Think lentils are boring? Well this recipe is anything but - dressed up in sliced bamboo shoots and crunchy hazelnuts - boring never looked so good. Lentils are a vegan's companion full of protein, fiber and B vitamins, all necessary nutrients for the meatless maven. As of late, I've been a lentil enthusiast. I'm often seen heading to my nearest Whole Foods Market scooping up every bit of freshly made lentil vegetable soup in sight. I fill up my giant to-go cup like there's a food shortage coming or something - I just love this little legume. I'm used to the old fashioned way of eating them - in soup, but there are so many versatile ways of preparing lentils that the list just keeps growing and growing and........well, growing!
From the brown to the green to the red, and any other beautiful color in between, lentils are the most alkaline of all plant sources and very easy to digest. They supply the body with energy and help stabilize blood sugar levels.
French green lentils, as I learned from the Barefoot Contessa, are great for dishes like this, they hold their shape better when cooking, are less starchy and have a unique rich, peppery flavor.
Adding in some hazelnuts (my preferred nut of choice next to almonds) you're not only getting some crunchiness with every bite, but also some really fabulous vitamins that help your skin, bones, joints, nervous system and digestive tract function in tip-top shape.
One last vegetable I don't have very often but still love in many Chinese & Thai dishes are bamboo shoots. They really stimulate the appetite and are also high in fiber, potassium and phytochemicals - said to fight bacteria and viruses. That alone is a good enough reason to eat them more often. Plus, it rounds out this bowl very nicely for a very filling and super healthy meal. Caution: Extremely yummy - share it at your own risk!
- 2 cups cooked Bob's Red Mill French Green Lentils, cooled
- 1/2 cup hazelnuts, chopped
- 1/2 cup organic canned sliced bamboo shoots
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
In a large serving bowl add in the cooled lentils, hazelnuts and sliced bamboo shoots, then toss gently to combine. Right before serving, pour the olive oil on top, add salt and pepper and toss again to incorporate, then get out your fork and start munching away.....
Photo via: Valeria Necchio