My husband and I have found that the one of the ways for us to eat healthy food and not break the bank is to have “bean” dinners 1-2 nights a week. Our diet is not 100% Organic, we really can not afford to eat everything organic but we eat organic what we can afford to. We start with the “Dirty Dozen” which is a list created by the “Environmental Working Group” to help us understand just how many pesticides are on the produce we eat. The dirty dozen is a list of fruits and vegetables that is best to buy Organic. You can find that list here: http://www.ewg.org/foodnews/
In our family, we make sure to eat everything on that list organic, and the other stuff we buy Organic if our budget allows at the time. This list can help you get started out buying the right Organic foods. Follow these guidelines and you will have cut out a TON of chemicals from foods you eat.
For tonights dinner we are eating Lentils which I make with curry, Turmeric and Indian Masala seasoning. The Lentils are not organic but we sacrifice on that (they are also not on the dirty dozen list) but some of the ingredients are, like sweet peppers. With this meal I prepare a pot of either Organic Brown Rice or Organic Quinoa which we pick up at Costco in Large bags for under $13 bucks and they last 2+ months each (rice lasts about 4 months quinoa lasts about 2). We serve this with a side of Organic Baby greens which we also pick up at Costco – an extra jumbo bag costs just $3.49 and lasts us an entire week. I make lentils and we eat dinner that night, then my husband will take lentils, rice and veggies to work all week for his lunches. We save a TON of money on his lunches because he never eats out!
Well, here is the recipe, your first of 5 installments of healthy dinners for the week. All of the dinners are Gluten-Free and I will try to make most of them completely Vegan.
Curried Masala Lentils
3 cups dry green lentils
1 cup shredded or diced carrot
1/2 Large onion chopped
1 cup celery chopped
3 Garlic Cloves chopped, mashed or minced
2 Cups Organic Dino Kale cut
1/2 cup chopped sweet peppers organic
1 Liter boiled water
1 TBSP Masala Seasoning (if you can find, if not, omit as it still tastes amazing without)
1 TBSP Curry Powder
1 TBSP Turmeric
1 TBSP Organic no-salt seasoning (from Costco or use Mrs. Dash)
1 TBSP Coconut Oil
1 TBSP Garlic Powder
1 TBSP Better than Bouillon, Vegetable Base (Low Sodium)
Sea Salt to taste
Boil one liter of water and set aside (makes cooking time faster, you don’t have to boil it first)
Add 1/2 TBSP coconut oil to stew pot and add Carrots, Celery, Onion and Garlic and sweat it out until they are semi-soft.
Add about 4 ounces of water to avoid anything burning and add all seasonings and bouillon base, Add lentils and stir (it will be a thick stew like consistency at this point).
Once all ingredients are integrated, add enough water to cover the lentils. Turn down heat to a medium-low temperature and let simmer, checking every 5 minutes and adding more water as needed. Add kale and stir and cover – checking on it regularly and adding water as needed. DO NOT ADD TOO MUCH WATER, it will be soupy, just add water as needed.
Lentils are tender to eat when they are done, I usually turn the heat off of mine after they are al-dente and let stand covered for 20 minutes to finish. Once your lentils are cooked – add 1/2 tablespoon of coconut oil and sea salt to taste.