Although I'm a summer person at heart, there are a couple things that make this cold weather all the more enjoyable. I love the nights when I can stay home with the fireplace going and cook up a nice big pot of homemade soup. I've also been getting a lot of questions lately regarding high protein vegetarian meal ideas, so I thought I'd share a recipe that I absolutely love and can't seem to eat enough lately.
Why Lentils are SO GREAT...
They are cheap! No whining about it being expensive to eat healthy. This all natural recipe costs $5-$7 max to make 4 adult size portions. Lentils are loaded with fiber, low glycemic complex carbs, and contain the 3rd highest amount of protein of any plant based food, making them a great vegetarian protein source. They contain all but 2 of the essential amino acids (the ones our bodies need but can't make on their own) and when served over a whole grain, such as brown rice, provide a complete protein source by delivering ALL of the essential amino's. If that isn't enough reason to eat them, they're also high in B1, iron, and folate, making them a great choice for expecting mothers as well. Double the recipe for large families or leftovers. There is something for everyone in this meal!
1 tbsp. evoo
3 carrots (peeled and sliced into ¼ in. slices)
½ large yellow onion (diced)
4 cloves garlic (diced)
1 box vegetable broth (4 cups)
1 can fire roasted diced tomatoes
2 bay leaves
1/8 tsp. pepper
1 heaping cup (about ½ bag) brown lentils
*reduced fat shredded cheese (optional)
Step 1: Heat 1 tbsp. evoo in large pot over medium heat. Toss in carrots, onion, and garlic and cook until onions are browned (about 5-7 min.).
Step 2: Add broth, can of tomatoes (with juice), bay leaves, and pepper. Bring to boil. Add lentils and reduce heat to simmer. Cover and simmer on low heat, stirring occasionally about 50 min- 1hr (depending on your desired thickness).
Step 3: Remove bay leaves, divide into 4 bowls and serve.
Protein: 17 g
Carbs: 44 g
Fiber: 19 g
Fat: 4.25 g
*Includes 2 tbsp. Kraft 2% reduced fat cheddar cheese