Lemon-Infused Mediterranean Lentils

This delicious recipe comes from extraordinary cookbook author, Dreena Burton. I was a huge fan of Dreena after falling in love with her first couple of cookbooks, so I found her on facebook and “stalked” her until we became very dear friends…and now we are finally working on a book together.

See below for the recipe and also enter to win a FREE copy of her amazing book, Let Them Eat Vegan here: a Rafflecopter giveaway

Dreena Burton has been vegan for almost 20 years, in that time writing 4 bestselling cookbooks charting her journey as a plant-powered cook and at-home mother of three.  Always passionate about creating nutritious recipes, she is an advocate of using the “vegan basics” to create healthy, delicious food for the whole family.  Affectionately dubbed the “Queen Bean” and “Vegan Cookie Queen” by her readers, Dreena is one of the pioneering vegan cookbook authors.  Her cookbooks have garnered a loyal following, and Dreena has earned the respect and repute for reliable, wholesome recipes.  In her fourth and newest cookbook, “Let Them Eat Vegan: 200 Deliciously Satisfying Plant-Powered Recipes for the Whole Family” (May 2012), Dreena utilizes her experience cooking with the “vegan basics” to bring delicious, wholesome vegan meals and snacks to the table for everyday Plant-Powered eating!  You won’t find any white flour or white sugar in this book, and also no vegan substitutes like vegan cream cheese, sour cream, or vegan meats. All recipes are wheat-free or gluten-free, with many soy-free options, and a sprinkling of raw dishes for good measure.  Dreena shares more of her recipes, cooking tips, and experiences as a vegan mom at plantpoweredkitchen.com.  You can also join her facebook page and follow her on twitter.

Lemon-Infused Mediterranean Lentils

gluten-free, soy-free, oil-free

Lentils are a favorite of mine; they cook quickly, taste fresh and clean, and are easy to digest. What makes these lentils even better is infusing them with fresh lemon and herbs during cooking, and finishing off the dish with tomatoes, pine nuts, and dry olives. The sour lemon juice works nicely against the richness of the pine nuts and olives, for a satisfying flavor finish.

splash of water or 1 tbsp olive oil (use water for oil-free version)

1 cup green (or brown) lentils, rinsed

3 – 4 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice (see directions)

1 large clove garlic, grated or minced (optional)

1 tsp dry basil leaves

1 cup vegetable stock

1 cup water

1 ½ tsp fresh thyme leaves

¾ – 1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes (left whole if small, or cut in ½ if larger, see note)

1 tbsp capers, rinsed

3 tbsp Moroccan dry olives, sliced or chopped (or kalamata or green olives if you prefer)

1 tsp lemon zest

1 tsp pure maple syrup

¼ cup pine nuts (for serving, optional)

Freshly ground black pepper (for serving)

In a medium-size or large saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the water/olive oil and lentils. Stirring, sauté for a couple of minutes. Add 3 tablespoons of the lemon juice, and the garlic, basil, vegetable stock, and water. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat to medium-low, cover the pot and cook for 35 to 45 minutes, until tender.  Turn off the heat and stir in the thyme, tomatoes, capers, olives, lemon zest, and maple syrup. Cover and let sit for 4 to 5 minutes, then stir again and taste, adding an additional 1⁄2 to 1 tablespoon of lemon juice (or more), if desired, for extra tang! Serve, sprinkling portions with pine nuts and with freshly ground black pepper, if desired.  Serves 4-5

Ingredients 411: I add the tomatoes quite late in the cooking process, to preserve more of their freshness—basically just warming them through rather than cooking them. If you aren’t fond of uncooked tomatoes, feel free to add them earlier, about 20 minutes into the lentil cooking time.

Serving Suggestions: Serve over quinoa, brown rice, or with pasta. Also works well as a filling for wraps, or as a pizza topping (under sliced fresh tomatoes and a sprinkling of vegan cheese). Alternatively, chill and toss with a whole grain, plus a little extra olive oil, lemon, salt, and pepper, for a chilled lentil salad.

Recipe from Let Them Eat Vegan by Dreena Burton.  For more of Dreena’s recipes, go to www.plantpoweredkitchen.com.

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