The Run Around on Lentils

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My husband is a runner. No, I don’t mean he runs from situations in life, except for those times when I go on a rant. I mean, he runs for fun and exercise … and sprints when I ramble. Having completed seven marathons in the past 14 years – and 12 years by my side – he has mastered this whole running thing exceptionally well. I admit, I am mighty proud of this guy.

He isn’t a really picky eater, but he has his strong dislikes. Most often his food inspiration comes from his “Runner’s World” subscription.  Eating smart is a huge key to endurance training. He believes in lean proteins and smart carbs and all the hullabaloo any runner would believe in. But he does not particularly like lentils. Doesn’t “Runner’s World” tell you that lentils are the best proteins around, that it is a superfood? Sure it does. But he runs from that too.

Surprisingly, he brought me an article about lentils the other day when I was on a ramble about lentils. “Take a look at this,” he said. I was looking at a two-page article about perfect food pairs, exactly the kind of thing I love to know. It explained how iron rich lentils help transport oxygen to working muscles and that lentils need vitamin C to help the iron become more soluble in the intestine. The digestion and absorption of iron in plant-based foods are dependant upon good old vitamin C!

“It says, lentils are a good lunch food for runners. You should eat more lentils.”

” Hmmm…” (That is a suggestive, ‘no’)

“Would you eat a salad with lentils?”

He took awhile, then asked, ” with what else?”

“Definitely red peppers, because that’s what I just read about. Grilled, I’m thinking….and red onions, grill that too. A slight char on peppers and onions… that would keep the crunch yet make them sweet.”

“Sounds all right”, he said, flipping the newspaper spread across the table. He looked at me briefly, seemingly assuring, then his head bend down in deep thoughts.

He was listening. Of course, I’m quoting “Runner’s World”, he ought to listen.

“Then I’ll add a hint of cumin and garlic to the lentils for flavour, some fresh arugula tossed in. You love arugula! I’m thinking avocado too…. it’s creamy, maybe grill them too? And an egg on top with a soft runny yolk that will work as a sauce as well? What do you think?”

‘Hmm?” He looked up from the paper, and I knew.

He had stopped listening long ago. The unfolding political situation in Crimea was more important than lentils and cumin. I had nothing on Putin, et al. but my food ideas.

So this warm lentil salad was born. A drizzle of olive oil, freshly squeezed lime juice, and a sprinkling of smoky roasted cumin on top – this salad was singing.

And he ate it all, to the last beady lentil on the bowl.

Think I’m converting him? No, I don’t mean to a good listener (I have realistic expectations that way) … I mean converting him to a lentil eater?

This is my entry to the Canadian Lentils Recipe Revelations Challenge : Best in Salads Category. Do let me know what you think? Two down, three more to go. My previous entry to the Best in Appetizer can be found here- Lentil Fritters with Shrimp and Oregano. 

If you haven’t yet joined the challenge, there is plenty of time (good till April 7th) for all the fun. For more information please click on the links.

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Warm Lentil Salad with Cumin and Grilled Veg

(serves 2)

Ingredients:

  • Black Beluga Lentils : 1/2 cup
  • Garlic: 1 large clove , minced or grated
  • Whole Cumin seeds : 1/4 tsp
  • Dry Roasted Whole Cumin: 1/2 tsp  gently crushed
  • Red Onion: 2 thick slices
  • Red Pepper: 1/2 cut into thick slices
  • Avocado: 1/2,  thickly sliced
  • Butter: 1 Tbsp
  • Lime: 1
  • Arugula:  a handful
  • Eggs: 2
  • Salt and pepper: to taste

Method:

  • Boil lentils with 1/4 tsp salt until soft, about 20 minutes.
  • Slice your vegetables and toss them in a little bit of oil. Grill your red onion, red pepper and avocado slices.
  • In a frying pan, melt the butter over low heat, add the cumin and let it roast in the hot butter for a few minutes. When the cumin starts to release it’s aroma add the minced garlic. Let garlic cook in low heat till it becomes translucent, making sure not to brown.
  • Add the lentils to the pan and toss to coat. Take off heat and add the grilled vegetables and a good squeeze of lime juice and gently fold to keep avocado intact.
  • When ready to serve, fry an egg with a slightly runny yolk as this will be your sauce for the salad.
  • Arrange lentils and vegetables in your bowl, add some arugula (a handful or to your liking) and top with the fried egg.
  • Drizzle olive oil and squeeze some fresh lime juice, sprinkle eggs with salt, pepper, and crushed dry roasted cumin.
  • Serve warm, with bread if desired.
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20 thoughts on “The Run Around on Lentils

  1. Pingback: The Run Around on Lentils | Keep Calm and Eat On | Know What You Eat

  2. I will have to think about lentils as part of my ‘cycling diet’. We are back in season now and the long mountain cycles burn huge amounts of energy. Anything that improves the oxygen transport and intake is worth a go. It looks delicious too.

    • Lentils are definitely what you need to introduce to your cycling diet then! Don’t forget to add the vitamin C for a better indigestion. There’s a ton of fabulous recipes with lentils out there for you to discover. Lamb and lentil stew might be up your alley! :)

  3. Oh my goodness Debjani, this is the most delicious supper I’ve had in a long time. My husband requested a repeat pronto. I feel satisfied and my mouth is happy! I’m so happy to have this in my supper rotation and can’t wait to try some of your other entries.

    • Moumita: Black beluga lentils are what we call ‘Urad Daal’ in India. You will be able to find these with their skin on, often sold as ‘kali daal’. Moong daal boiled tenderly without getting mushed may work, I think. I have never tried this recipe using moong but I don’t see why not! Let me know your opinion is after you have tried it. And thank you for stopping by! :)

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