We finally got some snow in Ontario! Like, a ton of it. Three rounds of driveway shovelling in one day? No problem. I had my tea cupboard stocked and plenty to eat (including these creamy French lentils) to keep us going through a snow day or two.
When I see the flashing red alerts on my weather tracking app this time of year, my instinct is to stock up on some produce, assess the pantry stores situation, decide whether I have enough non-dairy creamer for my coffee/tea, and then I get out there to make sure we’re prepared. This whole process is secretly one of my favourite things about Winter. It’s just super cozy.
If we’re on the topic of pantry stocking, I have to mention beans, chickpeas, lentils, and peas (or pulses). Along with whole grains, these make up the bulk of my dry storage. Perfect for plant-based dinners! I eat these in some form at least 3-4 times a week—they’re economical, sustainable, easy to prepare/integrate within plenty of meals, full of protein and fiber, and they’re so delicious. The United Nations has declared 2016 as the international year of the pulses, so the momentum and love is strong with these crops.
As part of an ongoing project for 2016, I’ll be partnering with USA Pulses and Pulse Canada to get more people on board with incorporating legumes into their meals. My hope is that at least a few of you can gather up some inspiration to try something new. I keep a variety of dry pulses on hand, all purchased from the bulk section of my local health food store. I have pre-cooked cans of chickpeas and black beans around for the crazier days as well. If you’re really, really on board with all of this, you can even take the Pulse Pledge.
When I was getting some produce together on a little weekend outing, I grabbed an assortment of mushrooms with the intention of mixing them with lentils. I wanted the mixture to be creamy without adding too many ingredients. So I just made a soup-y mixture of thyme and garlic-spiked mushrooms and pureed half of them with a bit of plant-based milk. Creamy results with very minimal effort! Once the lentils were folded in and I had some warm toasts on hand, it was cozy bliss! Hope you try these creamy French lentils!
CREAMY FRENCH LENTILS WITH MUSHROOMS & KALE
- ¾ cup French green lentils, rinsed
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 shallot, fine dice (roughly ⅓ cup diced shallot)
- 1 lb (454 grams) mixed mushrooms, stemmed and sliced
- sea salt and ground black pepper, to taste
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves, minced
- 2 tablespoons white wine
- 2 teaspoons gluten-free tamari soy sauce
- 1 ½ cups vegetable stock
- ⅓ cup unsweetened plant-based creamer or rich milk (such as soy or cashew)
- 3-4 kale stalks, stems removed and leaves sliced (1 ½ packed cups of sliced kale)
- fresh bread or toasts, for serving
- Bring a medium saucepan of water to a boil. Add the lentils to the water along with a fat pinch of salt. Simmer the lentils until they’re just-tender, about 20 minutes. Drain and set aside.
- In a braiser or medium soup pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the shallots to the pot and stir. Cook the shallots until slightly softened and translucent, about 4 minutes. Add the sliced mushrooms to the pot and let them sit for a full minute. Stir the mushrooms up and season with pepper. Let the mushrooms sit in the pot for another full minute.
- Stir the mushrooms until they start glistening slightly. Season the mushrooms liberally with salt. Add the garlic and thyme to the pot and stir. Once the garlic is fragrant, about 30 seconds, add the white wine and tamari to the pot. Stir the mushrooms. Add the drained lentils, vegetable stock and plant milk to the pot. Stir and bring the mixture to a boil.
- Ladle half of the mushroom mixture into your blender pitcher, ensuring that you include enough of the liquid. Blend on high until completely smooth. Scrape the creamy blended mushroom mixture back into the pot. Add the sliced kale and stir. Bring the mixture to a boil and check it for seasoning. The texture should be like a thick and creamy stew and the kale should be slightly wilted..
- Serve the creamy French lentils hot with toasts or other accompaniments of your choosing.
- If you don’t have any white wine around or you choose not to consume it, a teaspoon of white wine vinegar or fresh lemon juice will substitute just fine.
- I serve this as a thick, stew-y mixture fit for serving over toast, but you could add extra vegetable stock/non-dairy milk to make it more soup-y if you like.
*This post was created in partnership with USA Pulses and Pulse Canada. All opinions/endorsements are my own. Thanks for supporting!