Saturday, June 5, 2010

Seasoned Lentils with Vegetables

Tonight I found myself alone for dinner, without much motivation to cook. So, I looked in the refrigerator and started pulling out ingredients. The result was this flavorful side dish that can easily be the whole meal. It is complete with protein, vegetables and complex carbs. Lentils are high in fiber and are a good source of iron, vitamin B1 and folate. I simply added a piece of fruit for dessert and the meal was complete. (If you want a meatless meal, omit the bacon.)

The lentils I used were already fully cooked. This cut the preparation time in half! These convenient, prepackaged cooked lentils can sometimes be found in the produce section of your supermarket or at Trader Joe's. If you can't find cooked lentils, you can use canned that have been drained and rinsed or cook your own. They only take about 20 minutes to prepare, so you can still get dinner on the table in under an hour.

Seasoned Lentils with Vegetables
(Makes four ¾-cup servings)

2 cups cooked lentils
1 tablespoon olive oil
½ large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 slices of ready-cook bacon, diced (or cooked turkey bacon, crumbled)
2 medium carrots, sliced
1 medium zucchini, quartered and sliced
1½ cups frozen broccoli florets, thawed
3 tablespoons fresh herbs, chopped (parsley, sage, rosemary, thyme, chives) or 2 teaspoons dried
1/3 cup beef or vegetable broth
1 tablespoon worcestershire or steak sauce
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Cook lentils according to package directions, except substitute low-sodium beef or vegetable broth in place of water for more flavor; set side.

2. Heat olive oil over medium high heat. Add onion and a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is soft and translucent. Add garlic, bacon and carrots and cook, stirring occasionally, for 3-4 minutes. Add zucchini, broccoli and herbs and continue cooking for another 3 minutes or until vegetables are tender-crisp.

3. Add cooked lentils, broth, worcestershire sauce and season with salt and pepper to taste. Cook only until lentils are heated through. Serve hot.

Nutritional Information per serving: 204.5 calories, 27.5 g carbohydrate, 4.7 g total fat, 0.3 g saturated fat, 9.6 g fiber, 11.7 g protein.

Original recipe by Kathy Sheehan, copyright 2010

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