Tag Archives: lentils

Basic Lentil Squash Pie

28 Oct

I had high hopes of transforming the veggies left in my kitchen into a glorious pot pie. The crust to be whole wheat perfection, with a nice savory gravy filling out the bottoms. And then I looked in my refrigerator and really thought about how much I did not feel like using a pastry cutter. So my original intention morphed into a much more manageable and totally basic version of a shepherd’s pie:

Sorry. There is no way to make this stuff look pretty in my home after dark.

Basic Lentil Squash Pie

  • 1 small butternut squash
  • 1 teaspoon oil (olive or coconut oil)
  • 1/2 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup brown lentils
  • 2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon rosemary
  • 1/2 teaspoon tarragon
  • 2 to 4 tablespoons non-dairy milk
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Pinch of salt

Preheat the oven to 400° F. Cut your butternut squash in half lengthwise, remove the seeds and stringy bits, and then place cut-side down in a baking dish or on a baking sheet. Roast until fork tender, about 45 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until soft. Add the garlic and stir for about 30 seconds until fragrant. Pour in the broth and increase heat to bring to a boil. Add the lentils, thyme, rosemary, tarragon, and bay leaf. Stir quickly to combine, and then reduce the heat to a simmer. Let cook until the broth is absorbed and the lentils are tender but not mushy. Taste for flavor, and add more herbs, if desired. Set aside.

When the squash is done, let it cool until you can handle it. Use a fork to scrape the flesh into a medium bowl. Add the non-dairy milk (I actually used about 1/4 cup of the Trader Joe’s coconut cream) by the tablespoon until the flavor and consistency are to your liking. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Reduce the oven heat to 350° and spray or grease an 8″ pie dish. Pour the lentils in the bottom and top with the mashed butternut squash. Add more pepper to the top, if desired. The layering will look like this:

Bake for 20 minutes. Serves two as a main or four as a side.

While this dish takes a little more time than I generally prefer, it comes together very quickly once the lentils and squash are cooked. You could easily use pre-roasted squash, but I recommend bringing it to room temperature before mashing.

Cucumber flower

27 Aug

Here’s a make-up post of a couple of dishes I made using CSA Week 1 goodies.

For our other dinner last week, I did something Thai-inspired involving lentils, barley, coconut milk, and a bunch of CSA vegetables:

Thai Lentils and Barley

  • 1 1/2 cups coconut milk
  • 6 to 7 cups vegetable broth or water, or a combination
  • 1 cup pearl barley, rinsed
  • 1 cup brown lentils, rinsed
  • 1 bunch of kale, cleaned thoroughly and chopped/torn
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon thyme
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons oregano
  • Cayenne, salt and pepper to taste
  • Handful of Thai basil, cut in a julienne

In a large pot, heat coconut milk and 6 cups of broth/water to a boil. Add the barley and reduce to a simmer for about 20 minutes. At this point, add the rest of the ingredients, return to a simmer, and cook until the barley and lentils are softened and the liquid is absorbed. Add more broth or water if the liquid dries up before the texture is to your liking. Makes about 5 servings.

As you can see, we served ours with Refreshing Cucumber Salad (lightly tweaked to swap scallions for red onion, omit the agave, and just mix the dressing by hand). We used the Armenian cucumber, which might be the cutest thing ever:

It’s like a flower! I’m really not a big cucumber fan, but I really liked the Armenian variety. They are crisper, firmer, don’t need to be peeled. and the seeds are far less offensive. I’m excited to have more this week.

For dessert, we enjoyed half the honeydew melon and one of the Valencia oranges (sorry it’s so dark):

It was a perfect summer meal that used seven of the goodies from the CSA box. That’s definitely a winner!

I did it!

18 Jun

Friends, readers, country(wo)men — I took the leap. You are now viewing this little blog on her own domain: http://www.veggingoutinttown.com! Eek! I’m excited, as you can tell. One day, I will upgrade to my own hosting, too, but for now, I’m basking in this first little victory.

I told you about my first foray into diabetic meal planning two weeks ago but was remiss in sharing the actual eats. My apologies. Between the ShakeDown in T-Town Shakespeare Festival 2011 and the crushing pain that refuses to leave my head (16 migraines in 35 days and counting — for realsies), I’ve been a bit negligent. So here’s what we’ve been eating round these here parts lately. I will note that I still consider myself a failure at the diabetes thing. It’s really, really hard and contrary to how I — a carb-loving borderline hypoglycemic — normally plan meals. I am picking up Dr. Barnard’s book on diabetes today, though, so hopefully I will gain some insight.

OK, here was the boy’s favorite meal of last week:

Clockwise from left: Swiss Chard with Garlic Chips (topped with a splash of balsamic instead of the reduction), Refreshing Cucumber Salad with Creamy Mint Dressing (minus the onions), and “Dry” Red Lentils (recipe below). He raved about the whole meal. I enjoyed it, too, though the following morning’s repeat Swiss chard performance was not ideal. (For the record, I blame my own acid reflux problems, not the green or the recipe.) I adored the dressing on the cucumber salad and plan to use it again on something else. Here’s the super-easy-basic lentil recipe.

“Dry” Red Lentils (adapted from World Vegetarian by Madhur Jaffrey)

  • 1 cup red lentils
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 medium onion, cut into fine half moons
  • 3 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Rinse and drain lentils, then place them in a bowl with water to soak. The original recipe says three hours, but I only did one and it was totally fine. Drain when you’re ready to cook.

Place a medium pot over medium heat and add the oil. Add the onion and garlic, stir frying for about 4 minutes, or until the onion browns a little. Add the lentils, stirring for a minute. Add 1 cup of water and the salt. Stir and bring to a boil. Now cover, reduce the heat to very low, and cook until lentils are tender mush, about 20 minutes.

The recipe is pretty much fool-proof, and it’s completely delicious, despite the very small ingredient list. I recommend trying it as is before you start spicing things up.

After dinner, I whipped up some Pumpkin Pie Mousse.

I am total crap at food styling, but this was my attempt. Almost pretty, eh? The mousse is layered with banana slices and topped with a little coconut cream (from the top of the can of coconut milk) and cinnamon. The only changes I made to the original recipe were omitting the maca (didn’t have any) and sweetening with a little honey.

Another successful meal was what I’m calling Continential Breakfast for Dinner.

Clockwise from left: Italian-style Eggs, salad with homemade goddess dressing, and French-inspired Breakfast Potatoes. I didn’t use a recipe for the former, just sauteed two yellow squashes in olive oil and garlic then added four beaten eggs (sourced locally and cruelty-free), two chopped scallions, five or six chopped and seeded cherry tomatoes, Italian seasoning, dried oregano, and a little shredded Asiago cheese. It was incredible, if I do say so myself. I will share recipes for the other two dishes in a separate post so this one doesn’t get too cray-cray.

For my lunches, I made a nutrient-dense salad:

It was inspired by the salad I always get at Chipotle, but mine was awesomer. I made black beans from scratch in the slow cooker, precooked some red bell pepper and portobello mushrooms in a little olive oil, and made salsa. When it was time to eat, I heated up the cooked stuff, piled it on top of greens, and topped it all with salsa and sliced avocado. *Heavenly.* If anyone would like the full recipe, I’d be happy to do a separate post. I was a nice girlfriend and shared this salad for one of my diabetic love’s lunches, but it was hard to part with.

So those are a few of last week’s mostly healthy meals, and I promise there is more to come as I finagle this bidness. On an exciting note, I FOUND MY CAMERA CHARGER! Now all I have to do is find . . . my camera. For real. Sigh. Soon, though, I promise pictures will improve.

What’s your favorite breakfast-for-dinner meal? I’m not a big pancake fan, so I usually stick with something savory.

Lentils on FoodistaLentils

Lentil Tacos and a return to vegging out

22 Mar

I’m baaaack! Did you miss me?

Life has been pretty crazy since January. Between closing my play, breaking up with my (now former) taller half, moving in with my new boyfriend, taking over managing director duties for a Shakespeare festival, and everything else in between, I’ve been chasing my tail for a while now. I am finally getting into the swing of things, though, and the internet has returned to me, so expect more updates. Yay!

The only thing I still lack is a camera. OK, I have two cameras but still haven’t located a charger for either, so you’re stuck with cell phone pics for a while. Did I mention I upgraded to a smart phone? I love my Droid. 🙂

So what better way to get back into my life as a food blogger than by showing you some comestibles. Enter my lunch this week: Lentil tacos and carrots with tahini dip.

Oh yes, desk photos have returned. Holla.

The tacos are a highly bastardized version of the one found in Skinny Bitch Ultimate Everyday Cookbook. I am not exaggerating with the phrase “highly bastardized.” Also, I am smirking over typing two of the naughty “B” words in that first sentence. Tee hee.

Anyway, here is my recipe for Lentil Tacos with Fresh Salsa:

  • 1 cup dried red lentils
  • 2 tablespoons white or yellow onion, chopped finely
  • 3 cloves plus 2 cloves of garlic, minced and divided (or to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon of olive oil plus 1 teaspoon olive oil, divided
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1-2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1-2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne (or to taste)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2/3 cup cherry tomatoes, diced (and seeded if you abhor those little bugger as much as I do)
  • 2 tablespoons red onion, chopped finely
  • 1/4 of a jalapeno pepper, minced (and seeded if you want less spice)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 4 whole wheat tortillas
  • 1 large avocado, flesh sliced

Bring two cups of water to boil in a medium saucepan. Add lentils and white or yellow onion. Return to a boil, then reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook 10 to 15 minutes, or until lentils are cooked. Mash lightly (or, conversely, overcook them in too much water like I did and watch them mash themselves when you try to drain off the extra moisture) and combine with 3 minced garlic cloves, 1 teaspoon of olive oil, tomato paste and spices. I found this pretty easy to do with a giant spoon, but you can use a blender.

While the lentils are cooking, make the salsa (this is almost identical to Skinny Bitch’s): combine cherry tomatoes, 2 minced garlic cloves, red onion, jalapeno, lime juice, cilantro and 1 teaspoon of olive oil in a bowl. Mix well.

Heat up tortillas either in a warm, dry skillet or in the microwave between damp paper towels (about 15 seconds per tortilla). Spoon 1/4 of the lentil mixture into each tortilla and top with 1/4 of the fresh salsa and – yes – 1/4 of the avocado chunks.

Makes four servings.

I nooched the heck out of mine before eating:


I gotsta say, the fresh salsa makes this recipe. Oh man, it’s delicious! This attempt was actually my first ever making salsa, but it will not be my last. Maybe some mango-pineapple action will rear its head next? Also, the avocado was luscious and wonderful.

The main changes I made to the original recipe were reducing the amount of olive oil (and actually I think it can be omitted entirely, especially from the lentil mixture); subbing red lentils in for the green, which changed the texture, but I much prefer the flavor of red; using whole wheat tortillas instead of crunchy corn ones; and, of course, adding more spice.

The tahini dip I ate with my carrots was incredibly basic: about 1/4 cup tahini mixed with the juice from one lemon, 3 minced garlic cloves, salt and pepper to taste, and enough hot water to thin out the consistency. I made it originally to top an Edamame Corn Salad (literally just 12 ounce of frozen, shelled edamame and 1/3 cup frozen corn, plus salt and pepper), but there was enough extra for some dipping action. No complaints.

So how’s that for my first post back in the game?