Kayli likes to tease me about my pre-Kayli eating habits. Apparently I was just a wee bit closed-minded. She likes to name the long list of foods that she “introduced” me to. It’s like she thinks she was some sort of social connector between me and the plant-eating world. Like, “James, meet avocados, I think you guys will really hit it off.”
She does have a point… there’s a lot of great stuff on that list: oatmeal… kale… beets… cauliflower… lentils…
Ah, lentils. Lentils are the one food on that list that I contest to have gotten in to on my own. I had a lentil-based recipe in college, Dice Stew I called it, that was sort of legendary. Sort of. Of the 4 people that had the pleasure of dining on Dice Stew, I can say with confidence that at least one of them liked it. That recipe may need a bit more tweaking before it’s Plant Eaters’ Manifesto worthy.
The lowly lentil has long been overlooked by most westerners. They are a powerhouse plant food (high in protein, tons of fiber) and they offer benefits beyond our health. Every time we replace a gram of animal protein with a gram of lentil protein we reduce our carbon footprint, water footprint, and add money back into our grocery budgets. That’s mostly true with all plant proteins, but lentils have an extra kicker: they pull nitrogen from the ambient air and “fix” it into the soil, which reduces the need for chemical fertilizers. Less chemical fertilizers means less dead zones in our streams, rivers, and oceans.
While lentils are gaining popularity, they aren’t exactly flying off the shelves and into the grocery carts of mainstream eaters. If only we had a recipe that could appeal to all – an epic lentil gateway recipe…
I think I have it, but I can’t claim credit. It was more of a hack based on a local company’s dip – Ah!Zeefa. We used to buy it at the grocery store and have the whole container eaten by the time we got home. Whoops. Unfortunately, the company went out of business a few years back. Since they closed up shop, I’ve been longing for my Ah!Zeefa fix.
- 3 cups cooked black (beluga) lentils
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 gloves garlic
- ½ yellow onion
- ½ -1 habanero pepper (you decide how spicy!)
- juice of 1 (juicy) lime
- 2 teaspoons sea salt
- Chop onions and garlic and sauté over medium to low heat until onions are translucent.
- Combine all ingredients into food processor and blend until it reaches the desired consistency. We liked it a little chunky.
P.S. Join me in a great read about why lentils are so awesome:Lentil Underground: Renegade Farmers and the Future of Food in America.