Sometimes, when life hands you chocolate, sugar, saturated fats and other lovelies of life, you need to take a time out. For detox. I’m definitely one of those people who lives to eat rather than eats to live, but I do make it a priority to eat healthfully a majority of the time. That way, I don’t feel so guilty when I do splurge.
I’ve always watched what I ate, but a few years ago I realized that many of the processed, “low fat” foods I was putting into my body weren’t the best choices. I made it a priority to change my mindset from low fat to full nutrition — focusing on whole foods that were natural, fresh and packed with healthful benefits. Now I always read labels (the fewer ingredients, the better) and make things from scratch when I can. My pantry is constantly stocked with things like quinoa, beans, olive oil and an assortment of spices, so I’m always ready to whip up something healthy in a pinch. Eating this way makes me feel good, and it tastes good, too.
This Spanish Lentil and Mushroom Stew is obviously healthy, but it’s surprisingly delicious. Packed with interesting flavors, textures and colors, it’ll leave you satisfied without making you feel like you’re officially detoxing. Score.
Spanish Lentil and Mushroom Stew (serves 4)
Adapted from Saveur
What you need:
- 1 scallion, finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
- 1 tablespoon + 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
- 1 cup French green lentils, picked over and washed
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- Kosher salt
- 1/2 tablespoon + 1 tsp red wine vinegar, divided
- 1/2 pound cremini or button mushrooms, quartered
- 1/2 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 tablespoon capers, drained
- 6 basil leaves, chiffonade
- Black pepper, to taste
How you do it:
1. In a large saucepan, over medium-high heat, heat 1 teaspoon of the oil. When hot, saute the scallion with a pinch of salt for 2 minutes, then add the garlic and continue to saute for 1 minute, until the scallion and garlic are softened. Add the lentils with 4 cups of water and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, and cook until tender but not falling apart, around 20 minutes. By the time they’re done, there shouldn’t be much liquid left in the pan.
2. Meanwhile, in a very hot saute pan, cook the mushrooms with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, turning occasionally. Try to get them to brown well on most sides. Season with salt and remove from heat.
3. When the lentils are cooked, add the smoked paprika, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and 1/2 tablespoon of red wine vinegar. Taste and adjust seasoning.
4. Toss the cherry tomatoes, basil, capers, 1 teaspoon of olive oil, 1 teaspoon of red wine vinegar, and a pinch of salt in a separate bowl.
5. To serve, divide the lentils into bowls. Top with the mushrooms, and top that with the tomato salad. Give the whole thing a grind of black pepper and another little dusting of smoked paprika.