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Rosemary SpLentils

 

Rosemary SpLentils
(Split peas and Lentils with Mediterranean Herb Seasoning)

 

When I was laid off after more than 13 years with the same organization, I decided to give myself a break, to explore other career possibilities, and polish and extend the technologies I had used in my career to date. During that time, I decided to challenge myself, to try to minimize my food expenses, in part by limiting my grocery budget to no more than $150 (c. £ 96, € 112 [per exchange rates as of 2013/08/15]) a month.

In trying to meet that budgetary goal I found that eating wisely was more accessible while being frugal and paying attention to food ingredients than it had appeared while having an unrestricted food budget.

Two of the opportune things I found in the market were bagged lentils and split peas. Quite inexpensive and packed with nutritional benefit, they have formed the basis for my dietary regimen. Using the recipe given below, I found that I could replace bread, pasta and other “staples” with SpLentils—even to the point of its being a breakfast meal because of its savory and filling nature. I've also made use of its ability to stretch more expensive items when used in combinations.

To my great surprise, after a couple of weeks of using SpLentils in this way I found that I had started to lose weight, even though that had not been an actual part of my original goals. Now, after eight months of easy process, I have lost over 30 pounds and dropped almost 10% of my starting level of body fat (currently 194 lbs @ 17%, with that percentage heading lower), and have attained a level of general good health (including lowered blood pressure)—all results that I had not foreseen. As you can tell from the nutritional estimates I list below the recipe, the benefits of eating SpLentils are considerable. Combining the two vegetables using this recipe lets the strengths of each reinforce those of the other.

The combination of lentils and split peas creates a complete source of dietary protein, so that a single, c. 2 cup, serving of SpLentils has more protein than that reported by single cans of some kinds of tuna, but without the mercury! No dolphins are ever harmed in farming any of these ingredients...

The estimated composite glycemic index for SpLentils is around 30, given that the glycemic index of lentils is around 29, and that of split peas is around 31. The combination also has a very low, estimated glycemic load, of 9 or less per 150-200g serving.

Although both lentils and split peas are themselves inherently gluten free, they may become contaminated with minute amounts of gluten during processing. If you require a completely gluten-free diet, you may obtain all ingredients in this recipe from sources that will warrant freedom from gluten in their products—this, obviously, is something that only you can guarantee for yourself.

Both these legumers, lentils in particular, are very high in dietary fiber. The dietary fiber contained within each of the two principal ingredients will get you up and going, and will often restore, or compel, a degree of productive regularity to your life and experiences.

 

Ingredients:

1 lb  lentils
1/2 lb  split peas
9 cups  water
1 tsp (iodized) salt*
1 heaping tsp  basil
1 heaping tsp  oregano
1/4 - 1/2 tsp  thyme
1/4 -1/2 tsp  ground sage
1/4 -1/2 tsp  ground coriander
1 2.5" sprig of  fresh rosemary
1 tsp  black pepper corns

*Experiment with this to find the least amount of salt,
tailored to your dietary requirements and taste.

Do not add any oil before or while cooking the SpLentils.
Any oil should be added solely before serving, per diet or taste.
After cooking, extra virgin olive oil can be added to SpLentils because it extends and
enriches the taste of the herbs. But to preserve olive oil's nutriments,
add it only just before serving—never while cooking—and then, only if desired.
[Never cook/nuke e.v.o.o., in order to preserve its full (& many) health benefits.]
If you cannot obtain fresh rosemary, substitute it with a heaping tsp of Italian herb seasoning.

If you cook SpLentils in this way, you find that they are very close to being
the non-fat, vegetarian equivalent of pizza.

Preparation:

  1. Pluck rosemary from bush,
    RosemaryPicked.Compared
    wash, remove from stem
    RosemaryOffStem
    and chop, but not too finely.
    [If you cannot get fresh rosemary, subsitute a heaping teaspoon of an Italian seasoning blend that contains plenty of rosemary. Dried rosemary by itself is too lacking in flavor, tasting distinctly like leaf-cardboard.]

  2. Put water, salt and all herbs into pan
    HerbsAtStart
    and bring water to a rolling boil.

  3. Reduce heat (or turn it off) and let herbs steep for c. 7 minutes. The water should turn a golden, tea-brown color and the herbs should be circulating within the water, and not floating atop it.

  4. “Look” the lentils and split peas, searching for errant stones and lentil stem ends. (Those stem ends look like grass seeds—they contain small lentils that didn't mature.) The easiest way that I've found to spot them is to pour the contents slowly from the package onto a plate, then move the searched and approved periodically into a bowl.
    Note: this is very important because the electronic scanners used now to remove non-vegetable matter from among the grains cannot always distinguish between the individual grains and small rocks. These can ultimately cause tooth damage if not found and removed before cooking.
    LookingTheLentils
    With the lentils and split peas in a single bowl, mix them with your hands. (Mixing them consistently while they're dry is much easier than trying to do it after they've been put into the water to cook. You don't want the split peas to congregate into separate areas, but to be completely intermingled with the lentils.)
    SplentilsReadyForCooking
  5. Bring the water back to a boil; wash the mixed lentils and split peas quickly—they are not beans! do not soak them!—then drain them before putting the lentils and split peas into the boiling water carefully. (The easiest way to wash them is to put them into a strainer or collander then spary them, letting the water run out with any dirt or dust.)
    Wait for the water to start showing signs of boiling.

  6. Turn the heat down as low as it can go and still maintain a slight simmer. Cover the pot loosely (so that the steam can condense on the lid and drip back into the water). Set the timer for 35 minutes.

  7. After that time has passed, check the SpLentils. If there is considerable water still in the pot, set the timer for 10 minutes and continue this checking/timing cycle until the water has been absorbed.
    When they are done and they are stirred, the water level should be exactly the same level as that of the SpLentils themselves, and the water should be starting to turn a cloudy, light brown as the proteins and carbohydrates from the lentils start to mix in the water.
    Test the texture of a couple of spoonfuls, trying to get both lentils and split peas into the spoon to test.
    If at this point they are still too crunchy, resume the timer/check process. (If the water has been absorbed, add no more than a half-cup of water at a time, otherwise it may get too soupy.)

  8. The lentils should be fairly soft, but the split peas should still have some body to them: they should be al dente, with the bite-feel of well prepared pasta.
    Don't overcook the SpLentils! You will not want to cook them to mush. (However, if they do get overcooked, you can still use them as dip with chips [British: crisps]—they're good that way, too, just not really suitable as part of an entree, or as a side dish.)
    Splentils.Cooked
    The SpLentils will darken as they absorb more color from the herbs, and then will get even darker as they cool. (This is the iron in the lentils starting to "rust".)

  9. Remove them from the heat and put the pan in a place where it can cool.

  10. Grind the pepper corns and add them to the mixture, stirring gently, so as to keep the lentils from falling apart too much.
    Let the mixture rest while the flavor from the pepper is absorbed into the lentils.

  11. If you want the SpLentils to have an even greater aroma of the Mediterranean, you can add an extra 1/4 tsp each of basil and oregano after it's finished cooking. (But this is usually not necessary.)

  12. DO NOT ADD MORE SALT! Lentils, in particular, will shock you by how quickly they become too salty. If you want to enhance the flavor, it's better to do so with other herbs or toppings (even Worcestershire sauce or steak sauce is good on them) rather than adding more salt. (If you want to add salt, it's more flavorful to do so with [light] soy sauce.)

  13. If you have the room in your refrigerator, it's best to store the SpLentils in the pan in which they were cooked in order to preserve the dish's texture: breaking open the lentils will let them become mushy.

This makes about 8 cups.
It scales easily to provide smaller or larger quantities.

 

Choose one of these serving suggestions (one serving size is around 2 cups [500g]) of hot/reheated SpLentils for variety:

  • They are great (and completely vegetarian) right from the pan.

  • Sprinkle a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil (Greek is best), (or put a couple of teaspoons of organic, e.v.o. coconut oil) onto a bowlful of SpLentils.

  • Chop half a dozen black olives, sprinkle onto a bowlful then add virgin olive oil.
    For greater flavor variety, put a dollop of plain [Greek] yoghurt atop the SpLentils before adding the olives and e.v.o.o.

  • Heat a serving of SpLentils, then put a pat of real butter on it. Let it melt but don’t stir it in—the concentrated butter flavor makes for a rich, pleasing taste when it’s not been mixed in. (This is a great replacement for rolls or biscuits and butter, or even mashed potatoes—one that is much healthier because SpLentils have so few "empty" calories by comparison.)

  • Microwave a couple of chicken/turkey/Kosher franks, chop them, add them to the hot SpLentils, along with some e.v.o.o., and mix.

  • Heat a bowl of SpLentils, leaving about 1/2" room in the bowl above the SpLentils. When heated, pour salsa or picante sauce over the top of the SpLentils. Cover that with a good sprinkling of garlic powder. Don't mix, but enjoy the layering of tastes as you spoon into it.

  • Serve with macaroni and cheese. (SpLentils add both flavor and protein to the meal; the cheese adds smooth richness.)

  • Place a cup of prepared rice (white or brown) on one side of a serving bowl or plate. Place a cup of SpLentils beside it. Sprinkle or drizzle a savory topping (olive oil, salsa, picante sauce—even a little cream gravy will do) onto both the rice and SpLentils. Scoop rice and SpLentils into the spoon with the topping while eating in order to mix the flavors in your mouth.

  • Cook a chicken breast or two, cut into strips or bite-sized small pieces, sprinkle with Italian herb-seasoning. Top with a serving of SpLentils, sprinkled with e.v.o.o., then mix it all together. (You may need to add a dash of water to provide full coverage of the meat by the SpLentils.)

  • Boil an egg, chop it (but not too finely) onto a serving of SpLentils, then sprinkle on some olive oil and some Italian herb-seasoning.

  • Put cold SpLentils in a bowl, place a strip of cold bacon on top, then nuke until the bacon is done.
    (You'll have to experiment to find your microwave's setting and timing that are appropriate to do this.)
    Break the bacon strip into pieces and mix into the SpLentils. [Warning: this could prove to be addictive.]
    If you don't want to deal with real bacon, you can subsitute bacon bits.

  • Put a serving of SpLentils in a bowl, sprinkle with mozarella, jack or sharp cheddar and nuke it.
    (Or cover a couple of slices of whole grain bread with the SpLentils before adding the cheese, then nuke.)

  • For spicier taste, use pizza seasoning instead of Italian seasoning, or use both.

  • SpLentils can be used instead of beans in any Mexican (or “TexMex”) recipe. They will lessen the calorie count by replacing the sugars and carbs in the beans with protein and dietary fiber—because of this they avoid the gassy by-product of bean consumption. (Neither lentils nor split peas are beans, and they have far less of the gas-producing sugars that beans have.)

  • SpLentils are excellent when heated, then topped with sour cream and pico de gallo. If you want the extra carbs, place this all on a heated flour tortilla and fold it up like a burrito.

Nutritional information of SpLentils by themselves, estimated from the data supplied on the packages of dry lentils and split peas:

Entire
recipe
Per 1 cup
prepared
  data units measured
396.5  49.6   g total carbs
201.5  25.2   g dietary fiber
45.5  5.7   g sugars
188.5  23.6   g protein
52.0  6.5   %RDA of Vit. C [per 2000 calorie per day diet]
26.0  3.3   %RDA of Calcium [ditto]
312.0  39.0   %RDA of Iron [ditto]
1625.0  203.1   total calories

 

 

NOTE:Nutritional information posted here is estimated from the information stated on the packages of dry lentils and split peas. This data is provided for estimate-informational purposes only; any other use is neither implied nor suggested, and is totally at the user's untransferable responsibility.

To do your own estimates from government-supplied information, go to the USDA's Nutrient Data Laboratory website on lentils and on split peas.

 

WARNING: Use of this recipe in any way, or reception of any suggestions herein stated, is at your own risk. This recipe is not proposed for the treatment of any illness or health condition, and any salutary health effects herein stated or referred to are untested and anecdotal.

WARNING: The possible presence of personal allergens can be established only by the preparer, as determined in exclusive consultation with the ultimate consumers of the product of this recipe. Information on the presence of source allergens is obtainable from the manufacturers and/or suppliers of the recipe's ingredients. If you cannot obtain the information or ascertain it to your satisfaction, fix or eat something else. No one is forcing you to fix, eat or serve this.

WARNING:Consumption of the food created by following this recipe may cause “regularity”, or as has been attributed to it, “maximum pooposity”. This effect and/or any and all consequences arising from this effect, or any other side-effects from preparation, consumption or serving of the food prepared according to this recipe, are the sole and untransferable responsibility of the consumer.

 

Hot food is hot and may pose a scalding or burning hazard. Eating is at your own risk. Please breathe wisely. Turn off the stove when you're done. Don't run with scissors. Curb your dog. Don't forget your keys. Remember the Alamo. Feed the cat. Put the kettle on. Don't cook, eat, read, talk, drink, drive, think or legislate while stupid.

 

This recipe and the constituent images are Copyright © Eduard J. Qualls 2012, 2014.
The copyright holder grants that the recipe itself (but not the images) may be freely reproduced for private or commercial purposes, but only so long as complete and indelible reference to the author and this website are maintained in each instance of such reproduction.

 

 

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