Red Lentil Quinoa with Greens and Seeds

IMG_2376I’m back!!!  Yes, after a LONG hiatus of posting recipes to my blog …. I’m finally back and here to stay!  So, first and foremost – an apology for the long hiatus but it was with I hope a good excuse!  In the summer, I received a publishing deal to write The Flexi Foodie Cookbook!!!!  YAY!  It is a dream come true and I am over the moon to share this book with you.  So my entire summer was pretty much spend writing recipes and of course the entire book.  The photos for the book have turned better than I could have ever imagined – they are beautiful thanks to my amazing photographer and food/prop stylist.  Stay tuned…. the book hits the bookshelves 12th March 2015.   I will keep you all posted but wanted to quickly say thank you to all of YOU who’ve been reading my blog for the past 2 years.   This dream couldn’t have happened without all of you, so THANK YOU!

And with that said… here is the latest and greatest post.  A nutritionally packed meal with everything from whole grains to green leafy veg to pomegranate seeds!  Here we go….

 

Serves 4

250g quinoa

100g red lentils

800 ml water

1 pomegranate, de-seeded

large handful of collard greens

1 small onion, chopped

1 garlic clove, crushed

1 Tbsp. coconut oil

1 tsp. cumin

1 tsp. paprika

1 tsp. black mustard seeds

For the dressing: 

1 Tbsp. tahini

1 Tbsp. tamari

2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar

1 Tbsp. honey

In a large pot over medium heat, melt the coconut oil and add the mustard seeds, chopped onion and garlic and fry for about 5 minutes until the onion is translucent and the mustard seeds begin to pop.  Add the quinoa, red lentils and water, bring to the boil and then reduce to simmer and cover for 20 – 25 minutes until the water has been absorbed and the quinoa and lentils are cooked.   Once cooked, gently stir in the cumin and paprika along with the collard greens.  Allow the greens to become soft as you stir.  Remove from the pot into a large serving bowl and mix in the pomegranate seeds.  In a small mixing bowl, combine the dressing ingredients and whisk together until smooth.  Pour the dressing over the quinoa and mix well.  Enjoy the great combination of flavours in this simple, but nutritional powerhouse of a meal!

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For more information on Nutrition, head to my very first online nutrition course:  Nutrition for Optimal Heath at www.theflexifoodie.com! Or be sure to follow me on Instagram for health, wellness, yoga and inspiration at @juliemontagu.

Puy Lentils, Sweet Potato & Pomegranate Bake

Lentils have become a real staple in our house.  From red lentils to green lentils and now to puy lentils!  But what has been so amazing about these cute lookin’ discs, is that my 6 year old LOVES them!  In fact, he loves them so much that he practically asks for them every night.  So, we’ve had to get really creative in the ‘lentils’ department to make the dishes fun (and tasty) for all 6 of us!  And this is how and why this particular ‘bake’ was born.  For those of you who sometimes wonder or get asked – like I do – where you get your protein from other than the meat slogan that’s force fed to us, well – this little legume is your answer because…… Lentils have a higher protein content than beef! No joke.

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Lentils may be small but they are a huge player in the legume family.  They are an awesome source of cholesterol-lowering fibre but they also help manage blood-sugar disorders since their high fibre content prevents blood sugar levels from quickly rising after your meal.  But there’s more!  Lentils also provide amazing amounts of 6 important minerals, 2 B-vitamins, and like I mentioned above – the full monty: protein.  And can you believe it, all of that with virtually NO fat!  Just 230 calories for whole cup of cooked lentils.  This tiny nutritional giant fills you up – not out. ImageServes 6!

250g puy lentils

600g sweet potatoes

400ml (1 tin) coconut milk

1 pomegranate

1 red chilli

2-3 garlic cloves

2 Tbsp. coconut oil

1 tsp. cumin

1/2 tsp. turmeric

1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper (optional)

handful of parsley, to garnish

ImagePre-heat your oven to 180C/350F.  Place the lentils in a small pot, cover with water and bring to the boil then reduce to simmer for 10-15 minutes or until al dente.  Drain and then just set aside.

Pierce the sweet potatoes, rub with coconut oil, place on a baking tray and bake for 20 minutes or until tender.  Once cooked through, leave to cool but keep the oven on!  Once completely cooled, dice into 1 1/2 inch chunks.

Heat the remaining of the coconut oil in a pan and saute the garlic until soft.  Stir in the lentils, chunked sweet potatoes and spices with the 400ml of coconut milk and leave to simmer for 5 minutes.  Pour this glorious mixture into an ovenproof baking dish and bake for 15 minutes.  Meanwhile, de-seed and thinly slice the red chilli.  After the 15 minutes, place the sliced red chilli on top of the bake and bake for an additional 5 minutes until those red chillies are a bit charred!

Serve with lots of pomegranate seeds and chopped parsley.  YUM!

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Pomegranate, Cucumber and Mint Salsa!

Salsa makes a great accompaniment to a wide selection of meals and, with no set recipe as to how it has to be made, you can create any number of variations to suit your tastes! Depending on the ingredients you choose to use, your salsa can not only be a tasty addition to your meal but also a healthy and nutritious one! Pomegranate, Cucumber and Mint Salsa is one of my favourites to create, especially if I’m having guests over, and takes next to no time at all to put together. To whip up a dish for yourself that’ll be enough to serve six, you’ll need the following things:

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1/2 a large cucumber, finely chopped
3 tomatoes, finely chopped
1 red pepper, finely chopped
1 red hot chilli, finely chopped
1/2 a bunch of mint, chopped
1/2 a bunch of coriander, chopped
The juice of 1 lime,
Sea salt and pepper
A drizzle of olive oil

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So first is the fun part! Take the pomegranate, cut it in half and get your fingers in there to prise all of the seeds free. Ensure that you pull away all the pith as you go. Once you’ve done this, take the cucumber, chilli, red pepper, mint and coriander and mix in a bowl. Then you can also combine all of the pomegranate seeds into the bowl before adding the juice of the lime.

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Make sure you stir everything together well and then add the sea salt, black pepper and a drizzle of olive oil. Give the whole bowl a final stir before covering and placing in the fridge to chill.

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As soon as the time comes to tuck in, you can just remove from the fridge, uncover and serve as is! If for some reason you don’t get through the whole dish, you should be okay to re-cover and pop back in the fridge for a day or two, however it’s more than likely it’ll all be gone after the first sitting!

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Pomegranates are an amazing super-food that, as part of a balanced diet, can really help improve your overall health. They are low in calories and high in many nutrients. It is the seeds of the plant which should be eaten and you can either do so in its natural form or blend it into a juice. The seeds of a pomegranate contain absolutely no cholesterol and just a small amount of fat but will provide you with natural sugars and fibre. Pomegranate seeds are also rich in antioxidants which are great for combating the free radicals in your body which can assist the formation of some cancers.

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The nutritional value of mint is also to be admired as it is packed full of minerals and vitamins! This herb is an especially good source of carotenes and vitamin C which means good things for your immune system! Magnesium, copper, iron, potassium and calcium can also be found in abundance in a serving of mint, all of which have individual health properties; mostly pertaining to the maintenance of your bones and blood. Similarly, coriander has many of the same qualities and both are herbs which should feature in your daily diet!

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Hot chilli peppers have multiple health benefits, some of which are often overlooked. For a start it is thought that consuming even a small amount of chilli peppers will help you to sleep better whilst also making you feel more awake and energetic the following day. Chilli peppers will also aid your body in lowering cholesterol which means good things for the overall health of your heart. Also, they are great for fighting inflammation which is a common precursor to many diseases.

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