i’m in love with lentils

Like most vegetables, I couldn’t stand them as a kid. Now I’m in love with them. I’m in love with lentil soup!

Lentils. So delicious, packed with nutrition’s, so good for you. They are not just packed with protein, as you might now, but provide also 358mcg Folate per cup (that’s 90% DV!). Folate helps to produce new cells ad is essential to iron production in the body. It is also essential for the healthy development of the fetus in early pregnancy. It is recommended for all women in the child-bearing age to increase their folate intake, even if they aren’t planning on becoming pregnant. Lentils also contain magnesium. No wonder “Health” Magazine put Lentils on their list of “The World’s Healthiest Foods”.

One cup of lentils contains about 230 calories and less than 1 gram of fat. It provides 17 grams of Protein, and about 16 grams of complex fibers which will hep you stay full longer.

And although lentil soup might seem like a nice comfort food on a chilly fall night, I love it year round. The lemon I use in the soup gives it a nice kick and summer feel, plus I serve it with a nice, fresh salad to make it a delicious, healthy, good-for-you meal!

Lentil Soup With Lemon

Ingredients:

  • Olive Oil
  • 1 large Onion, chopped
  • 3-4 cloves Garlic, minced
  • 1 TBS Tomato Paste
  • 1 TSP Ground Cumin
  • 1/4 TSP Chili Powder (or to taste)
  • Salt & Fresh Ground Black Pepper to taste
  • 2 cups Vegetable Broth (or Chicken Broth)
  • 1 1/2 cups Lentils (I mostly use green lentils, but you can also use red lentils)
  • 1 large Carrot, diced
  • 2 TBS lemon juice (or to taste)
  • fresh, chopped cilantro
Directions:
  1. Heat some olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Stir in the onion and about half of the garlic, and cook until the onion has turned golden brown, about 5 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste, cumin, salt, black pepper, and chili powder. Cook and stir 2 minutes more until the spices are fragrant.
  2. Stir in the vegetable broth, lentils, and carrot. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until the lentils are soft, about 30 minutes.
  3. Put the remaining garlic into a blender (chop if the cloves are still whole), and add about half of the soup, filling the pitcher no more than halfway full. Hold down the lid of the blender with a folded kitchen towel, and carefully start the blender, using a few quick pulses to get the soup moving before leaving it on to puree. Alternately, you can use a stick blender and puree the soup right in the cooking pot. Do not puree all of the soup, leave some of it a little chunky.
  4. Stir in the lemon juice and cilantro, then season to taste with salt.
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Yes, It’s Vegan!

One of the first foods I had when I came to the Unites States was Tacos. And I feel in love with them right there and then. Tacos are oh-so-delicious, and there are tons of recipes with tips out there on how to make them a bit healthier.

I came across this amazing vegan(!) Black Bean Taco Recipe, and this is the only way I’m making Tacos since. Although I have to add, since neither I or the hubs are vegan, we do add dairy toppings to them. I also always make fresh guacamole to go with them (I’m totally in love with avocados). They are so good, I have to share the recipe with you.

 

Black Bean Tacos with Corn Salsa

 (serves 4)

Ingredients:

Olive Oil Cooking Spray

2 cloves garlic

2 1/2 cups canned black beans (rinsed & drained)

1/4 cup rolled oats

1/4 cup cornmeal

1 TBSP chili powder

1/2 TSP Cumin (optional)

1 TSP salt (divided)

1/2 TSP freshly ground black pepper (divided)

8 small corn tortillas

1 cup corn (thawed if frozen)

1 medium red bell pepper, chopped

1 small green chile, diced

2 scallions, chopped

juice of two limes

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Heat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit, and coat a baking sheet with cooking spray.

In a food processor, chop the garlic. Add the beans, oats, cornmeal, chili pepper, cumin,  3/4 TSP salt, and 1/4 TSP pepper. Process until mixture is combined, stopping to scrape down the sites a couple of times (about 1 minute).

Crumble bean mixture onto the prepared baking sheet (do not stick your hands in the blender, use a spoon ;)), and coat lightly with some cooking spray. Then bake the bean mixture until it’s firm and crisp on the bottom, about 10 to 15 minutes.

Use a spoon to break up pieces of bean mixture, turn it, and coat again lightly with the cooking spray. Bake until the bean mixture is crisp all over, about 10 to 15 minutes.

Warm the tortillas in the oven for about 5 minutes.

To make the corn salsa combine the corn, chopped red bell pepper, diced chile, chopped scallions, and remaining salt and pepper in a medium-sized bowl. Sprinkle with lime juice, and add fresh cilantro.

Nutritional Info for the recipe as is above:

321 calories per serving (2 tacos), 3g fat, 60g carbs, 13g fiber, 14g Protein

My taco topped with guacamole, fat-free sour cream, and some cheddar cheese.

Vegan Black Bean Taco with Corn Salsa and Guacamole