Cilantro Lentils

Happy Monday my friends!!!

How was your weekend?  Mine was fast paced but delightful.  I took a quick trip south to my sister’s neck of the woods for a baby shower for a sweet friend/family member.  I have to laugh because the “momma-to-be” is my sister’s SIL and no relation to me at all, but I feel very much like she’s a big part of my family.  What would I call her?  She’s not just a friend….  Hmmmm…. and H-SIL, honorary sister-in-law…????

Either way, it was a beautiful shower and there were so many lovely ladies there.  I loved being a part of it.

The whole trip was less than 24-hours so, it goes without saying, I was pretty wiped out by the time I got home.

Yesterday was quiet.  We enjoyed our church family and then came home for a light lunch and naps for the littles and a personal mission to CLEAN the house.

In the back of my mind I had this blog post on my agenda.  It had actually been on the agenda since Friday, but I just didn’t get the time.  I tried a new recipe Thursday night and was SO excited about it that I didn’t want to wait too long before I shared it.

Over the Christmas holiday I got a soup mix kit that had lentils in it.  I had never cooked with them before.  I knew they were a legume and really good for you, but just wasn’t sure how to prepare them other than as an addition to soups.  Since my family loved the soup mix so much I had an abundance of all the ingredients, lentils being one of those.

I set out on a web trek to find alternative uses for lentils.  I came across several recipes that were quite similar.  I chose the one I had the most ingredients for and got busy.  I’ll admit I also chose this one because it appealed to my love affair with cilantro.  Cilantro can make anything taste good.  Right?

LentilsAs these were cooking I was a little concerned that they would be really flavorless and bland as the “broth” of the cooking liquid didn’t amount to much, but to my surprise, after it all came together it was fantastic!  I wasn’t sure if they were meant to be eaten as a meatless main dish or as a side.  I opted to serve them with a grilled chicken breast that I had leftover in the fridge.

(Cue that heavenly music.)  Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!  They were FAN-TAS-TIC!!!

Creamy.

Hearty.

Lemony and delicious!!

I was so excited!  Then I entered them into my nutritional calculator and was even more excited!!  A 2/3 cup serving was only about 100 calories!!  (2/3 cup is a LOT of lentils!!!)

Cilantro Lentils
(recipe adapted from Food Network Magazine)

1 1/2 cups dried red lentils, rinsed (I think mine were green, so I doubt it really matters…)

1 large tomato, chopped

1 1-inch piece ginger, peeled and minced

3/4 tsp turmeric

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper, or more if you desire a little more heat

Kosher salt

1 TBSP butter

3 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 cup chopped cilantro

Juice of one lemon

Combine the lentils, 6 cups of water, chopped tomato, ginger, turmeric, cayenne pepper and 1/2 tsp salt in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat.  Bring to a simmer and cook until the lentils are broken up and the mixture thickens, about 45 minutes.  Whisk vigorously, occasionally, throughout the cooking process to help break up the lentils.

When the lentils are almost done melt the butter in a small skillet over medium heat.  Add the garlic and saute for about 1 minute.  Stir garlic, cilantro and lemon juice into the cooked lentils.  Season additionally with salt and pepper if desired and serve.

***Note: My little grocery store didn’t have any fresh ginger so I just used about a teaspoon of the dried spice and I think it turned out okay.  Next time I’ll try to find the fresh version and see if it makes a huge flavor difference.

The Skinny: 1 serving is 2/3 cup (yields approximately 6 servings)

Calories: 104/serving; Carbs: 22g; Fat: 2g; Protein: 10g; Sodium: 14g; Sugars: 2g

So…. you can see that these things are SOOO good for you.  Winner!  Winner!!!!

If you haven’t tried these delightful little things yet, go for it.  I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

Peace, love and new food ventures!!!!!

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