CREAMY FRENCH LENTILS WITH MUSHROOMS & KALE

creamy French lentils with mushrooms and kale // via thefirstmess.com #veganfor creamy French lentils with mushrooms and kale // via thefirstmess.com #vegancreamy French lentils with mushrooms and kale // via thefirstmess.com #veganfor creamy French lentils with mushrooms and kale // via thefirstmess.com #vegancreamy French lentils with mushrooms and kale // via thefirstmess.com #vegan
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 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. I don’t lament being stuck in the house—I relish it big time. I’m convinced that cozying up while the snow flies is my calling in life. Plus my dog goes wild for it, and anything that makes her happy is okay with me :)

If we’re on the topic of pantry stores, being ready for snow days, and delicious food, I have to mention beans, chickpeas, lentils, and peas (or pulses collectively). Along with whole grains, these make up the bulk of my dry storage. This makes a whole lot of sense given my plant-based lifestyle. 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. A true superfood. We grow a ton of them in Canada, too! 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. If you’ve been following along with this site for a while, it may seem like I’m preaching to the converted, but 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 :D

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 for maximum deep-warming potential. 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 or forethought. Once the lentils were folded in and I had some warm toasts on hand, I was in Winter food bliss. Wrap yourself in a warm blanket and make this one ASAP, pals.

creamy French lentils with mushrooms and kale // via thefirstmess.com #vegancreamy French lentils with mushrooms and kale // via thefirstmess.com #vegancreamy French lentils with mushrooms and kale // via thefirstmess.com #vegancreamy French lentils with mushrooms and kale // via thefirstmess.com #vegan

CREAMY FRENCH LENTILS WITH MUSHROOMS & KALE RECIPE
Print the recipe here!
SERVES: 3-4
NOTES: 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.

¾ cup French green lentils, rinsed
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium shallot, fine dice (roughly 1/3 cup diced shallot)
1 lb (454 grams) mixed mushrooms, stemmed + 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
1/3 cup unsweetened plant-based milk—I find carton coconut-based milk is preferable here (this one + this one are my go-tos)
3-4 kale stalks, stems removed + 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.

*This post was created in partnership with USA Pulses and Pulse Canada. All opinions/endorsements are my own. Thanks for supporting!

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