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3 Meal ideas  – cook with Lentils

3 Meal ideas – cook with Lentils

Every week I will be presenting three meal ideas to make your cooking life a bit easier. This post is all about lentils. why? Because they are verstaile and fantastic source of protein. Easy to cook, easy to spice up and easy to use accross different dishes. These are my favourite. You could freeze probalby Lentil Shepard’s pie. You can make soup for few days as well as koftas. You can serve all of them with fresh bread, salads and sauces.

I recommend to soak dry lentils overnight , as they will cook easier and that way you will get rid off phytic acid which keep them in good shape when they are dry but is not good for our digestion. 

protein

Other benefits: they are good source of protein, fibre and folic acid. They are an excellent source of cholesterol lowering fibre. They not only lower cholesterol but they are of special benefit in managing blood sugar disorders as they keep  sugars at bay after a meal. 

I also like them in stuffed pepers (you can use the same filling as for koftas) or try in salad with baked cubed sweet potatoes and mustard dressing . Try tossing them with buckwheat soba noodles with broccoli florets and leeks. Add some olive oil mixed with garlic and ginger. Delicious!!

Love M. – Plant-Based Chef and Coach

Lentils Shepard's Pie

Prep Time25 mins
Cook Time1 hr
Servings: 4 people
Cost: £1.5 pp

Ingredients

  • 1 cup green lentils (dry - soaked)
  • 200 g mushrooms, chopped
  • 2 carrots, finely chopped
  • 2 celery sticks, finely chopped
  • 2 medium to large sweet potatoes (or white)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1 tsp ground allspice
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 2 tsp tomato paste (optional)
  • olive oil
  • 2 tsp corn starch dissolved in 3 tsp of water
  • 300 ml water
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tbsp soya sauce (optional)

Instructions

  • Trun on the oven for 180 degrees
  • Cook lentils until soft and as per instructions
  • Peel and chop potatoes and cook in a pot
  • Cook chopped onion for 5 min in the pan with little bit of olive
  • Add chopped garlic and cook for 5 min
  • Add mushrooms and cook for 5 min
  • Add celery and carrots and fry for 5 min (they do nto have to be soft as they will cook in the oven)
  • Add all the spices and lentils, mix well
  • Add soya sauce, tomatoe paste (if using,) slat and pepper to taste
  • Add water - add a bit and check , you do not wnt that to be watery
  • Dissolve corn stach and slowly pour into the mix, cook for 5 min
  • Transfer to oven proof casserol dish,
  • Mash cooked sweet potatos and transfer them on top of the lentil mix; use fork to even it out and put in to the oven for 30 min
  • Enjoy wiht fresh green leaves salad and/or some fermented /sauerkraut

Notes

You can cook more lentils and use them for lentils koftas and lentil soup.

Tomato and Lentil soup

Delicious protein quick soup
Prep Time25 mins
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 116kcal
Cost: £1.5

Ingredients

  • 30 g olive oil (2 tbsp)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 200 g split red lentils (soak overnight if you can)
  • 2 dried bay leaves
  • 2-3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 400 g tinned chopped tomatoes
  • 800 ml vegetable stock
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  • Heat olive oil in the pan and add oninoc and cook for 5 min
  • Add chopped garlic cloves and cook for 5 min
  • Add lentils, bay leaves, thyme, tomatoes, stock, salt and pepper then cook 30 min. Remove bay leaves before serving.

Notes

1 portion has 116 kcal, 4.2g protein, 11.3g carbohydrates, 6g fat
This soup is lovely served with houmous and crusty bread.

Lentil Vegan koftas

Lovely recipe fo protein alternative . Makes 12 medium size koftas.
Prep Time25 mins
Cook Time15 mins

Ingredients

  • 1 cup uncooked green lentils or puy lentils
  • 400 g chickpeas, drained
  • 1 oninon or leek (just white part), chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 200 g mushrooms, chopped (optional)
  • 2 tbsp soya sauce or coconut aminos
  • 1 tsp ground allspice
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard or mustard powder
  • 1 tbsp nutritonal yeast (optional)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • semolina or breadcrumbs to roll koftas in
  • olive oil to fry

Instructions

  • Trun on the oven 180 degrees
  • Cook lentils as per instructions
  • Heat olive oil in the pan and add onion or leek (or both), fry for 5 min and add garlic fry for another 5 min
  • Add chopped mushroom and fry until no water in the pan is visible
  • Put everything form the pan into the bowl
  • Add cooked lentils, chickpeas and all spices, nutrional yeast, mustard, salt and pepper - taste to see if it is well seasoned
  • Mix with the spoon then mix a bit with the hand blender but leave some chunks.
  • Form koftas and roll in the semolina or breadcrumbs and place on the baking tray
  • Bake in the oven for 15 min
  • Serve with seasonal salad, mushroom sauce or tomato sauce

Notes

Koftas are great as a protein part on your plate. I eat them hot or cold serve with salad or without You can use the same mix and bake as a pate . Just mix well with hand held blender and put into the small loaf tin, sprinkle with some semolina or breadcrumbs and bake for 25 min - you can add some cooked beetroot as well. 
How to Improve Your Immune system in 7 Steps

How to Improve Your Immune system in 7 Steps

We are living in the unprecedented times, however we need to stay calm and collected to come out stronger on the other side

Looking after your  immune system is one of the things you can do right now which will give you true benefits. Obviously it is not guaranteed, but can increase your chances to have milder symptoms as your immune system fights back.

It is also the time to build mental resilience. If you like me are a small business owner , these are though times but they shall pass. Even big businesses suffer  in a bear market. There is a lot of fear in times of uncertainty  and this is normal.

However, we are thinking human beings means that we can make reasonable choices based not only on now but in the longer term.Your feelings will create the actions. It is time to grow and dig in deeper into your feelings and who you are and then take appropriate actions. Netflix is fine for a moment but I suggest catching up with books, educational programs or even sign up for coaching to help you out. There is plenty for free at the moment and I do offer free sessions as well and paid Programs. We need to help economy and spend some money on lower end offerings and not on stocks and stocks of loo rolls. Money has to move! Consider also food delivery and take away service  to support local restaurants.

Managing our feelings and emotions is important so that we calm down and make good decisions which will have long term impact. We can’t control the situation but take China, they had to have strict measures in February and now they do not have many new cases means that after 8 weeks of a massive outbreak and strict control measures they are going back to normal slowly.

The best thing you can do right now is to lower your stress levels and boosting your immune systems with these 7 steps: 

1 . Drink and keep hydrated with water and herbal teas; Echinacea, Elderberry are particularly beneficial, can be also taken in the form of tincture or syrup (Pukka brand)– try local health shops, or Helios Homeopathy.

I also use Doterra On Guard oils blend which I put few drops to warm water and make a tea with some honey/maple syrup; it is the strong blend but by far the most effective for us – we use it all the time in cold and flu season;

Try fermented drinks Kombucha and Water Kefir to boost your gut health as over 70% immunity is created in your gut.

2. Consider taking Supplements – Vitamin C high dose is recommended 500 mg daily (not yet proven in studies on humans). Vitamin D3 – Better you is a great brand and they do have sprays; you can also take Probiotics (BioKult or OpticBac are great brands) if you are not keen on fermented food– it is recommended to do a gentle cleanse before populating your gut with good bacteria. Add also Zinc supplement. Consult with you healthcare specialist if you have any pre-existing medical conditions.

3. Garlic – I would juice it with lemons, orange, turmeric and ginger and put into 40 ml shots and drink one daily during this season; you can also take garlic supplements but raw is the best;

Try this recipe : Few garlic cloves (you can use even 2 bulbs if you want to), 2 oranges (skin off), 4 lemons (skin off), 1 turmeric root or 1tsp powder, pinch of cayenne pepper and good amount of ginger (how much you can bear?); you can freeze in ice cube trays and drink 40 ml each day. If you do not have  a juicer, blend in nutribullet in batches with some filtered water and sieve thru e.g. thru nut milk bag or sieve. It is better to have some of this goodness than none if you do not have a juicer.

4. Eat nutritious food such as papaya, broccoli and spinach; I add spinach to morning smoothies and make raw broccoli salad. Add some fermented food – try my recipe for Kimchi here.

5. Cook delicious food and make soups in particular – vegetable  broths/stocks – check my gut healing broth on my website, make sure you add shitake mushrooms as they seem to be beneficial for the immune system as well!

gut healing broth

6. Sleep well – don’t bombard yourself with news; there is plenty around so spend some time in the morning for meditation and good thoughts and gratitude! Have a good night routine! Sleep gives you the rest you need, improves your immunity, allows proper detoxification and improves your cognitive function. Well rested mind and body will make good decisions also about food as stress may cause cravings and binging on unhealthy food.

7. Exercise – it is not time for stopping exercise. Exercise, walks  boost your immunity and helps your body moving; try home workouts – plenty on You Tube – my favourite yoga with Adrienne, however do support people who run their classes online (eg. on Facebook) as they can’t get to the gyms and classes; if you have kids at home engage them as well. If we stay at home and do not move, eating all pastas and baked potatoes, we will put on weight. Do not stop your healthy habits, in contrary try to build them as you may have a little bit more time than ever.

Follow only official advice on COVID-19 from Public Health England and WHO to ensure legitimate information and instructions. Join my Facebook page WellbeingSeekers for live cooking demos and natural curated health advice.

Stay Healthy and Calm

Monika

How to Help Your Gut in These 5 Steps

How to Help Your Gut in These 5 Steps

I love Spring and it is by far my favourite season. It brings mixed weather, longer and warmer and sunnier days.

It is the season for some great vegetables.  Some are grown in UK and most of them are perfect for our gut. I can’t wait to explore local farmers markets to pick some fresh goodies.

I love March because my  beloved wild garlic grows and it  can be found in woodlands. I love making pesto with it with a handful of roasted almonds, 1 tbs of nutritional yeast and some salt. I added it to asparagus or eat with seeded crackers. You can use leaves and flowers for flavouring sauces. I make a bit more pesto and I freeze it for later in the year.

wild garlic

Another great vegetable is chicory. It has a slightly bitter taste so perfect for your gut. Bitter food helps healthy gut and digestion. It helps secretion of digestive enzymes which helps the absorption of the nutrients from food. Try chicory sun salad: separate leaves wash them and put on the plate in the form of sun as the picture. Cut up some cucumber, tomatoes and courgettes in cubes sprinkle over the chicory leaves.  You can serve with garlic pesto or simple vinegrette made with olive oil, wholegrain mustard, 1 tbsp of apple cider vinegar and some fresh herbs like parsley and basil.

chicory

My five  steps to Heal Your Gut:

When I do a cleanse Program I like to spread it over three weeks as it gives me more time to mentally and physically prepare for

  1. Week 1 –  prepare- plan, recipes, shopping and slow withdrawal of dairy, gluten, alcohol, caffeine, sugar, soya products

2. Week 2  – Start with the cleanse – in order to populate your gut with beneficial bacteria it is good to flush some toxins out first. You can use the bentonite clay cleanse – mix one rounded teaspoon of bentonite clay powder in a large glass of plain water (at least 230ml) and using plastic spoon or wooden mix it (do not use metal as bentonite is magnetic). Leave it for 30 min, before drinking stir again. Drink additional glass of water immediately afterwords and drink plenty of water through the day. You can also try herbal cleanse with marshmallow root (check with your doctor if you have any pre-existing conditions or are on medication before starting any cleanse)

3. Week 2 – Withdraw main food/drink groups which may cause allergies and inflammation: gluten, dairy, sugar, caffeine, soya products, alcohol; this can be temporary , however once you withdraw those groups you want to notice how you feel without them. You can slowly reintroduce some of them in week 2 or 3.

4. Week 2 – Introduce green leafy vegetables to ensure plenty of prebiotics.  Prebiotics are specific types of fiber that provide energy for the beneficial bacteria in your gut. Take one green veg you do not know and prepare feel meals of healthy snacks – I love kale crisps! Wash few handfuls of kale, spread on the roasting pan, sprinkle with some salt and oil and nutritional yeast if you have it. Roast at 180 degree for 10 mins – you want them crips but not very brown. You can also try my gut healing broth – recipe here

5. Week 3 – Slow reintroduction of the food groups. Start with gluten for two days and notice how you feel; go back to cleanse eating and reintroduce another group in two days. Continue with reintroduction for how long you want and notice which food groups impact your digestion.

I have specifically designed 21 days Cleanse Program and next one starts on 16 March for three weeks with Facebook group support.

You can also download my Detox guide here

detox

You can subscribe here, it costs £67 for three weeks (normal price £127).

gut health

I will send you more information and payment details.

Beetroot is also a fantatstic food great for liver and digestion, try this beetroot soup:

Moroccan Beetroot Soup with Mint Yogurt

Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time45 mins
Author: Rachel de Thample

Ingredients

Mint Yogurt

  • 300 g coconut yogurt
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 4 springs fresh mint leaves finely chopped

Soup

  • 1 kg beetroot peeled and cut into 3-4 cm dice (use gloves)
  • 2 onions sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves peeled
  • 30 g olive oil
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds toasted
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1-1 1/2 l vegetable stock
  • 2 springs fresh mint leaves finely chopped
  • 1 orange or lime juice and zest
  • sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Instructions

  • 1. For the soup, heat the oven to 200C/180c fan/Gas 6.
    2. Combine the beetroot, onion and garlic into a bowl along with the salt and the olive oil. Roast for 35 mins or until fully tender.
    3. Once the vegetables are cooked, fold the spices through.
    4. Add the roasted vegetables to the blender and along with the zest and juice, herbs and warm stock, along with seasoning. Blend until smooth. Serve with the mint yogurt