I want to eat well. I really, really do. Why does it seem so tough? I know why, because I am not a planner…or maybe it’s just that I don’t put my own nourishment before the millions of other things that I do in a day. I cook for my toddler, but she and I like different things, different textures. While she loves corn, getting her to eat other veggies is a chore that involves a lot of grating. I continue to try with her and I am convinced (positivity is best, right?) that she will outgrow her preferences of the moment, but for now, it’s easier on us all if she doesn’t spit out every bite, but I digress. I was going to tell you about a life hack for healthy eating. It’s one of my favorites.
I am a vegetarian and have been for more than 20 years; finding creative ways to get low-fat sources of protein is always a goal. So here it is… quinoa and lentils can be cooked together in the same pot. If you know this one already, forgive my enthusiasm. I have been doing this for years, but I finally decided I should share it. It’s so great. I love a meal that is great warm or cold, and something I can prepare in one pot with little attentiveness. This little trick has both of these advantages.
This combo makes a great base for so many things: you can pair it with stir-fry or roasted root veggies. Add onions and seasoning to make a great taco or nacho meat replacement. Use it as the foundation for a cold salad or as the base for a hot vegetarian chili.
Today I was craving greens so I did something unprecedented and did a two-pan meal. I cooked my quinoa and lentils together as usual and sautéed a variety of green vegetables in another pan, for ultimate flavor. This salad is great either warm or cold, so it’s a good idea to make enough for lunch the following day. You can pair it with any dressing that you like. I prefer lemon juice or a drizzle of reduced balsamic vinegar.
- Fill a pan with 3 cups of water, and bring it to a boil with a pinch of salt.
- Add 1 cup of quinoa and a half-cup of lentils (you can adjust this as you like, as they both cook with a two to one water ratio).
- Turn down the heat to 2/10 and cover the pot, cooking until all of the water is absorbed and the cooking finished (remove from heat).
(STOP HERE IF YOU JUST WANT TO MAKE QUINOA AND LENTILS IN ONE POT)
- Chop an onion and a clove or two of garlic and add it to a pan with some hot (but not too hot) olive oil.
- Chop fresh, brussels sprouts, broccoli, spinach and asparagus and add to the pot, as it caramelizes and some brown bits form on the bottom of the pan add a few tablespoons of water to help coat the veggies with the caramelization.
- Add some frozen peas to the pan (or fresh peas if you have them).
- When the veggies are all bright green and still have a bit of crisp to them, remove them from the heat and dump them into the pan with the cooked quinoa and lentils.
- Add salt and lemon juice (or dressing of your choice) to taste.