Mango Lentil Salad With Cilantro-Lime Dressing

One of the best things about salad is you can really try combining ingredients that you wouldn’t normally pair up, and it usually works wonderfully.  There was a time when my husband did all the cooking in our home, having a restaurant background, he just kind of fit the role.  He always came up with the best combinations of food, and I always asked, how did you think of that?  His response is, he likes these two foods, so why not pair them up?  Well, yesterday I had a perfectly ripe, juicy mango begging to be eaten, and I was really in the mood for a lentil salad.  So I cooked up some french lentils and started thinking up some awesome flavour combinations for this salad.  French lentils, also known as du Puy lentils, are really the best type of lentil to use in salads.  Green, brown, and red lentils are perfect in soups because they are soft and tend to fall apart, while du Puy lentils work better in salads than in soups and stews because they hold their shape really well when cooked properly.

Mango Lentil Salad

I find this salad very unique, with Indian flavours from the cumin and coriander, to Mexican flavours with the mango and lime.  All in all, a refreshing salad, with a great sustenance from the lentils.

Have you ever combined lentils with fruit in your salad? What did you think?

I wanted to add something funny, this morning as I was getting dressed, I actually found a french lentil in my hair.  It was a hippy moment, to say the least. :)

Also, I am submitting this recipe to Canadian Lentils Recipe Revelations Challenge!  I would love if you would head over to their Pinterest page and either like/share/pin my post to help a fellow lentil-lovin’ girl out. :)  Thanks so much!

Mango Lentil Salad

Mango Lentil Salad With Cilantro-Lime Dressing

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Yield: 4-6 servings

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup dry du Puy lentils (about 2 cups cooked)
  • 1 mango, chopped
  • 1/2 red onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons cold pressed extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves + more for garnish

Instructions

  1. Put the lentils in a fine strainer and pick through them, discarding any bits of stone that may be present. Rinse under cold running water. Place in a pot and cover with 3-4 inches of water, bring to a boil, reduce to simmer. Check lentils after 15-20 minutes, they should have slight tooth, you want them al dente. Remove from heat, drain and place under cold running water to stop the cooking process. Once cooled slightly, combine the lentils with mango and onion in a large bowl.
  2. In a small jar or bowl, combine the olive oil, coriander, cumin, lime juice and cilantro leaves. Pour over the lentils, mango, and onion. Toss to combine. Garnish with some more cilantro leaves. Serve.
http://loveandlentils.com/2015/01/29/mango-lentil-salad-with-cilantro-lime-dressing/

Mango Lentil Salad IMG_5223-2

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Roasted Sweet Potato Lentil-Quinoa Pilaf

The title should be even longer.  Roasted Sweet Potato Lentil-Quinoa Pilaf with Chili-Maple Vinaigrette.  But that’s a mouthful, right? I just want to mention every amazing flavour in this dish!

Sweet Potato Lentil Quinoa Pilaf - Vegan

So, January is almost over…how is your quest for healthy living going?  I, for one, am really focusing on eating the foods which will help me deal with my condition, PCOS.  I don’t want to bore you with a huge science lesson, but basically, this is a condition for which there is no cure.  The only treatment is medication or diet, or a combination of both.  I have chosen to work solely with my diet, and so far, so good.  The thing is, I am to avoid processed foods, wheat, sugar, and dairy (the most important ones).  Foods which cause inflammation are to be completely avoided.  Foods with a high Glycemic Index which contribute to type 2 Diabetes, also need to be kept off your plate because people living with PCOS are at higher risk for developing type 2 Diabetes in their lifetime.   I find the hardest one to really abstain from is sugar, but that’s only because it’s so darn addictive.  Like, truly, physically addictive.  So, I focused on eliminating it completely over the last two weeks, and, luckily – there are dates.  Nature’s candy.  To the rescue! :)  What does a PCOS diet consist of?  Lots of fruit and vegetables that are low in GI, beans, nuts, legumes, tofu, brown rice, whole grains, lots of high fiber foods, and good fats like avocado and nut butters.

So, all this has led to even bigger plates of veggies and whole grains, and truly, I know this is how I am supposed to eat.  I feel much better.  Less bloated.  My skin feels better.  I feel like I am exactly where I need to be.  If PCOS is something you are also living with, do feel free to share your experiences!  I am happy to discuss it with whoever is interested. :) [Read more…]

Forelle Pear Green Smoothie

I could bet that today, four days after New Year’s, millions of people are starting their day off with a green smoothie of some sort.  Green smoothies are always associated with cleanses or detox or optimal health, but you know what, they can also be darn delicious.  Today I am sharing a very kid-friendly green smoothie that is sweet and fruity, and although green, no weird flavours here.

green smoothie with pear and apple

I used forelle pears for this smoothie, as they are cute and adorable and bite-size.  Okay fine, not only because of that, also they are quite sweet and have a bit of a cinammon spice flavour making them perfect for kid-friendly snacks or smoothies.  This variety is only available from about September until December.  I call this smoothie my winter blend; because of the pear variety and also because it’s not a freezing cold drink.  If you want to make it colder, go ahead and add a few ice cubes.

This smoothie is so easy to whip up and makes for a great addition to your healthy eating goals.  Let’s get blending.

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Forelle Pear Green Smoothie

Yield: 1 large smoothie

Ingredients

  • 1 cup plain almond milk
  • 1 cup baby spinach
  • 1 forelle pear (or any small pear will do)
  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1/2 a small apple (I used gala)
  • 1 medjool date, pitted

Instructions

  1. Add all of the ingredients into your blender and blend at high speed until smooth.
http://loveandlentils.com/2015/01/04/forelle-pear-green-smoothie/

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green smoothie with pear and apple

I hope you all have a relaxing Sunday and if you aren’t already obsessed with Instagram, come join the fun.  Follow me here! :)

sophia

Bittersweet Chocolate Truffles

So, we’re literally 5 days away from Christmas!  I wonder if you’ve all finished your shopping, or handmade gift-making, or baking?  Well, this is what I have been making in my kitchen for friends and family this year, and besides being totally irresistible, they are so unbelievably simple to make!

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 There are several options you can use when making these delectable truffles; you can use semi-sweet chocolate instead of bittersweet if you choose, but I personally love dark chocolate.  Then you have so many options for your coatings.  Toasted coconut, chopped nuts, cocoa, icing sugar, whatever your little heart desires!

Bittersweet Chocolate Truffles

This is also a really fun activity to do with your kiddos.  I liked to do the rolling of the truffle balls and let my little guy dip them in the bowls with the coatings.

Bittersweet Chocolate Truffles

Yield: 20-22 truffles

Ingredients

  • 300 grams bittersweet baking chocolate (I like to use Camino)
  • 3/4 cup full fat coconut milk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 pinch sea salt
  • Assorted Coatings:
  • 1/2 cup toasted shredded coconut
  • 1/2 cup hazelnuts, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder

Instructions

  1. Chop the chocolate into small pieces then place into a small saucepan. Melt the chocolate over the lowest heat, stirring frequently.
  2. Whisk in the coconut milk, vanilla extract and salt. Whisk until smooth.
  3. Remove from heat and pour into a bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and place in freezer for approx. 30 minutes. Remove from freezer, stir with a spoon, breaking down any hard pieces, then place in the fridge for another 30 minutes. If it's not firm after this time, you can place it in the fridge for 10-20 more minutes until you have a firm texture that is easy to mould.
  4. Place your coatings into separate shallow bowls. Have a baking tray ready to place your truffle balls on.
  5. With your hands, roll chocolate into little balls. Roll balls into coating of your choice, pressing in and covering the balls completely. Repeat until all chocolate is used, alternating between coatings.
http://loveandlentils.com/2014/12/20/bittersweet-chocolate-truffles/

To finish off, you can package these cuties in mason jars, mugs, or even little ramekins and give them to your friends and family for the holidays.  Have fun with it.  Remember to keep them in the fridge until you’re ready to gift them or eat them. :)

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I wish you all a peaceful and relaxing holiday season.  I know it can get quite hectic this time of year, but cherish the time with your loved ones and friends, enjoy the food, the wine, and the holiday spirit.  

Best wishes xx

Sophia

Vitamix S30 Personal Blender Review, Recipes & Giveaway!

Hello friends! I hope you are all doing great and keeping afloat in the hustle and bustle of the holiday season.  This time of year usually means lots of time spent in the kitchen, cooking for family and friends and baking awesome treats.  I love giving the gift of food to my family and friends for Christmas, it’s always greatly appreciated and you can really get creative with what you bake, and how you package and present it.   My son, of course, has a list of toys on his Wish List. :)

I am beyond excited to tell you Christmas is coming early around here, folks!  I have a huge giveaway for one of my amazing readers!  I was lucky to be included in Vitamix’s Canadian launch of their personal blender, the Vitamix S30.  They very generously provided me with a blender to test, review, go crazy making recipes with, and ultimately, fall in love with.  I use my S30 almost every single day, for smoothies, dips, sauces, and also for my favourite Sunflower Seed Pesto recipe which I will be sharing with you all today.

Vitamix S30  

First, I want to tell you a bit about this little powerhouse!  Do not be fooled by its size.  The S30 is crazy powerful, with a 790 watt motor, which translates into super smooth greens (no chewing those smoothies anymore! :) )

The Vitamix S30 arrived with a big book of recipes, in both English and French.  It’s filled with beautiful photos and recipes ranging from beverages, dips/spreads, dressings, soups, sauces and desserts.  This was a really nice added bonus to inspire new creations!  

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I tried several recipes from the book, and today I’ll also be sharing one from it.  This delicious Cranberry Smoothie was so easy to make, not to mention delicious and nutritious.  

Vitamix Cranberry Smoothie
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Ingredients
  1. 1/3 cup ice cubes
  2. 1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries
  3. 1/4 lemon, peeled
  4. 4 pitted dates, halved
  5. 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  6. 3/4 cup plain unsweetened rice milk
Instructions
  1. Place all ingredients into the Vitamix 20-ounce container in the order listed and secure blade.
  2. Turn the dial to 1 and slowly increase the speed to 10.
  3. Blend for 40 to 45 seconds or until desired consistency is reached.
Love and Lentils http://loveandlentils.com/
Vitamix S30 IMG_7894-2 IMG_7904-2 IMG_7912-2

One of its greatest features is the portability of its container! In addition to the 40-ounce compact container which you would use for sauces, soups, etc., you get a 20-ounce personal container with a flip-top lid.  This is so convenient for blending smoothies on the go.  You can blend the smoothie directly in this container, remove the base, screw on the lid, and grab and go! It’s brilliant!  Honestly – in love with this feature!  

I’m not sure about you, but I have a pretty small kitchen, with limited counter space.  I like to keep my blender on the counter because I always notice I’ll slack on the smoothie-making if I store it and have to pull it out when I need it.  But, I hate the bulkiness and amount of room blenders normally take up.  The great thing about the S30 is its sleek and compact design which allows for keeping it on the counter without taking up a ton of room.  It measures approx 20”h x 9”w.  Also, the blender-base is removable and dishwasher safe, making things even easier. 

I made several of my own recipes using the Vitamix, including my homemade Hazelnut Spread, Berry Green Breakfast Smoothie, and a new recipe, Sunflower Seed Pesto.  I created this recipe to satisfy our love for basil pesto, but to make it nut-free.  My son started kindergarten this year, and his entire school is nut-free.  This has become a staple recipe in my house, the little guy loves it, and so do we. :)  It’s also vegan, to allow even more people the option of eating it! 

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So, here it goes:

Sunflower Seed Pesto

Yield: 1/2 cup

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh basil leaves
  • 1/3 cup unsalted shelled sunflower seeds
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • pinch of freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. Place all ingredients into your blender. Blend at low speed for 30 seconds or until desired consistency is reached. You don't want to blend until it is a runny pesto, a thicker consistency is best.
  2. Serve this pesto with your favourite pastas, as a base for your pizzas, sandwich spreads, toss with veggies, and even mix it into your salad dressings.
http://loveandlentils.com/2014/12/14/vitamix-s30-personal-blender-review-recipes-giveaway/

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Vegan Sunflower Seed Pesto 

Time for the fun!  Vitamix will be giving away one S30 blender to a lucky reader.  You must be a resident of Canada or the USA to enter.  This is a phenomenal value, worth over $400!  I’m so excited, guys!  Be sure to share this with your friends and family!  Enter using the Rafflecopter entries below.  Best of luck to you all. 

Thanks for being here,

sophia

 

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