French Lentils with Goat Cheese

Now that Spring is finally (officially) here, I felt the need to celebrate by testing some new recipes! For lunch today, I was craving something a little bit French, and what could be more French than lentils?

Warmer weather has me craving foods that are a little lighter, but that doesn't mean I'm living on green juice and salads! (Good luck getting through a tough workout on a glass of green juice...) This lunch was packed with protein, healthy fats, some good carbs, and veggies, too. The original lentil recipe included bacon, but I omitted it for all you Vegetarian Fat Loss Foodies out there!

Lentils are a great, inexpensive source of starchy carbohydrates. Half a cup of lentils contains:

115 calories, 9 grams of protein, 20 grams of carbs (8 g fiber), and a trace amount of fat. 

To make this dish fat loss-friendly, I served this with 5 ounces of oven-roasted fish for my protein. Cod and salmon are both excellent with a side dish like this! I like to add a green veggie at every meal as well; go for some asparagus as it's a Spring vegetable in season now! 


Adapted from Dallas Morning News

Serves 4

INGREDIENTS

1 Tbs. olive oil 1/2 yellow onion, diced

1 carrot, peeled, cut in 1/4" dice

1 celery stalk, cut in 1/4" dice

1 Tbs. tomato paste

1 thyme sprig or 1/2 tsp. dried thyme

1 bay leaf

2 Italian parsley stems

3 garlic cloves, peeled, lightly crushed (leave them whole)

3 cups low-sodium vegetable or chicken stock

1 cup French green lentils, sorted and rinsed

1 Tbs. rice wine vinegar

1 Tbs. chopped Italian parsley

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

4 Tbs. goat cheese, crumbled

DIRECTIONS

1. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, add 1 Tbs. olive oil and saute onion, carrot and celery until softened, about 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute more.

3. Add the thyme, bay leaf, whole parsley stems, smashed garlic cloves, vegetable or chicken stock and lentils. Bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover and cook until the lentils are tender, about 35 to 40 minutes. Lentils should be cooked through but not mushy. 

4. If any liquid remains, drain the lentils and remove the bay leaf, parsley stems, and garlic cloves, and return the lentils to the saucepan.

5. Add the rice wine vinegar and chopped parsley. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Garnish with crumbled goat cheese.