Lentils are the Perfect Fall Food!October 02, 2013
Fall is officially here. For us locals, this is one of the most beautiful times of the year and an inspiring time to discover fall foods that can be found at our local farmers’ market. For those of you that don’t know, the farmers’ market is open 6 days a week somewhere in Santa Barbara; the schedule is posted below.
As many of you know, I gave up all meat and meat products including broths in August 2012. I still eat seafood but try to ensure that it is caught wild and sustainable. Since giving up meat, I feel healthier than ever but it wasn’t easy in the beginning. Since I do manual labor, I require more calories than most women my age and the right type of calories are crucial for me to remain strong and healthy. I did some research and started incorporating eggs, almonds, quinoa, avocados, broccoli, dried beans, nut milks, and LENTILS. Lentils are the understated super food that can be dressed up or down, and can be the star of rustic and elegant meals alike.
Lentils are high in fiber so they satisfy your hunger and reduce your appetite. Since lentil fiber is soluble, it lowers your cholesterol by binding with bile acids which forces the body to use carbohydrates in the process and also causes them to absorb more slowly. They are an excellent weight loss food. Lentils are also high in folic acid which may help prevent heart disease, dementia, and other ailments. Lentils are a great source of iron and can help prevent anemia in vegetarians.
Red, green, and brown lentils are the most common in the United States and you can find them at local grocery stores, or they may be purchased in bulk at your local health food stores. Trader Joe’s has bags of red or whole green lentils for just $1.69 which offers 8 to 15 servings depending on the variety you choose.
I like them on top of salads, eggs, fish, side dishes, vegetables and more. Since I am a home cook, I decided to experiment and perfect my lentil recipes.
I wanted to share one of my lentil recipes with Sheena and Chelsey so we prepared two different types of lentils with the same recipe. They tasted completely different even though we used the same base.
For this recipe, you will need: olive oil, salt, pepper, 1 bag of lentils, 1-2 cups of water depending on the size of the bag (the ratio is 2:1 for liquid/lentils), carton of vegetable broth or make your own, 1 red onion, 1 full bulb of garlic, 1 lemon, 1 jalapeno, 1 large carrot, 1 tomato, 1 ear of corn with corn removed (we used frozen for our recipe this time but I usually don’t), fresh herbs (basil, oregano, and sage), and 1/4 cup of port or wine.
Wash your lentils throughly. With your burner on low, liberally cover the bottom of your dutch oven or pan with olive oil, add the carrots, jalapeño, tomato, garlic and onion. Add your broth gradually so that the vegetables don’t overcook or burn, keep adding the rest of the ingredients until you have all the vegetables in. Add your lentils, port, and the rest of the vegetable broth. Bring the water to a rapid simmer over medium-high heat, then reduce the heat to maintain a very gentle simmer. Cook them covered. Cooking time will depend on the type of lentils you purchase. Add water or broth as needed. Add salt right before they are done so as not to overcook. Keep stirring during the cooking process so everything is mixed throughout. It’s that easy!!
Here’s what we created. Enjoy!
Santa Barbara Farmers’ Market Hours
Sat. Market (Downtown)
Sun. Market (Goleta)
Tues. Market (Downtown)
Wed. Market (Solvang)
Thur. Market (Goleta)
Thur. Market (Carpinteria)
Fri. Market (Montecito)