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kale and lentils with tahini sauce

How’s it going with the holiday eating? I’ve had two holiday dinners so far, and one more is around the corner. Plus the so delicious meals of leftovers and holiday baking I’ve been sneaking in. I have two strategies for holiday eating. The first, which I’ve already mentioned, is to eat as healthy as possible for as long as possible leading into the holidays. The second, for when the holidays are upon us, is to not to beat myself up about it and enjoy holiday food guilt free. I mean, really, if lunches of nothing but leftover stuffing or breakfasts of mince tarts were a regular occurrence in my life then I’d have a problem, but the number of times per year those things happen can be counted on one hand without even using all of the fingers. Basically, I’ve enjoyed my mince tart breakfasts, and I’m over it. 
kale and lentils with tahini sauce

If you need a break from holiday eating or you’re ready to move on, I’ve got something for you. It isn’t the most photogenic dish, but I assure you it is in all other ways practically perfect. This is something I made after the week of cookie and scone baking (and eating) I did in Stockholm before heading out west for the holidays. I needed something green, filling and hearty, yet clean feeling. I came across this recipe and it fit the bill just perfectly. Kale is lightly steamed, tossed with lentils, and then a lemony tahini dressing. This makes a fine meal on it’s own (and a fine lunch I made of it for several days in a row), but if you’re looking for a little extra something, a fried or poached egg over the top does the trick quite nicely. kale and lentils with tahini sauce

One year ago: Stuffed Acorn Squash

Kale and Lentils with Tahini Sauce Recipe:

This dish comes together quite quickly as is, but I’m willing to bet – and I haven’t tried this, this is only an educated guess – you could skip the steaming and just massage the dressing into raw kale and you’d end up with almost exactly the same thing.

Recipe adapted from Real Simple

Serves 4

.

1 large bunch of kale, de-stemmed and torn into pieces (about 10 cups of kale)
1 cup lentils (I used small green lentils), rinsed and picked over
3 Tbsp tahini paste
3 Tbsp lemon juice
3 Tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper

.

Start with rinsing the lentils in cold water and checking for any stones. Bring a medium pot of water to the boil and salt it well, then add the lentils. Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer the lentils, covered, until they’re just barely tender. About 20 minutes. Drain, and set aside.

In  a small bowl, whisk together tahini, lemon juice, olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste.

De-stem the kale and tear it into small pieces, then give it a good wash. Set a large pot (I used my largest to accomodate the kale) over high heat. Add 1/4 cup of water to the bottom, then the kale, and then cover with a lid. Cook the kale, stirring every couple of minutes, for 6-8 minutes, until bright green and tender. Remove from the heat, and drain well. Either let it sit until it is cool enough to handle, or rinse quickly under cold water, then squeeze the water out of the kale.

Toss the kale and lentils together in a large bowl. Add half the tahini dressing and toss to coat. Serve in bowls with the remaining dressing drizzled over top.

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Kale is a nutritional powerhouse! It is extraordinarily rich in micronutrients, dietary fiber, anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory nutrients, and cancer fighting glucosinolates. Kale is a good source of vitamin C, beta-carotene, manganese, and contains nearly twice the vitamin K (essential for blood clotting and also an important anti-inflammatory agent) than any other cruciferous vegetable (broccoli, cabbage, etc).  Iron, magnesium, vitamin E, folate, and phosphorous are among the complement of vital minerals found in kale. The dietary fiber in kale is known to reduce blood cholesterol levels. One recent study showed that this benefit may be improved by lightly steaming kale for about 5 minutes before consuming.

Lentils are a great source of dietary fiber,manganese, iron, and protein.

All text and photos © The Muffin Myth 2012

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