I love lentils. They’re not only versatile, quick-cooking, and inexpensive, they are also full of essential nutrients that help prevent heart disease, insulin resistance, and constipation. What makes lentils a beneficial choice for most people? They contain soluble fibre, which helps lower blood cholesterol and allow the “good” bacteria to flourish in the large intestine. They’re also a good source of insoluble fibre, which helps to prevent constipation by providing roughage for the digestive system. The protein content combined with the fibre in the beans also slows down the breakdown of the natural starches in the lentils, preventing spikes in blood sugar levels and reducing the risks of insulin resistance.
In addition to their health benefits, lentils earned a spot in my pantry for their versatility. They’re like a blank canvas, soaking up whatever flavour you choose to paint them with. And just like that, plain lentils are transformed from an ugly duckling into a beautiful swan. Feeling French? Toss lentils with a lemon juice, butter, & parsley. Rocking Moroccan? Add cumin, olive oil, and black pepper. Itching for Italian? Try basil, toasted pine nuts, and balsamic vinegar. The possibilities are endless!
I channeled my inner fusion child for this recipe, combining local BC ingredients– such as black kale and hothouse heirloom tomatoes, with Japanese miso. To my delight, the sweet and tangy tomatoes worked really well with the salty and fermented flavours of the miso paste. And the colours are so pretty!
Eat This Mindfully
Prepare: Take a few deep breaths and assess your hunger and fullness levels before eating.
Look: Check out the colours, textures, and sizes of the lentils, kale, and tomatoes. What stands out to you? What do you want to eat the most?
Smell: Can you smell the tomatoes? Miso paste? What about the lentils?
Taste: What tastes good to you? What different textures do you notice?
Check in: What changes do you notice in your hunger and fullness? How do you know when you’re ready to stop eating?
- 2 cups water
- 1/2 cup wheat berries, checked for stones and rinsed
- 1/2 cup dried whole green lentils with skins, checked for stones and rinsed
- 1 tbsp olive/ canola/ vegetable oil
- 1/2 small onion, finely diced
- 4-5 black kale leaves, chopped roughly
- 2 small heirloom tomatoes, diced
- 1 tsp miso paste dissolved in 2 tbsp water
- Sliced scallions to garnish
- In a medium-sized pot with a lid, bring 3 cups of water and wheat berries to a boil over high heat. Then simmer for 15 minutes.
- Add lentils and cook for another 15-20 minutes. Taste and check that both the wheat berries and lentils are cooked but not too mushy. Drain and reserve. *You can make this up to a day ahead of time, store in a container in the fridge until ready to use.
- In a saute pan, heat up your oil, add onion and cook until golden brown, about 10-15 minutes.
- Add kale and saute until wilted.
- Add cooked lentils, diced tomatoes, and the miso + water mixture. Toss to combine.
- Garnish with sliced scallions before serving.
- Great tip: I often make a large batch of cooked wheat berries/ lentils and keep it in the fridge to mix with fresh raw veggies for a quick and filling salad.