I admit that it has taken me a little time to embrace pulses. During my early years at university I was presented with a pile of grey goop at the student cafeteria. That meal simultaneously begun and ended my interest in lentils for a number of years. Now that I have left my university days well and truly behind me I am happy to say that I have discovered that lentils are not grey. They are pretty little pebbles of goodness, ranging in color from red to green, firm in texture, nutty in flavour and a very healthy addition to the family meal table. They taste glorious when cooked well. Pulses are now included in my pantry staples, a versatile ingredient that I keep on hand at all times.
This dish may be served warm or cold – take your pick. You will be adding it to your family dinner table often once you give it a try, I guarantee it. When you try this dish the delicate nutty flavor of the lentils emerges then melds with the creamy feta and avocado. The rich sweetness of paprika and oven roasted tomatoes then kicks in and lingers. Fresh and satisfying flavors that even my fussy little four year old ate wordlessly (minus the tomato!).
The lentils I used in this recipe do not require soaking prior to cooking, making them a great addition to weekday meals. The recipe may be made the day ahead if you wish, adding the avocado prior to serving to avoid browning. My Green Lentil Salad makes a satisfying meal on it’s own, or a great workday lunch option.
Please note: The quality of ingredients that you use when cooking with an absorption style is important. Use a home made, or good quality stock and great paprika. My personal preference is to use sweet paprika rather than smoked paprika. During the cooking process the flavors are absorbed over a period of time and will become pronounced in the resulting dish.
- 8-10 cherry tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon cooking oil of choice
- 1 brown onion - chopped
- 2 garlic cloves - chopped
- 1 and ½ tablespoons sweet paprika
- 1 and ½ cups Mount Zero French Style Fine Green Lentils
- 1 tablespoon Mount Zero Red Wine Vinegar (or alternate brand)
- 3 cups vegetable stock
- 1 small capsicum - diced
- zest of one lemon - finely chopped
- ½ avocado - diced
- 60 grams feta cheese -diced
- To Serve:
- Mount Zero Extra Virgin Olive Oil - drizzle
- fresh coriander leaves
- Set the oven to 160 degrees celcius
- Bake the cherry tomatoes in the oven with a drizzle of olive oil for 15 minutes
- While the tomatoes are cooking - add the cooking oil, onion and garlic to a warm pan and cook gently until the onion becomes translucent and softened
- Add the paprika and stir well
- Add the lentils and stir to coat then add the red wine vinegar
- Add the stock and bring to a simmer over medium heat
- Remove the tomatoes from the oven and set aside
- Simmer the lentils on a steady medium heat for 25-30 minutes. Stir occasionally. The lentils will be ready once the stock has been absorbed
- While the lentils are simmering, cook the diced capsicum in a small pan for a few minutes then set aside with the tomatoes
- When the lentils are almost cooked add the lemon zest and stir through
- Remove the lentils from the heat when cooked and add to a serving dish
- To serve top with the capsicum, tomato, feta, avocado and fresh coriander leaves
- Add a small drizzle of great quality extra virgin olive oil
The Grains and Legumes Nutrition Council is running a competition to find a dish that will be named Australia’s Signature Pulse dish. 2016 has been declared as International Year of the Pulses. The global pulse industry is working to assemble Signature Dishes from different countries around the world to showcase the versatility and flavour of pulses. I am entering this recipe into the competition in the hope that it may be selected as Australia’s signature recipe. You can read more about the competition here if you would like to.
DISCLOSURE : **I was gifted the Mount Zero products that I used to create this recipe. My experience of the products is described honestly. I really enjoyed the beautiful quality products and will continue to seek them out for future cooking projects in line with my preference to source and use local, high quality, sustainably farmed ingredients for our family meals.
This recipe was made using Mount Zero bio dynamic french style fine green lentils. These lentils are a variety originating from Puy in France. They grow well in the Wimmera area. Mount Zero practices self-sustaining farming methods, you can find out more about the farm here. These lentils won the Delicious Magazine Produce Awards 2013 “From the Earth” category. It is easy to understand why when you first look at them, and it is confirmed when you taste them.
Are you a lentil fan? What ingredients do you love to pair them with?
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