Do you have an album that everytime you play it, your heart ebbs and flows with the music? Its almost life giving? In my mind, this isn’t really an energizing album but one that soothes, comforts and encourages without bringing you down. Jessie Ware’s second album Tough Love does this for me. Her voice is incredible and in particular on this album, it soothes, comforts and encourages me. The name might help imply why that is so.
Food also does this for me. It depends on the type of food however. A burger and french fries would not do this – it could help comfort and soothe depending on the day or moment but it doesn’t encourage me. A burger and fries are perhaps more of a blues album. I’m not quite sure, I haven’t done the pairing for that meal yet! Something that is healthy, warm and tantilizes the taste buds either with flavor or texture, this type of food does the same thing for me that Tough Love does.
I present my Braised Lentils with a Mirepoix salad. Savory, hearty lentils that I crafted to make sure they were full of flavor finished with a dollop of creamy non-fat Greek yogurt and additional brightness provided by a splash of green, citrusy olive oil. To finish off this dish, crunchy, vibrant flavors were just what my palate was craving. I got to thinking (plus had quite a few veg from Imperfect Produce in my fridge), most lentil dishes use mirepoix as a base. What would a mirepoix salad taste like? I used some creative license – the proportions are NOT what a typical mirepoix is – two parts onion, one part carrot and one part celery. I like onions potentially even more than the next guy but can only handle so much in my salad. This recipe is simple enough to make while you are multitasking and hearty enough to last through the last few weeks or months of brisk cold that still greets many of us each morning (hello PNW!).
Braised Beluga Lentils
Serves 8 (cut in half to serve 4!)
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 onion, finely chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1 tsp dried basil
- 1 tsp dried rosemary
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 2 cups of black beluga lentils
- 6 cups water
- 2 vegetable bullion cubes
- 1/2 lemon, juiced
- 16 oz non-fat Greek yogurt
- In a medium sized saucepan on medium heat, add the olive oil, onions and garlic. Cook until onions and garlic have started to soften, 5-10 minutes. Add the next five ingredients. Stir and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
- Add the beluga lentils, water and bullion cubes. Stir well. Once the lentils have started to boil, lower heat to medium-low and keep at a light simmer. Cook until lentils have softened, 45-60 minutes. Once tender, if liquid still remains, drain. Stir in the lemon juice and any additional salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve warm topped with non-fat Greek yogurt, a splash of olive oil and a sprinkle of celery leaves. For a complete meal, serve with Mirepoix salad and enjoy!
- 6 carrots, peeled and diced
- 1 bunch of celery, washed, leaves reserved and stalks, diced
- 1/4 of a red onion, thinly sliced (I used pickled for an additional bite!)
- 1/2 lemon, juiced
- salt and pepper to taste
- Mix all ingredients together. Enjoy with the lentils! The crunch of the salad and the warm lentils pair beautifully.
Can be made easily vegan by using a non dairy yogurt or removing the yogurt entirely!