For me, the new year always brings a vow to eat healthier, so I was excited to hear about the Healthy Treats challenge, which is being run by Rennie (the makers of tablets that help with heartburn and indigestion). After being in dire need of some Rennie tablets pretty much constantly for the last couple of weeks after eating my weight in chocolate and cheese, I thought the challenge was a good opportunity to make something a bit healthier! No unhealthy ingredients in sight. And eating well leads to feeling good (I don’t know why I only remember this every January…).
To me, a healthy meal is one that contains plenty of protein. As a vegetarian, it’s all too easy to ignore my protein intake (pasta pesto for every meal? No problemo!), so every now and then I like to make a really protein-rich meal. The protein means they keep me full for a long time (which means less opportunity for snacking on chocolate!). Of course you can get protein from cheese and eggs, but since I was going for a super healthy dish here, I thought I’d go for a leaner protein, in the form of beans and lentils.
I know, I know – lentils don’t sound like the most exciting thing ever, but stay with me! If you’ve never had puy lentils before, you have to try them – they’re so much darker and richer than other lentils, and have heaps of flavour. They make a great base for all sorts of ingredients – this time I went for garlicky sautéed leeks, and a touch of smoked paprika to add to the dark flavour of the lentils.
For this recipe I used a sachet of pre-cooked puy lentils, so I was able to add them straight to the pan without any pre-cooking. If you prefer though, you can cook your lentils from scratch – just add a bay leaf and a little salt and pepper while they’re simmering.
If you’re feeling less healthy this January, there are some changes that you could make to this recipe that could make it even tastier – try adding a dash of white wine during cooking, or finish the dish with some crumbled blue cheese or grated parmesan. These additions are definitely not required to make a delicious meal, but since I’m sure a quick puy lentil recipe like this will be becoming a staple in my kitchen, it’s always nice to have a few ways to mix things up!
- 1tbsp olive oil (or 2tbsp water)
- 1 large leek, halved lengthwise then sliced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 400g tin of cannellini beans, drained (240g when drained)
- 250g cooked puy lentils
- ¼ tsp smoked paprika
- Black pepper
- 1tbsp extra virgin olive oil, to serve
- Fresh parsley, to serve (optional)
- Heat the oil in a large frying pan or wok, and add the leek and garlic. Cook over a medium heat for about 3 minutes, until fragrant.
- Add the cannellini beans, cooked puy lentils, and smoked paprika, and continue to cook for a further 5 minutes, stirring regularly. If the mixture seems to be drying out too much, just add a dash of water.
- When everything is hot, season to taste, and serve drizzled with extra virgin olive oil, and with fresh parsley if desired.
Disclosure: I was sent some supermarket vouchers by Rennie to buy the ingredients for this recipe, but I was not otherwise compensated. All thoughts are my own.