I follow a lot of food blogs. When I started to use Google Reader, maybe only 6 months ago or so, somehow I effortlessly started reading more and more food blogs. My last count was 232 subscriptions (eek!).
I read blogs for many different reasons: to be inspired by the recipes or techniques; to learn more about ingredients or different ethnic cuisines; and lately to open my culinary repertoire into vegan (and raw) cooking.
Some blogs post tried-and-true recipes, and maybe it is just my poor luck, but sometimes I get lackluster results from other bloggers. It might seem like I have been ragging on her alot recently, I actually adore Angela’s positive message on Oh She Glows. I just haven’t had too much luck with her recipes. I find her overnight oats a bit too liquidy for me, her split pea and spinach soup and white bean pesto dip underflavoured and more recently, her tahini-avocado chickpea salad also lacked spunk. Nothing that I couldn’t fix myself, but you just know you will have to continually assess the dish at every step.
Like a mouse drawn blindly to cheese, I am still tempted by her recipes. I want to give her the benefit of the doubt, because I know we share some similar tastes. While I haven’t tried her version, I also adore the Creamy Broccoli Dal from Vegan Yum Yum. I just have to do a lot of tweaking to follow her recipes.
With this in mind, I assessed her Lightened Up Protein Power Goddess Bowl with caution, despite the many positive reviews in the comments. It looked like a wonderful clean-your-fridge recipe, but I knew I wanted to load it up with vegetables. I scaled back the lentils and swapped the spelt berries for bulgur. I doubled the vegetables, used leek instead of onion, added in 2 red bell peppers, some snow peas, tomato and spinach. Because I adore lemon, I increased the lemon flavour by adding in the zest from the lemons as well. With less grains and beans, but more vegetables, I kept the same amount of dressing. Finally, an adapted OSG’s recipe worthy to share!
Here, a zippy creamy sauce is simmered with the vegetable medley that is speckled with lentils. The black lentils hold their shape well, as do the French du Puy lentils, which would also work great here. Green lentils would also work ok. I was lucky to have a leftover leek waiting in the fridge, but onions or shallots could also be used. For the vegetables, pick your favourites but I liked that the fresh tomatoes, with their juices, deglazed the pan nicely. Serve with your choice of grain, mixed into the skillet or served on the side.
Warm Lentil, Bulgur and Vegetable Skillet with a Lemon-Tahini Sauce
1/2 cup dried lentils, rinsed (I used small black beluga lentils but green ones would work well too)
1/2 cup uncooked coarse bulgur
1/4 cup tahini
3 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice (from 2 large lemons)
zest from 2 lemons
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp sea salt + freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
2 tbsp water, or as needed
1 tbsp coconut oil
3 cups chopped leek, white and green parts (1 large leek)
4 garlic cloves, minced
3 cups chopped red bell pepper (2 red peppers)
1 cup chopped snow peas
1 cup chopped tomato (2 small Roma tomatoes)
3 cups spinach, destemmed and roughly chopped
1. Separately, cook lentils and bulgur according to directions. Rinsed lentils can be simmered for 25 minutes, if using small black beluga lentils or French du Puy. Green lentils require 45 minutes. Coarse bulgur is added to twice its volume of boiling water and steams for 20 minutes as the water is absorbed. This can be done in advance if desired. Drain the lentils and set aside lentils and bulgur to cool.
2. Next, prepare the lemon-tahini dressing by adding tahini, garlic, lemon juice and zest, nutritional yeast, olive oil, salt and water to a food processor. Blend until smooth.
3. Meanwhile, in a large skillet over low-medium heat, add your coconut oil and sauté the chopped leek for a few minutes. Add the minced garlic for a few minutes, being careful not to burn. Now add in the chopped red pepper and snow peas and stir. A few minutes later, deglaze the pan while adding the tomatoes with their juice and sauté for another 7-8 minutes.
4. Stir in the chopped spinach, cover and cook until it turns a bright green and tender. Stir in the lemon-tahini dressing, the cooked lentils, and simmer on low for another few minutes. Serve with bulgur on the side, or mix into the dish as well. Season with salt and pepper to taste and garnish with lemon wedges and zest.