Why Meatless Mondays?…
Lots of reasons but healthwise I know we should eat more plant-based meals not only for our health but for the environment…But there is so much information out there that to read, test and digest it takes a while …I have decided to do it in stages as to me it should be a permanent commitment and I wish to find some tasty dishes which are equal in taste to what I normally cook for my family.
Introducing more plant-based meals into your diet can help you maintain a healthy weight if you have some weight to lose then adding more plant-based meals has the benefit of removing foods from your diet which cause weight gain.
Plants are high in fibre…this means by introducing more plant-based recipes to your diet that the health of your gut improves so you are better able to absorb the nutrients from your food… you will be eating foods that support your immune system and reduce inflammation.
Fibre can lower cholesterol and stabilize blood sugar and it’s great for good bowel management…
For the next few weeks, I will be cooking with lentils…I will admit I don’t use lentils as much as I should…Why? I don’t have a pressure cooker I cook the traditional way and not always successfully…This time I am making a determined effort to use the correct lentils for the recipes
Lentils…like beans, lentils come in all colours red, green, brown, orange they are very versatile and are a little nutrient powerhouse…
Green, brown lentils or puy lentils cook quickly and evenly without becoming mushy and are one of the most versatile …I find the red, yellow and orange lentils are great but since they tend to get mushy when cooked they are best added to soups and sauces than cooked on their own.
How to how to use them… in a healthy soup, in Indian dal, or to add extra texture to a pumpkin stew or rice dish. They are lovely in a cheesy bean and lentil bake and very popular in Indian cuisine,… love a lentil curry…lentils are cheap, healthy and tasty…
This week my Meatless Monday’s recipe is a Spiced Split Pea Soup with Crispy Shallots…
- 1 cups dried split peas soaked for 2 hours (or more) and drained
- 5 cups of vegetable stock
- 1 onion chopped
- 1 carrot chopped
- piece fresh ginger
- piece fresh turmeric
- 2 /3medium-sized garlic cloves, peeled
- ½ tsp salt adjust according to your taste
- ½ tsp cayenne pepper powder
- 2 tsp cumin powder
- 2 tsp paprika powder
- 1 pinch hot pepper powder (optional)
- 3 tbsp olive oil /ghee which is what I used.
- For the crispy shallots:
- 1 large shallot, sliced thinly
- 3 tbsp of chickpea flour
- salt + pepper
- 3 tbsp of grapeseed (or another high-heat oil)
Soak lentils by covering with water for at least 2 hours.
Melt ghee or heat oil in a pan add spices and stir add onions stir and then add garlic, ginger and turmeric cook for a few mins until the onions soften add carrots and lentils and vegetable stock.
Add the vegetable stock and simmer until tender (it should take approximately 8 minutes in a pressure cooker, 60 minutes in a saucepan and 8 hours in a slow cooker)
While the soup is cooking, make the shallots:
On a plate, mix the flour with the salt and pepper. Then, add the shallots to the flour mixture and toss to coat the shallots with the flour.
Line a small plate with a paper towel and have it nearby. Then, in a small frying pan, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Test to make sure the oil is hot enough by adding a shallot and seeing if it sizzles. When the oil is ready, add all of the shallots. Cook for about 3-4 minutes, while shaking the pan to cook evenly (but do not disturb the shallots too much). Do this until they start to become brown (not too dark, because you don’t want them to burn – this can happen quickly). Remove and set them on the plate with the paper towel.
Finish and assemble the soup:
If you like, you can puree the soup. I like to puree about half by spooning half into my blender so that it leaves a little bit of texture, but you can either puree it all or none … however you like your soup texture to be.
Pour the soup into individual bowls, top with a few crispy shallots.
Verdict: It was ok...we tried it with and without the onions I think it needed the onions but next time I will add a couple of tomatoes and I won’t blitz quite so much I think I got carried away…will make again with a few tweaks…
I also think we need to adjust to lentils as they are not something we eat lots of…it is all a learning curve as I am sure not just for our health but for the planet that we need to cut down on our meat…not cut it out as we need a balanced diet but personally I think for me I would prefer healthy salads, stuffed peppers and vegetable stir-fries…This salad is one of my favourites…
Here is a recipe for one of my favourite salads…Thais certainly know how to make delicious healthy salads will ingredients I never would have thought of using…
Pomelo Salad or as it is known here Yum Som O is a wonderful light refreshing salad made with Thai Grapefruit( Pink Grapefruit) can be substituted and there is very little difference in flavour.
- 2 Pink Grapefruit or 1 Pomelo.
- 12-16 peeled shrimps.
- Sm.cucumber diced.
- 1/4 cup finely sliced shallots.
- 1/4 cup fresh Thai Basil or Mint.
- 1/4 cup Fresh coriander.
- 1/4 cup unsalted peanuts/cashews.
- 2 tbsp shredded coconut.
- 1 Red Chilli finely sliced.
- Half to 1 lime.
- 3 tbsp Fish Sauce.
- 1-2 tbsp palm sugar.
- 1 -2 red chillies finely sliced.
- Kaffir Lime leaf very finely sliced for garnish.
Set a pot of water to boil on the stove. Add shrimp and boil for just a few minutes, until the shrimp turn pink and are plump and firm to the touch. Drain and set aside to cool.
Place shredded coconut in a dry frying pan or wok over medium-high heat and stir until coconut turns light golden brown and fragrant. Tip coconut into a small bowl to cool and set aside. Repeat with shallots frying in a little oil until golden and crispy tip into a small bowl and set aside to cool.
Prepare your grapefruit or pomelo, removing as much of the white peel as possible from the fruit. Break into bite-size pieces – 3 to 4 cups is a good amount. Set prepared fruit in a salad bowl.
Add to the bowl: cucumber, basil/mint, coriander, and fresh chilli.
Combine all dressing ingredients together in a cup, stirring well to dissolve the sugar.
To put the salad together: Add shrimp to the salad bowl, then pour over the dressing. Toss well to combine. Add most of the toasted coconut, shallots and nuts, reserving a little for garnishing, then toss again. Taste-test the salad for a balance of sweet/sour/spicy/salty. Adjust to your liking, adding more sugar if too sour. For more depth of flavour, add a little Fish Sauce. Your salad is now ready to serve. Top with reserved coconut, nuts and shredded lime leaf, and
Tip: Like most Thai salad dressings, this is an oil-free dressing, so it doesn’t appear to ‘cling’ as well as oil-based dressings, naturally collecting at the bottom of your salad bowl. This isn’t a problem – just be sure to toss a little more than you would for a regular salad in order to saturate ingredients with the dressing.
This salad is better served and eaten immediately, the fresher the better. If preparing for a party, keep the dressing apart from the salad until you’re ready to eat, then toss them together just before serving.
I do hope you enjoy as this is one of my favourite salads, I do shred my Pomelo much finer though rather than having too chunky. But as with anything, it is a personal preference.
Healthy eating and introducing more meat-free plant-based meals are a commitment…a commitment we make to ourselves to enjoy our food and eat as healthy as we can ….MOST of the time…
That’s all for today on my journey into eating more plant-based meals on a Meatless Monday……Thank you again to everyone who is suggesting recipes I will try them all…xx
Thank you for reading this post If you have enjoyed this post please leave a comment as any tips or comments I love as you all know I just love to chat…Love Carol xx