I try and fit protein into my dishes as often as I can and although focus on fresh vegetables and clean carbs, adding plant based protein in is just as important. Often, assumptions are made that vegan protein sources are expensive or difficult to obtain but thats not the case! I enjoy splurging on mock meats such as Field Roast Sausages (which are still cheaper or similar to regular meat sausages or ground beef anyways) occasionally but if I’m running low on groceries or am wanting a cheaper alternative, I go back to the basics.
This lentil topper dish is so affordable and I love how much you can make to sustain you the whole week. Instead of making one high protein dish for the main meal all week, this topper works for a list of different dishes so you can keep it different and interesting all week. I didn’t keep track but this recipe will cost you most likely less than 10$ (and will leave you with leftover ingredients)
A quick pointer on different types of lentils:
Brown lentils: A popular type, found in most grocery stores, mild flavour and mostly used in veggie burgers, soups.
Green lentils: these are my favourite, they’re also easy to find, have a peppery/ stronger taste, take the longest to cook (around 30 mins) but are high in protein and I have also seen them in all different sizes. They also come out with more texture and remain in their shape once cooked.
Red/yellow lentils: Mostly used in curries and stews due to their soft, more mashed texture once cooked, they have a lighter pepper taste and add really nice color to dishes. They’re fast to cook (around 15 mins).
Black lentils: These can come with different names but are the most nutritious of all the lentils and cook to a textured, firm finish. I haven’t seen them as often but they take longer to cook and are good in salads, soups.
Makes: about 2 cups
Time: 30 mins (mostly cook time)
- 2 cups of vegetable broth
- 1 cup of lentils (I used green lentils)
- 1/4 cup of tomato paste
- 1/2 cup of diced fresh tomato
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- Salt & pepper
- Fresh or dried parsley/cilantro/basil (optional)
- Juice of half a lemon (optional)
- Rinse lentils.
- Add lentils with veggie broth in a pot and turn heat to high.
- Bring to a boil, lower temp to low/medium.
- Half cover with a lid and let simmer until water has dropped to the level of the lentils.
- Add in tomato paste, tomatoes, spices and lemon juice.
- Mix well, half cover with a lid and let cook until most moisture has evaporated.
- When the water level looks low to none, test the lentils to see if they’re still crunchy. If they are, add a bit more water or broth and let boil longer. Time depends on which lentils you have but I normally find myself testing and trying and adding more water until I get my desired texture. (Sometimes crunch can add to a dish!)
Serve on: rice, in tacos/ fajitas, on a sweet potato, with salad, as a side dish, as pasta sauce, or just as a meal itself – its so delicious! Enjoy!