What's Cooking? Lentils?

Lentil Curry Soup


What’s cooking in your kitchen today? Are you preparing a family favourite recipe that’s as predictable as a warm blanket? Or are you trying a new recipe with a hint of uncertainty? Both approaches are great.

I believe cooking is driven by both the need to eat, but also by how we feel on any particular day.

It’s like exercise…I often don’t feel like exercising, but it’s necessary. So, I’ll modify my exercise routine based on my energy level and mood that day.
It’s the same with cooking. Sometimes I’m annoyed with the thought of cooking for the family and feel as lazy as a sloth. Other times, I’m excited to try new recipes, and am thrilled to add some jazz into the cooking routine.

It doesn’t take much to shake things up in the kitchen. It can be as simple as preparing a new salad dressing, trying a new marinade on chicken, or maybe even making a chocolate dessert.

This February, I decided to add some buzz to my daily cooking by trying more vegan/vegetarian recipes. I started by purchasing a few new cookbooks…well, I didn’t have to, but it doesn't take much to find a reason to buy more cookbooks.

One of my favourite vegetarian staples is the humble lentil. I love cooking with lentils because they are fast, delicious and healthy. (Scroll down to read about the different varieties of lentils!) I found two recipes to make that are easy and tasty and I’d like to share them with you today.

The first is from a cookbook my vegan friend recommended, My New Roots by Sarah Bitton. Her recipe, ”Best Lentil Salad Ever” caught my attention because of the name. To my surprise, it did live up to its name. I’ve included it below – I hope she doesn’t mind me sharing it with a few of my friends!

The next one is a lentil cauliflower curry soup, which I adapted from Angela Liddon’s, Oh She Glows. I did tweak this recipe a tad by adding tomatoes, and changing some of the vegetables. I hope you like it, too.

Finally, I’ve included a recipe for chocolate cake because it’s February (the month of love!) so one must eat chocolate. The cake is dairy-free, but not the glaze, so if you are serving it to someone who doesn’t eat dairy, just skip the glaze. Either way, it’s light and airy and tasty.

All About Lentils

Red Lentils
Red lentils are the ones I like using the most because they cook in 20 minutes and there is no pre-soaking required. They are also good in soups because they break down a bit in the cooking process and help thicken the soup or stew.

Green and Brown Lentils
Green and brown lentils are a little bigger than red lentils and will hold their shape a little better than red ones, which makes them the better choice for lentil salads. The key to cooking green and brown lentils is not to overcook them so they will keep their shape and texture in the meal.

Du Puy Lentils
Du Puy lentils are crunchier and hold their shape. They are smaller than the green and brown lentils. Even though I really like them, I rarely use them because they are hard to find and often expensive.