Hearty Lentil Bowl with Balsamic-Roasted Pumpkin and Kale

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Earthy, flavorful, healthy, seasonal. This dish has got it all.

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It makes for the ultimate comfort food dinner and leftovers work beautifully for lunch the next day!

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You could, in a pinch, substitute sweet potatoes or butternut squash for the pumpkin, but pumpkin is really special here.

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Aren’t pumpkins just lovely? I love pumpkin pie as much as the next guy, but I don’t think pumpkins get enough attention in savory dishes, for sure.

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Serves 5-6

  • 4 cups chopped pumpkin (1 small pumpkin)
  • 1 red onion, chopped coarsely or in thick rings
  • 4 plump cloves garlic, chopped coarsely
  • 1-2 tbs olive oil (+a little extra for drizzling)
  • 1 tbs balsamic vinegar
  •  1 1/2 cups green, brown, or French lentils, rinsed
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 medium head curly or dino kale, washed and chopped (or spinach, collards, or chard)
  • lemon juice or more balsamic vinegar for drizzling
  • Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper
  • optional add-ins: sun-dried tomatoes, fresh basil, roasted parsnips, etc

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400 F.

On a baking sheet, spread the chopped pumpkin, chopped onion (reserving a couple tablespoons), and garlic. Drizzle the olive oil and balsamic vinegar over the pumpkin mixture, tossing to coat.  Sprinkle about 1/4 tsp salt over it. Bake until tender, about 25-30 min.

Meanwhile, prepare the lentils: combine the lentils, water, and bay leaf in a saucepan, bring to a boil, and then let simmer uncovered for 20 minutes.

Also, steam the kale or other greens until bright green and soft.

When everything is done, assemble using lentils as the base and adding the greens and pumpkin on top. Add the remaining red onion (finely chopped), drizzle with olive oil and lemon juice/balsamic vinegar, and add salt and pepper to taste.

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Perfect Lunches for a Week: Butternut Squash, Chickpea, and Kale Salad

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Good morning! I’m back from my recent travels and am excited to share a handful of recipes with you. Thanks, by the way, to those of you that gave me great tips for dining veg in Europe!

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I’m particularly excited about this recipe. I call it perfect because, in addition to being oh so tasty, it’s a super easy and cheap way to have a sack lunch during the week. It works great to cook up a big batch of the ingredients on Sundays, and then quickly assemble the salads into tupperwares (maybe wait til the morning of to dress them) for weekday lunches.

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For an example, on Sunday:

Cook a batch of chickpeas. Soak them overnight or do a quick soak (bring dry beans to a boil, boil for 2 minutes, then turn off the heat and let sit for 45 min), then bring to a boil in a large pot. (I use 2 parts water per 1 part chickpeas. Remember that 1 cup dried chickpeas yields about 2 1/2 cups cooked) Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for about 1 hour.

– Meanwhile, roast a butternut squash. Cut in half lengthwise, scoop out the seeds, and pierce the flesh with a knife. Place in a baking dish in 1/2 inch water (to prevent the skin from burning), drizzle with olive oil, and bake at 400 F until tender and golden (~45 min in my oven).

– Meanwhile, cook the quinoa. Add 1 part quinoa per 2 parts water to a saucepan, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes, until liquid has been absorbed. Note that 1 cup dry quinoa yields about 2-3 cups cooked.

– Meanwhile, clean and chop the kale, onion, almonds, and any other veggies you want to toss in.

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Now you have lunches for the whole week! I also love that this dish features simple ingredients that cost pennies per serving. (Well, quinoa can be kinda pricey, but feel free to sub in another grain of your choice if quinoa is pushing the budget…) Those simple ingredients, however, are anything but plain here. I’ve been enjoying this hearty and fancy lunch all week!

Note: the amounts given below are for just an individual salad (or 2). I definitely recommend making large batches of all ingredients in the beginning of the week.

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Ingredients

For 2 servings (or a very hungry 1)

  • 3-4 cups kale, chopped
  • 2/3 cup cooked chickpeas (see directions above)
  • 1/2 cup cooked quinoa (I used red quinoa) (see directions above)
  • 1 cup butternut squash, cooked and chopped into bite-size pieces (see directions above)
  • 1 tbs chopped red onion
  • 2 tbs dried cranberries
  • 1 tbs balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbs extra virgin olive oil
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • optional add-ins: chopped toasted almonds (1/4 cup), caramelized fennel (about 1/2 bulb), dried apricots instead of cranberries, orange zest (about 1 tsp), pinch of cumin, pinch of cinnamon

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Directions

Add all ingredients except salt, pepper, vinegar and oil into a mixing bowl or a tupperware container (if taking it to go). In a small bowl, whisk the vinegar and oil. Drizzle over the salad. Add salt and pepper to taste. Enjoy!

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I’ve been working on cheap, convenient, healthy lunch ideas for a while. Do any of you have great go-to sack lunch ideas? I find legume-centric ones work great. I hope you enjoy this as much as we have!

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White Bean, Chard, and Cherry Tomato Stew

Here is a quick ‘n’ easy soup recipe that’s hearty, filling, healthy…oh, and crazy delicious. I stumbled upon this killer flavor combination by accident and am so pleased with how it turned out!

And, I’m trying to be more regular with my posts. Thanks for bearing with me 🙂

Ingredients

Makes 3-4 servings

Time: about 20-30 minutes

  • 2 15-oz cans white beans (or about 4 cups cooked)
  • 2 cups vegetable stock
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tbs oil
  • 6 cups chopped Swiss chard, kale, or other greens
  • 1 medium white onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes
  • 2 tbs fresh oregano (could substitute 1-2 tsp dried oregano, or other fresh herb)
  • lemon pepper to taste

Directions

In a large pot, heat the oil and saute the onions until soft and transparent. Add the greens, stock, lemon juice, water, garlic, and oregano. Cook until the greens are soft. Add half of the beans to a food processor or blender, and add the kale from the pot and 1 cup of the liquid. Puree until smooth. Transfer the pureed bean mixture to the pot, add the tomatoes. Cook over medium-high heat until the soup is warm and the tomatoes are “popped.” Add lemon pepper to tatse, adjust seasonings, and serve with whole grain bread and a fresh green salad.

This is also fantastic spread over toast the next day!