I have a confession - prior to the last few months I was an RD that NEVER, and I mean NEVER cooked with lentils. I'm not sure exactly why - I guess I grew up in a meat and potatoes kind of household - and although I have often recommended pulses to my clients, I rarely ever cooked with them. Until now. I am OBSESSED with lentils at the moment. I continually find ways to add them into soups, salads, wraps, casseroles, you name it! The red ones are my favorite as they have a fairly neutral taste and are a small in size so they can be added into virtually anything and go unnoticed by many 'health-food haters' that might be at your dinner table.
What else is great about lentils? They are an excellent source of fibre and protein, they contain many micronutrients such as folate, thiamin, and iron, and they are an affordable meat alternative!
Say it with me.... "I LOVE LENTILS!"
I have a quick and delicious recipe for you that I formulated over the weekend when I just couldn't think of what to make for lunch. Most of my new recipe creations are made when I'm desperate for a new idea or short on time but don't want to succumb to the temptations of the drive-thru. Sometimes they turn out so-so, and sometimes, like in the case of this amazing and versatile red lentil, chicken, and veggie filling, they turn out quite impressive! This recipe is for quesadillas but really it's the filling that's special and it rolled like a burrito, added to a pita, or even spread into a gourmet grilled cheese!
Oh, and as usual.... this recipe is easy-peasy!
As I mentioned before - this is only one way to serve that tasty filling! You can also eat it cold for lunch wrapped up like a burrito, make a gourmet grilled cheese, or heck - use it as a hearty dip for tortilla chips!
Here's the full recipe - remember, it will also be posted under the Recipes section of the blog!
2 cans low sodium, cooked chicken breast (or 2 - 3 cooked and shredded chicken breasts depending on size)
2 Tbsp canola oil
1/2 cup dried red lentils (any color lentil would work here)
1 small onion, chopped
1 - 2 bell peppers, chopped
1.5 - 2 cups finely chopped spinach (fresh or frozen)
2 - 3 Tbsp cream cheese
1/2 cup shredded cheese of your choice
Whole wheat wraps
1)Pre-heat oven to 350 C.
2) Add canola oil to pan and brown chicken over low heat.
3) While chicken is browning, add lentils to medium, microwave-safe bowl and cover with water. Microwave for 4 - 5 minutes or until firm but tender.
4) Add chopped bell pepper and onion to pan and saute until onion starts to turn clear.
5) Finely chop up spinach and add to pan with cream cheese and lentils. Stir until cream cheese is mixed in well and spinach starts to wilt.
6) Turn off heat and add shredded cheese. Stir until it starts to melt.
7) Spread mixture onto wrap then fold in half.
8) Bake for 5 - 6 minutes or until golden brown and just starting to get crispy.
9) Use pizza cutter to slice into triangles.
NOTE*: For you vegetarians out there or for you 'Meatless Monday' fans, double up on the lentils, omit the chicken, and you've got yourself a tasty meat-free meal that's still packed with protein!
Have a safe, healthy and happy week everyone!
Let me know in the comments below if you enjoyed this recipe. Or better yet, share YOUR favorite lentil recipe!
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