Do you ever just stare blankly into the abyss of your pantry hoping that an ingredient will just jump out at you and say “Pick me! I’m nutritious, delicious, and will get dinner on the table fast!”
In a matter of speaking, this happened to me the other day. I was just about to start my weekly meal planning session when a bag of lentils literally fell off the shelf as I opened the pantry door and landed on my foot.
I immediately thought 3 things:
- I’m so glad that wasn’t a can
- I really need to reorganize my pantry
- I should make something with lentils this week
If you’ve been around the blog long enough, you know that I like to use ingredients that pack a big nutritional punch and lentils totally fit the bill. Full of gut and heart healthy fiber, lentils are also high in protein, iron, and folate. They are also amongst the quickest cooking of all the legumes which makes them the perfect weeknight staple, even in the slow cooker.
To make them even quicker cooking, I soaked my lentils overnight. Soaking your legumes overnight will cut the cooking time by 25-50% the next day! Big pay off for minimal effort. In order soak your legumes (lentils, beans, chickpeas, etc), add them to a lidded container with enough fresh water to cover them and add a small splash of apple cider vinegar or lemon juice. The addition of an acid helps to break down the oligosaccharides, or indigestible sugars, that can cause, um, excessive digestive by-products.
Ok. Let’s just say it.
They cause farts.
When you’re ready to cook your legumes, give them a really good rinse under cold running water and say bye-bye to the need for Bean-O. If you’re particularly prone to the effects of legumes, you can also rinse them 1-2 times during their 12-24 hour soak period before returning them to a jar full of water.
Now, if I could just get the lentils to reorganize my pantry for me…
Lentil Street Tacos
- 1.5 cups green lentils, soaked overnight
- 1 large onion, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1.5 TBS cumin
- 1.5 TBS chili powder
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 2 tsp hot sauce (or more to taste)
- Street taco sized corn tortillas
- Fresh corn kernels
- Lime wedges
- Fresh cilantro
- Hot sauce
- Cooked brown rice (add some fresh lime juice and chopped cilantro for a kick!)
- Drain and rise the soaked lentils well with fresh water.
- Add the lentils to a lidded pot and cover with water by 2 inches. Bring them to a boil, cover the pot, and then turn to a simmer. Allow to cook for about 15 minutes until tender while keeping their shape.
- While the lentils are cooking, add the onion to a dry hot skillet over medium heat. Sauté for 2-3 minutes until translucent, adding a splash of water if necessary to keep them from sticking. Turn the heat to low and allow the onions to being to caramelize a bit, 5-8 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add the garlic to the skillet and cook till fragrant, about 30 seconds, stirring well.
- Add the cumin, chili powder, oregano, salt, and hot sauce to the skillet and stir well to wake up the spices. (**tip: If you don’t keep tons of spices in your cabinet, you can substitute all of the dry spices for a packet of taco seasoning. Just make sure it’s dairy free!)
- When the lentils are finished cooking, drain them and add them to the skillet with the onions and spices.
- Stir well to coat the lentils with the spices, adding a splash of water if the mixture is too dry. Allow to cook for 1-2 minutes over medium-low heat.
- Check for seasoning and serve in tortillas with your choice of toppings.
- Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-5 days. Serves about 4.
Please. Make me feel better. Does your pantry need to be hit with the organization stick too?