Monday, June 29, 2015

Surprising Features and Recipes for Organic Red Lentils

Surprising Features and Recipes for Organic Red Lentils

Organic Red Lentils (ORL) are orange, not red.

This is a photo of dried organic red lentils (ORL) in a strainer, ready to be picked over and rinsed. This is an important step in making any kind of lentil recipe.

ORL are a bit sweeter and nuttier than other lentils.

ORL readily absorb a variety of flavors from other foods and seasonings. Adding veggies, spices, and herbs make lentils abound with flavor.

ORL are a good source of gluten free plant-based fiber.

ORL are naturally fat and cholesterol free

ORL are a good source of protein and fit in with a vegetarian, vegan, and conventional eating plans

ORL can be sprouted easily and added to salads.  The link below is for sprouting green lentils, but the method can be used with whole red lentils as well. With red lentils, rinse at least twice a day. Red lentils take only a day or 2 to sprout (depending on how fresh they are). Here's Cassie to show you how. How to Sprout Lentils/.

When cooked in a recipe, ORL are ready to eat in about 20-30 minutes. The cooking time varies, depending on whether you use whole or spit ones. Cooking times are influenced by the cooking method (boiled, baked, slow cooker, or pressure cooker), amount being prepared, and kinds of ingredients in the dish you are preparing (ex. tomatoes and tomato sauce increases the amount of time needed to thoroughly cook lentils). When you want a shortcut, use canned lentils, but remember this type of lentil is fully cooked.

ORL are relatively inexpensive (prices usually range from $2.99-3.99 per pound). Cooking (boiling) lentils expands their volume. Lentils supply many important nutrients and using them in recipes is a frugal way to eat smart.

ORL can be a comfort food. It is for me. Their slightly sweet taste and ability to fill you up, without fat, is certainly a healthy way to satisfy even the heartiest of appetites.

ORL are versatile. You can cook them, as part of a pilaf using fragrant Basmati rice or enjoy lentils as a flavorful pureed side dish called Dahl, as they do in India. Lentils have an earthy flavor that enhances soups, stews, chili dishes, and lentil loaf or patties.

ORL can be an important part of meal planning throughout the year.

One portion of ORL (1 cup of cooked lentils) contains 90% of the Daily Value (DV) for folate, a natural food source of this B vitamin that helps cell growth and metabolism. Red lentils also contain 63% of the DV for fiber, and 36% of DV for protein. To understand Percent Daily Value see this. Info from Mayo Clinic about Percent Daily Value

Now to the delicious part of this blog post...

I couldn't find a Red Lentil Soup recipe that worked for me online, so here’s my original recipe that I adore. I make it at least once a month for my family and friends. I freeze any leftover soup in individual containers and heat and serve, when I'm rushed for time or don't have the ingredients on hand to start from scratch.

Nancy A's Hearty Red Lentil Soup Recipe


1 pound whole organic red lentils(clean them well)
6 cups fresh water or half organic low sodium vegetable broth and half water
1 large yellow organic onion chopped fine
4 organic carrots chopped
4 stalks organic celery chopped (use the leaves too)
1 organic turnip chopped
1/2 cup cooked organic rolled oats (or cooked brown rice, if you need to eat gluten free)
1 lg. bay leaf
1 Tablespoon Bragg Liquid Aminos
3 cloves organic garlic
1 pinch of non-salt seasoning and freshly ground black pepper to taste
a sprig of fresh parsley, a spring of fresh basil 

Optional Ingredients: any cooked vegetables or cooked beans you enjoy. For instance, you can add zucchini, spinach, kale, butternut squash, string beans, pinto beans, or parsnip. When I made this recipe the last time, I included the contents of a can of organic pumpkin. Then, I needed to add an extra cup of water, because the pumpkin made the soup too thick to stir. When adding extra veggies, remember to add extra spices and a little water. Dried herbs go into the pot right away. Fresh herbs go in at the end of the cooking process.

What to do:

1. Pick over and rinse dried lentils. Pour water and/or water and broth into a dutch oven or other large pot that has a cover. Add lentils into the pot and place on the stove. Set control to boiling temp. 
2. While contents heats, clean and chop all veggies, garlic, onion, and fresh herbs. If you have a food processor, chop all veggies well. If you don't have a processor, do the chopping by hand.
3. Add onion, carrots, celery, turnip, bay leaf, Bragg Liquid Aminos, chopped garlic, and a pinch of salt-free seasoning blend to pot. Let ingredients come to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer and cover. Cook for at least 20 minutes, stirring every few minutes. This kind of soup has a tendency to stick to the bottom of the pot so take care (Notice: I used no oil). Cook until lentils and veggies are tender, and begin to get mushy. 
4. Add chopped parsley, basil, and any cooked veggies you have decided to add. Also add the oats or rice, and heat thoroughly for approximately 10 minutes. Ta Dah! You're good to go. Season with more salt-free seasoning and pepper at the table. Soup stores well, in the fridge (for about 4 days) or freezer (for a few months). It's an easy, delicious, and nutritious way to eat more veggies and legumes. Make it often and enjoy!

While you're at it, check out additional recipes below that feature red lentils. They sound fabulous to me. During the next few months, I'm going to try each and every one.

Here's a flavorful recipe from Susan Voisin Berbere Spiced Red-Lentil Hummus

Want to make a Fat Free Vegan Curry? Recipe is from Veronica Grace Red Lentil Tarka Dal Curry/

Chef AJ from the Forks Over Knives Website shares Red Lentil Chili Recipe

How simple and flavorful can lentil dishes be? Let me know which red lentil recipes appeal to you. Would you like to share one of your favorite red lentil recipes with us here? I sure would like to learn new ideas from you.

Thanks for visiting today. If you can, post a link to this blog on social media and like and pin it. Why not become a follower? If you do, you'll be notified the moment I post again. I'd love to get your feedback. Send comments and questions to me by clicking on the white envelope. My email is Let's get social.

I'm a Health and Lifestyle Writer, Author, and Tucson Wellness Blogger. For a peek at the 12 week interactive self-care journal program, Colors of Joy: A Woman’s Guide for Self-Discovery Balance and Bliss check Colors of Joy on Amazon Books.  Colors of Joy provides unique activities that help women get in touch with their feelings, thoughts, and aspirations and experience more joy in daily living. See
Colors of Joy Now

I found the quote for today at

When baking, follow directions. When cooking, go by your own taste. ~Laiko Bahrs

This post is featured at the Plant-Based Potluck Party Link Up #69

Share Vegan Food & Fun at the Plant Based Potluck Party Link Up #69

This post appears at Pin Worthy Wednesday #58

This post appears at Share Vegan Food & Fun at the Plant Based Potluck Party Link Up #68

This post appears at MY LEGUME LOVE AFFAIR(MLLA) # 89. Get there from this link at Lisa's Kitchen. See the posts of the originator of MLLA too. Her name is Susan L. Wolfe and here's her link The Well Seasoned Cook


This post appears at the Plant Based Potluck Party Link Up 55

This post appears at the The Plant Based Potluck Party Link Up 52

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This post appears at the Mommy Meetup Mondays Week #29

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Vividly Colored Plant-Based Dish Has Eye and Taste Appeal

Vividly Colored Plant-Based Dish Has Eye 


Taste Appeal

Bring the vibrant colors of the fields and farmer’s markets to your table. Learn how easy it is to create a main course dish that looks and tastes great, smells delicious, and is healthful too. 

Before I share my recipe, I'd like to introduce the colorful components of this dish to you.

AsparagusFresh Green

Asparagus is a sweet tasting vegetable, and one of the first to be harvested in the spring. Lucky for us; it's available in markets during most of the rest of the year too. The tender stalks are rich in vitamins K, C, and A as well as folate, which is a B vitamin. These vitamins are good for blood, eyes, and the immune system to help you ward off illness and stress. Asparagus contains the amino acid asparagine, one that cleans out toxins from your body. That is the reason, after you eat them and urinate, you may notice that your urine may smell strange. Asparagus info

Red Bell PepperBright Red

Red bell pepper is a fruit not a vegetable. It's a good source of fiber, folate, vitamin K, and the minerals molybdenum and manganese. Red peppers are mature green peppers and have more carotenoids and vitamin C than the green variety. See more about red pepper benefits from Annie Stuart at WebMD. Red Pepper Benefits

Carrots-Vibrant Orange

Almost everyone knows that carrots are rich in beta carotene, an organic compound that is good for your vision, immune system, and general well-being. Perhaps you don’t realize carrots are the root portion of the carrot plant. When the taproot reaches about 1 inch in diameter, it is harvested. This is the time when the root is most juicy and tender.  Carrot Facts

Quinoa-Ivory, Brown, Red, and Tricolor

Quinoa is high in protein and comes from the seed of a plant. It isn’t a grain or cereal grass, but is a member of the same food family as spinach, Swiss chard, and beets. Many researchers refer to quinoa as a "pseudo cereal." This term is typically used to describe foods that are not grasses, but can still be easily ground into flour. In any case, this product is a powerful plant-based building block for health and comes in several hues. Pick the color that calls to you. They're all nutritious. Here's more information for you. Quinoa info from USDA

Here’s my recipe. It takes only 15-20 minutes to prepare.

Steamed Asparagus, Red Pepper, and Carrots with Quinoa

Note: Make an effort to buy and serve organic produce, as conventionally grown fruits and veggies often are heavily sprayed with harmful pesticides and may be genetically modified. Organic, non-GMO products are better for you and the health of our planet. 

1 Cup organic quinoa of any color
2 Cups Water (for quinoa)
Optional- 2 teaspoons Bragg Liquid Aminos or 2 teaspoons of Coconut Aminos
1 lb. slender asparagus stalks. They require no peeling and taste sweeter than the chunkier kind.
2 Cups carrots scrubbed and sliced into 1 in. x 1 in. strips
1 Cup red bell pepper, cut into 1 in. x 1 in. strips
¼ teaspoon salt (leave this out if you use Bragg Liquid Aminos)
1 Tablespoon fresh chopped dill and 1 Tablespoon fresh chopped parsley
2 Cups water (for steaming asparagus, red pepper, and carrots)
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 Tablespoon of freshly squeezed lemon juice

Part 1

Wash asparagus, red pepper, dill, and parsley. Cut off dry or tough ends of the asparagus and cut asparagus into 1 in. pieces. Core and slice the pepper into 1 in. strips. Scrub the carrots (leave the skin on) and slice into 1 in. strips.

Pour 2 cups water in the bottom of a 3-4 qt. saucepan and insert a steamer basket above. The amount of water you need depends on what size pot you have on hand. Add enough water to allow it to boil, but not rise above the steamer basket. The idea of steaming veggies is to cook them, but not let the produce soak in water and boil away nutrients. Place asparagus, red pepper, and carrots into the steamer and cover. Steam (simmer) for 5-8 minutes or until produce is tender, yet still brightly colored.

 Part 2

Rinse quinoa well and cook according to package directions. An option is to add 2 teaspoons of one of the following to water for an extra dimension of flavor: Bragg Liquid Aminos, Coconut Aminos, low sodium soy sauce, or vegetable broth. You'll know the quinoa is cooked, when all the water is absorbed. It takes about 15-20 minutes for it to expand and look like each circle has a circle within a circle.

Fully cooked quinoa

Fluff the cooked quinoa lightly with a large serving fork or spoon and transfer to a serving dish. Top with freshly steamed produce. Drizzle olive oil on top. Sprinkle on the chopped dill and parsley, add salt, freshly ground black pepper, and a splash of lemon juice. That's when you'll know you’re good to go.

This simple yet flavorful dish is fabulous when served hot, accompanied by a tossed salad to feed four. It tastes great, served chilled, on a bed of romaine as an entree salad. Get creative. Add additional veggies like kale, squash, and red cabbage, and steam them as well. If you prefer, garnish with raw veggies like celery, cucumbers, turnips, or jicama for added crunch. Your family and guests are bound to cheer, when you serve this whole food plant-based dish at brunch, lunch, or dinner. It's also a colorful way to pack nutrition and taste into a Meatless Monday meal.

I'd love to get feedback. Send comments and question to me by clicking on the white envelope. If you become a follower, you'll get automatic updates whenever I post. My email is If you can, talk up this blog on the social media outlets you use. 

Nancy Andres, Health and Lifestyle Writer, Author, Blogger lives in Tucson, where she appreciates the high desert colors of a city surrounded by mountains. For a peek at the 12 week interactive self-care journal program, Colors of Joy: A Woman’s Guide for Self-Discovery Balance and Bliss check Colors of Joy on Amazon Books.  Colors of Joy provides unique activities that help women get in touch with their feelings, thoughts, and aspirations and experience more joy in daily living. See Colors of Joy on Nancy's Website.

The quote for today is from Cesar Chavez

"If you really want to make a friend, go to someone's house and eat with him... the people who give you their food give you their heart."


This post has been shared at Plant Based Potluck Party Link Up 48

This post has been shared at the Healthy, Happy, Green & Natural Party Blog Hop #70

Thanks for Visiting

Hope you enjoyed your visit and will return again. Be well. Live well. Lead a colorful life! Warm regards, Nan