This recipe is so easy, I'm hesitant to even to call it by that name, but if there's one thing I know it's that every household needs a few easy meal hacks like this up its sleeves, and this (I'm happy to tell you) is one of my faves. I've made no secret of the fact that I'm a massive fan of soaking and steaming lentils, especially if they are fresh. Why do I do this? Well, for textural reasons mainly, as no one likes a mushy French lentil for salads, especially since that is why we love them so much - for their tender and delicate texture! So if you're tired of over-cooking lentils, I highly recommend you try this method. It will change your lentil life, I promise. This recipe, however, is not one of those recipes I'd recommend steaming for, as for this method, you almost do want a little bit of mushiness - plus, no need for soaking means dinner is ready fast. In fact, this meal-in-a-bowl can be on the table in about 30 minutes starting from scratch. That's a super bonus.
The other game changer when it comes to lentils is to enjoy them as fresh after harvest as possible. As much as legumes are considered non-perishable, the truth is the longer they sit in storage, the more they degrade. This goes for all grains and legumes, but beans are the most affected by long storage times, which results in super dry beans that don't cook (or digest) well. Think you're tired of brown, mushy lentils? I would be too, and did you know there actually is no such thing as a brown lentil? It's true, those gas-producing brown lentils you find in the bulk bins are just green lentils that have sat too long ..... long enough to turn brown. I've prepared my fair share of beans in my lifetime, and like many people, I grew up just thinking that was normal when it comes to lentils. I also thought it was normal that sometimes dry beans degrade and fall apart while they are being boiled. Not so. All of those things are signs of old food. So how do you get fresh? It's tough, but this is why so many people are delighted to discover the products we sell at GRAIN (yes, shameless plug, but you'll thank me later if you decide to try for yourself). Enjoy these lentils hot, with cooked grains, smeared on toast, or in this veggie bowl. Details on how to put this together are included below. Have a wonderful week and Happy April to everyone! It's so nice to see the sun and officially enter spring.
In the random category, I thought I'd share a few things I've been enjoying this week, starting with the truly eerie Wild Wild Country, a Netflix documentary. Seriously cray. I made a delicious Salad Niçoise for Easter dinner, which is now up on the GRAIN Journal, and included my first ever crack at Ramen Eggs (that recipe is not included as it is not perfect yet). I stocked up this week on nuts from the Nut Hut, a company that provides high-quality nuts that are also ethically sourced, they are from Vancouver too, and are women-owned. I can't get enough of this piece I bought at WALRUS here in Vancouver, it's meant for water I think, but it really just begs to hold fresh greens or all those new blooms. Lastly, this article contains just about everything you need to know about a sane, reasonable approach to eating. I'm a huge fan of this piece, gather a blanket and a hot cup of tea and enjoy!
Easy Mustard French Lentils
- 1 cup French Lentils (I use GRAIN French Lentils)
- 2 cups water
- 2 tbsp mustard dijon
- 1 tsp red wine vinegar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- optional: minced garlic
- For the veggie bowl seen here:
- 1 cup cooked quinoa, (I use GRAIN Golden Quinoa)
- 1/2 red onion, chopped
- 1 large carrot, peeled and sliced, and roasted
Combine the lentils and water in a saucepan and bring to a boil, covered. Once boiling, lower the heat to maintain a simmer and with the lid on, cook the lentils until soft, 20-25 minutes. While the lentils cook, heat the oven to 400 degrees. Prepare the carrot and red onion and add to a mixing bowl. Toss with 1 tbsp of olive oil and a pinch of salt and add to a flat baking tray. Roast in the oven for 20-25 minutes, tossing a few times in between. Once the veggies and lentils are cooking, cook the quinoa according to package directions.
Once the lentils are cooked (you want them to be quite tender, almost mushy but not too mushy), Remove from the pot and drain any excess water (there shouldn't be much). Immediately add to a mixing bowl and toss with the red wine vinegar, salt, mustard, black pepper, and olive oil. Feel free to be rough while tossing, it's Ok if the lentils break a little during mixing as this will help the lentils absorb all the flavors. Adjust seasonings to taste. Serve hot or warm with cooked quinoa, roasted veggies, greens, avocado and a squeeze of fresh lemon on the lentils. I added a few olives, chili flakes and hemp hearts too.
Full disclosure: I rely heavily on quality grains, beans, and freshly milled flour throughout my recipes, and I use and recommend the products from the company I co-founded, GRAIN throughout my posts.