Sometimes when I don’t know what to make for Meatless Mondays or am craving a particularly meaty dish, I use the flavor combinations that I would normally use with meat and just use them with lentils. Lentils in general are heartier than most other non-animal proteins so they can stand up to bold flavors. Now that its spring, I also love the lightness and freshness of using produce like cucumbers, celery and radishes and herbs and spices like dill and parsley. Incorporating them into my dinner dishes always makes my meals seem as though they wont weigh me down.
My favorite component of this dish is the yogurt. My love for greek yogurt, dill and cucumber is rooted in my grandmother. She absolutely loves this combination, and it being Mother’s day yesterday (happy belated mothers day!) I figured this was a great dish to showcase. Speaking of Mother’s day, I unfortunately did not get to spend it with my mom, but held an impromptu casual brunch on the roof with some of our other friends who weren’t able to spend this day with their mothers either. Sarah and I threw together some eggs, balsamic mushrooms, potatoes with onions and shallots and scrambled and over-medium eggs. I hope everyone got to spend sometime yesterday with their mom’s, even if it was just over the phone!
But back to the yogurt… 0% fat Greek yogurt is a great cooking tool. It can be used to thicken up soups to make them creamy without all of the fat, added into muffins and cakes when baking, perfect for breakfast, part of your meal or even with some berries for dessert. It is a great source of protein with no fat that will definitely keep you full because of its thickness and richness. If you can handle the dairy, its also really beneficial for your digestive system with all of the live active cultures. I hope y’all enjoy this recipe!
Spice Blend (used leftover from Spiced Ground Turkey recipe):
- 1 ½ tablespoon fennel seeds
- 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
- ½ teaspoon red peppercorn
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
½ tablespoon canola oil
½ sweet onion, diced
1 garlic clove, diced
2 celery stalks, sliced thinly
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
2 cups lentils, cooked*
Sweet white wine
½ cup pitted kalamata olives, quartered
What you’ll need: skillets and spice grinder (or mortar and pestle)
To make the spice blend:
In a small skillet, combine the fennel seeds, cumin seeds and red peppercorn over medium heat. Stir until they are aromatic and slightly darker in color, about 3 minutes. Transfer the spices to a bowl, add a pinch of red pepper flakes and cool. Grind the spices to a coarse powder using a spice mill or mortar and pestle. Set aside.
In a medium sauce pan, heat the canola oil over medium-high heat. Add the diced onions and celery, and sweat them out until translucent (about 7-8 minutes). Add the garlic and ginger, sauté for another 2 minutes (adjust the heat if it is too hot, you do not want the garlic to burn).
Add the lentils and stir in ¼ of the spice blend, a pinch of salt and a quick pour of the sweet white wine. Cook for 3-5 minutes, until the lentils are heated through and stir until the wine is absorbed.
Cut off the heat.
Add fresh parsley and olives right before you serve.
Nutrition Info: Each serving is 230 calories, 4.5 g of fat, 13 g of protein, 33 g of carbohydrates and 14 g of fiber.
1 cup of 0% fat greek yogurt
1 teaspoon grainy mustard
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
½ teaspoon agave nectar, light
1 tablespoon dill
1 medium cucumber, finely diced
1 lemon, zested and juiced
1 tablespoon orange zest
Mix all ingredients together until homogenous. Serve on top of lentils!
Nutrition Info: Each serving is 47 calories, 0.1 g of fat, 6 g of protein, 6 g of carbohydrates and 1 g of fiber.
Total Nutrition info: 1 serving of the lentil + yogurt combination is 280 calories, 4.5 g of fat, 19 g of protein, 39 g of carbohydrates and 15 g of fiber.
*I used Melissa’s steamed, ready to eat lentils that I found at Whole Foods. They are all natural with no preservatives and no GMOs. You have to store them in fridge at all times and use them within 6 months of purchasing and 2 days after opening, but they are so worth it!