Eating more plant-based meals can save money and help the earth at the same time. Here is a healthy lentil recipe which is both planet-friendly and delicious.
Savoury Lentils Recipe
Lentils: One Small Step Toward Sustainability
Lentils were definitely not on my food radar when I was growing up. My knowledge of legumes was pretty much limited to the baked navy beans with molasses that were a Maritime staple. It was not until my parents went away on their first extended holiday, leaving me in charge of the kitchen, that I borrowed from the library a book called The Garden of Eden Cookbook and took my first hesitant steps into the wonderful world of legumes and pulses.
Meatless Mondays (and Tuesdays, and…)
Thirty years later, lentils have vaulted from being just another mysterious item in a bin at Bulk Barn, to forming an integral part of my family’s diet, not only on Meatless Mondays, but throughout the week. Furthermore, they are earning recognition as part of a global movement towards sustainable agriculture and food production.
Dietary and Environmental Benefits of Lentils and Other Pulses
Lentils are pulses—the dried, edible seeds of certain plants of the legume family. Pulses have a lower carbon footprint than other crops because they fix nitrogen in the soil and therefore require less fertilizer (the manufacture of which produces greenhouse gas emissions). When planted in rotation with other crops, they also reduce the amount of chemical fertilizers those crops need, lowering their carbon footprint. Pulses also have the advantage of being high in protien and fibre and low in fat, making them a nutritious (and very versatile) part of a healthy diet.
Even the United Nations acknowledged the virtues of these humble seeds, declaring 2016 the International Year of Pulses in recognition of their role in the future of food security and environmental stewardship worldwide.
Plant-Based Diet: Small Steps in the Right Direction
Will eating lentils save the planet? No. But shifting toward a plant-based diet can be part of a much larger web of changes that promote both health and sustainability. Such small steps may not get us as far as we need to go, but neither will not taking them.
Did I mention that—in addition to all their other virtues—lentils and other pulses are economical, easy to cook, and delicious, especially with fluffy rice and warm pita bread?
What’s not to love?
2 cups green lentils, rinsed
1 onion, chopped
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp salt
1 28 oz. can diced tomatoes
1/4 cup olive oil (or less)
3 cloves garlic, crushed and minced
1 bay leaf
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp ground cumin
parsley or sliced hardboiled eggs for garnish
serve with steamed white or brown rice
- Bring the lentils, oil and chopped onion to a boil in 4 cups of water. Simmer, covered, for 45 minutes.
- Add the tomatoes with their juice, olive oil, garlic, bay leaf, salt, pepper, and cumin.
- Simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally so lentils do not stick to the bottom of the pot.
- Remove the bay leaf and serve lentils over rice.
(From: The Garden of Eden Cookbook, Devorah Emmet Wigoder, p. 96)
Author: Laura Alary Google