Lentils are brilliant little legumes. High in protein, folate and iron as well as having high levels of slowly digested starch (giving them a low glycemic index), these little powerhouses are not only nutritionally beneficial, but are really, really delicious too. Fortunately, we can show you a few simple steps to build your own vegan Mediterranean Lentil Bowl!
Lentils come in lots of different guises, from small and dark green varieties used throughout the Mediterranean through to big fat red & yellow types used more generally on the Indian subcontinent.
For this type of dish however, we're focusing on Mediterranean flavours. I like to use beluga or puy lentils as they have a gorgeous texture that keeps its bite yet is somehow creamy at the same time. They're pretty easy to cook, just simmer in some broth or water for 25-30 mins. Or you can get easy pre-made packs of lentils, or even use tinned.
I create this type of 'bowl' quite frequently, using varying ingredients depending on what's in season, the temperature and how hungry I am. It's quite a simple formula really.....Lentils, an allium like shallots or spring onions, tomatoes and/or peppers, Mediterranean herbs, a hit of chilli if you like and some greens.
It really depends on how busy I am as to whether I cook the lentils from scratch, or use a pre-cooked pack, so you do what suits you. If you're feeling thrifty, make a huge batch and stash in the freezer in single portions. That way you can get a portion out, thaw it & take it to work, along with some of the goodies we've suggested for an easy work-day lunch!
If you decide to cook them from scratch, simply simmer the lentils with a bay leaf & some vegetable stock powder until they are tender. Puy lentils will take around 25 mins as they are quite petite, other larger green lentils around 35 mins.
What do you like to put in your lentil bowl?? Let us know in the comments!
How to Build a Mediterranean Lentil Bowl
- 250 g Lentils:: either 2 cups cooked or 1 pack pre-cooked
- 2 cloves Garlic OR Shallots, Chives or Spring Onions to taste
- 10 Cherry Tomatoes or Peppers:: Either fresh or roasted.
- 2 Tbsp Herbs :: such as parsley , oregano, thyme, rosemary, basil. Use dried or fresh.
- Chilli:: either fresh or mild powdered
- 50 g rocket OR other greens such ask kale. asparagus, Spinach, Broccoli, Watercress
- 1 tsp Olive Oil
- Salt & Pepper
- Optional Extras: a dash of wine- white or red. A sprinkle of vegan cheeze.
- Slick a pan with oil & soften the Allium. Add the lentils and fresh chilli if using.
- Add a tiny bit of water, or wine if you are using.
- Cook gently until heated through & add dried herbs if using then add the tomatoes and/or peppers.
- If you are using Broccoli or Asparagus, steam it or stir fry it.
- Otherwise, mix through the spinach, rocket or watercress. If you're using fresh herbs, add them in here too.
- If you want to sprinkle some vegan cheeze over, do so now
- Serve with some crusty bread, or just on it's own.