This recipe appears as the topping on puff pastry galettes in Ottolenghi‘s recipe book. But as you can guess, I’m always looking for ways to cut out the calories and keep in the flavour. I think I have succeeded here because this dish is spectacular without the galettes. The creaminess of the Greek Yoghurt (full fat is always best for taste and health!) makes this dish taste decadent and the delicate spices are great for those trying lentils for the first time.
When we cut potatoes, rice, pasta and grains in general out of our meals, I went on a long hunt for alternatives to fill out bellies that were used to being loaded with hi-carb staples. There’s only so many times a week one can eat cabbage and sweet potatoes and even though pulses aren’t allowed in the paleo regime, I decided that once a week or so wouldn’t hurt. I don’t agree with the idea that beans are toxic (as stated in the paleo literature) and I think pulses are a wonderful source of nutrition.
If you’re feeling lazy, just buy a bag/tin of pre-cooked lentils, but do try and get puy (AKA French) lentils – they are the best kind. They hold they’re shape well and they have a superior taste and texture. In the UK The Merchant Gourmet brand have both dry and cooked varieties. In Oz try McKenzie French Style Lentils and I’m not sure about any mainstream brands in the US – but if anyone can help, please let me know. You can usually get these lentils in a deli or specialty food shop, possibly even Asian grocers.
This is a great side dish for any meat, and could easily be turned into a substantial vegetarian main meal, by serving on galettes as per the original recipe. If you don’t have coriander or mint, don’t worry, you could pop in some parsley or even basil.
Creamy Lentils and Spinach Recipe
200g puy lentils
2 bay leaves
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1 onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
250g Greek Yoghurt (Greek is best, but natural will do if you have no choice)
50 g baby spinach
handful of chopped coriander
handful of chopped mint
juice of 1 lemon
Cook the lentils in a litre of boiling water and the bay leaves. Drain and cool.
Saute the onion, garlic and spices. Let cool.
Combine lentils and onion mixture and the remaining ingredients. Season to taste.
Drizzle with olive oil and/or Pomegranate syrup.