Lentil with lemon salad

Lentil with lemon salad gives these wonderful but largely flavourless legumes, rich in protein, a piquant-taste. Let's be honest; without some help they are not a food you would normally recommend.

However both the demands of a planet that must survive the onslaught of mankind, and a people who have no desire to die from the dread diseases associated with red-meat, make it sensible to eat more legumes; that means beans, peas and lentils.

Added to that the lemon gives your supper a boost, not only in flavour, but also because it is rich in vitamin C, one of the four that are essential if we are to avoid frailty-syndrome.

The beauty of lentils is that unlike other dried legumes, being tiny, they take only a few-minutes to cook.

Lentil and lemon salad.

You will need

  1. Roughly a cup of dried-lentils. Red and yellow are my favourites.
  2. Half a lemon or lime; include the pulp.
  3. A red-pepper, with the seeds removed if it is too hot.
  4. Olive-oil.
  5. A handful of a green-herb such as parsley, coriander or rocket.

Go for it

  • Put your cup of lentils in a pot, add hot-water and bring to the boil. Allow to simmer for about 20 minutes; until nearly tender but not mushy. There is no need to soak them.
  • Drain off the excess hot liquid and rinse in a strainer with cold-water.
  • Chop up your handful of parsley, or other green-herb, and a red pepper without the seeds.
  • Use a stick-blender to mush up your lemon or lime, including the pulp, a couple tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil and a touch of salt and pepper.
  • In a large bowl stir up the lentils with the chopped-parsley and pepper, and pour the liquid over the whole.
  • From start to finish you should need no more than twenty-five minutes to prepare this wonderful nutritious lentil with lemon salad dish.

Experiment with rinsing your lentils with cold water. Those anxious about anti-nutrients would insist, however I find that hot legumes soak up the rich olive oil mixture better.

Pepperdews

Supporting your peppadew plants is important if you want them to go ripen properly and go red.

Pepperdews are our favourite because they are easy to grow, with some bite but they will not blow your head off. Cut out most of the seeds if you do not like hot chilli; but that is where much of the anti-inflammatory capsaicin is to be found. We enjoy them daily to spice up our legumes.

Growing peppadews is not difficult. They bear for months. Freeze them and you have a ready supply year-round.

Lemon

Citrus fruits such as lemon and lime are the richest source of vitamin-C. Once they have been pasteurised and turned into OJ they lose more than half of their value.

The old saying was the first thing to do when moving into a new home is to plant a grafted-lemon sapling; it still holds. One tree will provide you with several hundred fruit per annum for thirty years or more.

Just price them at the supermarket and do some simple mathematics; it is a far better investment than the fickle stock-exchange.

More important lemons and limes provide strong support for our immune-systems, so vital at this time of the epidemic; you will eat a lot more of if you have them growing in your garden.

Supper

Our supper tonight consisting of lentil with lemon salad, avocado and hummus may look like a dog's breakfast, but the flavour and nutrition are overwhelmingly fine. Add a slice of whole grain bread, a tablespoon of tomato relish and perhaps some feta-cheese and you have a full meal.

One-third of a cup of lentils contains only 13g of complex carbohydrate[1] and 6g of fibre, a quarter of your daily requirement according to the American Heart Association; we consume less than a half of what we should, hence all the nasty bowel diseases that abound, and a depleted microbiome.

If you are concerned about starches, and frankly we all need to be careful, learn more about net-carbs.

I love my food and dishes like this are low in carbohydrate so I do not have to hold back.

Legumes

Legumes have vast benefits for both ourselves and the planet. They are a rich source of plant protein, enabling us to reduce our reliance on red meat. They have plenty of fibre, a resistant starch that feeds the so-important microbiota in our colons; and help with the passage of the stool, reducing constipation and the risk of colorectal malignant disease.

They are a good source of minerals including iron. Whenever donating blood I am a little anxious about my haemoglobin levels since I eat so little red-meat, but, no, it is never a problem; in fact it's on the high side of normal.

There are some concerns about so-called antinutrients; phytates, lectins and tannins that inhibit the absorption of minerals. Fortunately most of them can be removed by soaking, rinsing several times and boiling your legumes. Learn more about this topic at cooking chickpeas, one of our favourites that we enjoy every single day. They too are a very inexpensive source of protein.

Personally with the exception of lentils and chickpeas we prefer green legumes; they have far fewer lectins, are quick to cook and are a far tastier in my opinion. So we grow them year-round in our mild climate and enjoy them daily.

Young broad beans straight from the garden are probably my favourite, not least because they play such an important role in preventing and treating Parkinson's disease. Interestingly they are eaten in all five blue zones of the planet where most folk live into strong and vital old-age.

I said at the beginning of this section that legumes unlike cattle are good for the planet; nitrogen fixation bacteria attach to their roots improving the quality of our soils. They require one-tenth of the water needed to provide the same amount of protein from red meat.

I think we should acknowledge that legumes are not renowned for their great flavour; we eat them because they are good for us. Generally they do need a little help from lemon juice, garlic and peppers to make them more palatable.

I always say in my talks that we have been hoodwinked into thinking we need enjoy only those foods that we find absolutely scrumptious. That is why in my opinion we are so nutritionally-deficient and sickly; and chronic, inflammatory and malignant diseases are so prevalent.

Eat more legumes like this lentil with lemon salad. It's about balance; we are not vegetarians but corn-fed red meat from a feedlot is not to my liking.

If I could be assured of grass-fed beef I be more enthusiastic about small amounts of red-meat.

Weight-loss


"Do not eat any refined-carbs, period."

Dr Atkins


Scientists have found that the Atkins plan was the most effective of the four diets researched[2]. They reported that participants found it extremely difficult to adhere to a low carbohydrate diet indefinitely, however they could manage avoiding refined-starches.

That's where we are; around 120g of carbs per day but very close to zero refined-starches. It's the reason we bought a mill; giving up bread for ever seemed overwhelming.

Understanding net-carbs will be a big help.

For example, 100% whole grain bread and corn on the cob would be allowed, even encouraged, but commercial loaves and what South Africans call mealie-meal certainly are not.

The AMA reports that those who simply added one cup of beans to their diet every day, with no other restrictions, lost on average 5.7 pounds in three months; green rather than dried are much nicer generally.

Enjoy your lentil with lemon salad and a cup of this spicy ginger-tea recipe on the side. To appreciate these wonderful foods you must have ready access to citrus fruit; plant one today if you live in a mild climate. Read more from our tree planting help page.

Lentil with lemon salad

Always include the pulp with your lemon for the lentil-salad, and other dishes; that is where at least half the nutrition is to be found.

Read more about how to avoid the dreaded frailty syndrome; nobody wants to be old before their time, and there are some simple things you can do to prevent it. More of vitamin-C in citrus and peppers is part of the solution.

Whilst we are not vegetarians, we do believe that getting much of our protein from legumes is essential both for ourselves and the planet. We call it the cyan zone lifestyle; a mixture of green and blue.

For a small variation this is the best way to cook lentils.

This lentil potage is another great favourite; it can be cooked in such a short time.


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