My kids always come home from school hungry! No matter what I pack in their lunch boxes! That is why the after school snack is very important in my house. Instead of them munching on cookies, chips or ice cream, I try to have a healthy and nutritious snack ready for when they come home. A snack that is colorful, fun to eat gets extra points because I don’t have to recite the benefits of healthy food as opposed to chocolate, chips or ice cream. Added to that it buys me enough time to finish preparing lunch with minimal protests.
With school in full swing now,I knew exactly what to look for when it was time for this month’s secret recipe club .
I was assigned Stephanie’s blog Sustainable cooking for one. After going through her recipe index, full of tempting ideas and recipes I decided to make her Lemon Rosemary Red Lentil Spread, the kids love lentils and they love rosemary. I even have a little rosemary bush on my window.
The lentil dip checked all the boxes. It was healthy and nutritious, with the lentils being low in calories, rich in protein and loaded with fibers. The rosemary gently plays in the background to make this more interesting. Served with carrot, celery and pepper strips it was fun and enjoyable for the kids .
This lemony rosemary lentil spread is hummus like in consistency which makes it a perfect companion for pita chips, your favorite crackers (mine happen to be olive rosemary wheat thins)or sliced veggies. The added bonus is that this cooks in a fraction of the time that you need to make hummus. If you are craving hummus but don’t have the time, this could be a quick and easy alternative, plus it comes out super smooth while with chickpeas, if you want a smooth hummus you have to go through the hassle of peeling the chickpeas.
Stephanie’s recipe calls for adding cashews for a richer dip. I left them out because I didn’t have any at the time and because I wanted the dip to stay on the lighter side.
Lemon Rosemary Red Lentil Spread
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup red lentils
2 1/2 cups water or broth
1 lemon, zested and juiced
3 sprigs fresh rosemary
Salt and pepper to taste
Olive oil, to taste
Optional: 3-4 tablespoons cashews
Saute the onion in olive oil over medium heat until lightly caramelized.
Add the garlic and stir until fragrant.
Add the lentils, cashews if using, and water.
Cook until tender, about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add the lemon juice, lemon zest, and rosemary.
Puree in a food processor or blender.
You can reduce the cooking time by soaking the lentils in water for 30 minutes before cooking. If you do so, reduce the water you add to cook the lentils by 1/2 a cup.
Feel free to play with the flavors. Instead of using lemon and rosemary try roasted red peppers, roasted garlic, olives, capers, roasted pine nuts, sun dried tomatoes
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