1 Small to medium White or yellow onion, chopped
- 2-3 Cloves Fresh garlic, Minced
- 1-2 t Jalapeno pepper, Finely chopped
- 1/2 t Sea salt
- 1/4 t Celery seed
- 2 Medium Heirloom tomatoes, Coarsely chopped
- 1 Large Carrot, Coarsely shredded
- 3 Ribs Celery with leaves, Coarsely chopped
- 1 Small Lime, Juice only
- 1/2 C Fresh plain yogurt, With live cultures
|Serving size: 1-1/3 cups (320g)|
|Calories from Fat||9|
|% Daily Value *|
|Fat 1 g||2%|
|Carbohydrates 48 g||16%|
|Sugar 10 g|
|Fiber 22 g||88%|
|Protein 20 g||40%|
|Cholesterol 0 mg|
|Sodium 246 mg||10%|
|* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.|
% Daily Value*
Set the water boiling first thing
- In large sauce pan or small soup pot, bring 4 cups water to boil.
- While waiting for water to boil, rinse lentils and set aside to drain; chop onion and mince the garlic and jalapeno pepper.
- Stir lentils into water so slowly that boiling never stops.
- Reduce heat to simmer and add the prepared vegetables, salt and celery seed.
- Chop un-skinned tomatoes fine and stir into pot. Don't worry. The skins will disappear. Heirloom tomatoes have tender skins that melt away.
- Shred carrot and add.
- Slice celery stalks horizontally on the rib, cutting only the larger pieces in half or thirds; chop the leaves; add all to pot.
- Add lime juice, stir, cover and simmer for 10-15 minutes, depending on how you like your lentils. We prefer our lentils whole and a tiny bit chewy. Cook 5 minutes longer if you prefer a softer lentil.
- Serve in bowls with a dollop of homemade Greek or plain yogurt and whole or sliced pears on the side.
Lentil fan? Or not? Weigh in!
How frequently do you include healthful lentils in your diet?
Thank you for visiting this page. I encourage you to tweak this recipe and let me know how you change it up. That's part of the fun of cooking, yes?
© 2014 Kathryn Grace