My pantry is always stocked up with whole grains like rice, beans and lentils. They are such a staple food for me whatever I decide to make. What I love about whole grains is that not only they taste awesome but also contain important nutrients including vitamins, minerals, protein and fibre. They are complex carbs meaning they break down slowly, leave you feel full longer and provide sustained energy. If you are used to white rice and processed foods, it might take a bit of time for your digestive system to get used to. Try to introduce whole grains gradually into your diet for example mixing half of brown rice with half of white rice, replacing white pasta with whole grain pasta, spreading hummus in your sandwich instead of butter. Soaking and cooking grains helps too. I normally soak grains overnight, then rinse and cook until they are soft and tender. Soaking reduces cooking time, helps to optimise nutrition absorption and makes easy on the digestive system. Once cooked, I then add veggies, nuts, dried fruits or herbs and spices to make it more interesting.
I used Puy lentils to make this salad today. They are originally from Le Puy in central France and taste quite earthy and sweet. These little guys are a great vegetarian source of protein and rich in iron which most vegetarians are lack of. If you didn’t soak them in advance, you just need to add more water and cook a bit longer. I think it would be also nice to sprinkle some toasted nuts or crumbled goat cheese on top. Enjoy x
1 cup Puy lentils, soaked overnight
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
lemon juice from 1/2 lemon
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp honey or maple syrup
2 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
Rinse pre-soaked lentils and cover with cold water in a pot. Bring it up to a boil and simmer over medium heat for 15-20 minutes until cooked. Drain and set aside. Finely chop the green top of beet root and grate beetroot and carrot. Place them in a large mixing bowl along with cooked lentils. In a separate bowl, add all dressing ingredients and mix well. Pour the dressing into the salad and toss to combine. Taste and adjust seasoning. Transfer to a serving bowl/ plate.