During my recent trip to Asia I got the chance to gawk at all the street side food vendors and their spectacular variety of edible insects. My lovely English friend Suzie informed me that scorpion tastes just like scallops – but without the fishy taste. A Brazilian guy chimed in that he had read the UN has been encouraging people to switch to insects as their main protein source, to help fight world hunger.
“Lentils are a valuable source of protein in the plant world. They also offer zinc, iron and folate and are a great source of fibre.”
I would say most people (aside from my friend Suzie) would prefer not to delve into the insect-as-a-protein-source world. I’m no humanitarian expert but I’m sure if more people in the western world chose legumes over animal protein, we would be well on our way to solving world hunger.
This has got to be one of the most frequently consumed meals in our household. All you need is a knob of ginger, a few carrots and some lentils and you have yourself a meal! It’s a great way to start incorporating legumes into your diet. Don’t forget the lemon – vitamin C helps you to absorb the non-animal sourced iron more efficiently.
French Inspired Ginger Lentil Stew with Couscous
I love the combination of couscous, lentils and sharp cheese. This dish is an old favourite and brings inspiration from flavours found in France. It is surprisingly simple to prepare and packed full of nourishing ingredients, you can't go wrong!.
- 1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
- 1 onion diced
- 3 cloves of garlic minced
- 3 tbsp. ginger minced
- 4 carrots chopped
- 2 tsp. coriander powder
- 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
- 3 cups water
- 6 cups vegetable stock*
- 3 cups 500g brown (green) lentils**
- grated cheese
- chopped parsley
- fresh lemon juice
- 2 cups of couscous dry
Prepare couscous as per package directions. Set aside. Rinse lentils and set aside. This is important to make sure no tiny little pebbles appear in your stew.
Heat olive oil to medium heat in a large saucepan. Add onion, garlic, ginger and carrot and fry for 1 minute. Add coriander powder and cayenne if using and fry for 30 more seconds.
Add water and vegetable stock, increase the heat and bring to a boil. Add lentils and bring to a boil again. Turn down heat to medium and place the lid half on the saucepan. Let simmer for about 30 minutes or until the lentils are cooked through. Check and stir the pot a few times while it is cooking for even cooking.
To serve squeeze some lemon juice, sprinkle on some parsley and top with cheese. Don't forget the couscous.
*homemade stock is the best, second best option is any organic stock to ensure no nasties end up in your meal.
**the original recipe uses puy or French lentils. Brown lentils are easier to find and I think taste just as good.
Recipe adapted from: Joy The Baker