Lentils with Spinach are a Girl’s Best Friend

Forget those diamonds – lentils are a girl’s best friend. This power-packed legume will keep your stomach looking slender and your digestive system feeling regular! At only 230 calories for a 1/3 cup serving, yoLentils with Healthy Greens & Goat Cheeseu’ll get 63% of your daily fiber requirement and one third of your daily iron and protein requirements – how’s that for a multitasking maven? And one quarter cup of lentils is equivalent to a 4 ounce serving of meat.

Lentils also help regulate your blood sugar, lower cholesterol, and prevent heart disease. And they are incredibly versatile, working well in many dishes.

My favorite all-time lentil recipe is from our local restaurant, Francesca’s Amici; their Lenticchie e Spinaci pairs warm lentils with spinach and goat cheese. Billed as just an appetizer, they are filling enough for a meal, especially when paired with a crisp salad filled with a variety of vegetables.

For a cheese, you can’t go too wrong with goat cheese – while it’s got some saturated fat, one ounce only contains 76 calories. Just use it in moderation for a bit of flavor!

I believe that the original recipe contains mascarpone cheese as well. I’ve only used goat cheese to cut down on the dairy and calories. I also add in a couple of other green, leafy vegetables to increase the antioxidants.

I also gave it a hearty and somewhat French flavor by adding in a dash of cabernet sauvignon to the legumes along with the vegetables. This can be skipped if you prefer.

A glass of Chilean Carmenere, a red wine redolent with plum and vanilla flavors, would pair wonderfully with this belly-warming dish. Perfect for when you crave a comfort food but want something healthier!

Lentils with Healthy Greens & Goat Cheese

1 16 oz. bag of dried Green Lentils, washed and drained

1.5 cups of Spinach, torn into pieces

2 ribs of Swiss chard, torn into pieces

1/2 cup of Kale, torn

Chopped celery, 2 ribs

1/2 cup of Chopped carrots

1/2 cup of Baby onions

2 cups of Vegetarian stock, organic or free range, low sodium

2 cups of water

3 ounces of Goat Cheese

2 cloves of Garlic, chopped

Olive oil

Dash of Cabernet Sauvignon

2 Bay leaves

Pinch of sage

Pinch of thyme

Black pepper, to taste

Sea salt, to taste

1. Heat a deep frying pan over medium low heat; add a bit of olive oil and heat.

2. Add in chopped garlic and baby onions; saute for two minutes. Add carrots and celery and saute whole vegetable mixture for 4 more minutes.

3. Pour vegetarian stock and water into the pan; add dried lentils and stir.

4. Add in bay leaves, thyme, and sage. Cover and simmer over medium low heat for about 30 to 45 minutes. Check frequently and add in more water if needed – you don’t want the lentils to burn! Francesca’s serves the lentils al dente, which is how I prefer them – with a little chewiness. If you want them softer, simply simmer longer.

5. Stir in spinach, kale, and swiss chard into lentil mixture until well mixed; add in a dash of Cabernet Sauvignon, if you wish. Stir in chunks of goat cheese and turn heat to low. Stir for about five minutes. Add pepper and sea salt to taste.



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