Hey there –
Been off my blog for a bit to make room for some other life stuff, including starting my own garden, which has been a dream of mine for a long time. It’s not anything crazy, but it’s a start and is truly such a nourishing practice. One day, I imagine having a large garden (when I’m not living in a city) that can feed my family (at least some things!) and brings joy to everyone. There is something so amazing and Divine about planting seeds, helping them to grow, and enjoying them (whether it’s simply to brighten your home or to cook in your kitchen). I’ve realized it’s another form of yoga, just like cooking. It takes presence, devotion and patience to reap the benefits that go way beyond the surface (just like meditation & yoga, and relationships and work and ….shall I go on?).
I’ve been itching for change recently and working on learning what will nourish my soul during this season of my life, and I’m confident in saying gardening is definitely one of them.
In the kitchen, I’m feeling a bit more inspired after a period of culinary stagnation, and am remembering how very uplifting & therapeutic recipe creation is for me. So I’m back with a new recipe that you will love if you enjoy a hearty, nourishing and flavorful meal. I wish I could say it includes some of my personally harvested veggies, but they’re not ready yet!
I’ve been craving overseas travel and am hoping to explore some interesting places sometime hopefully soon. In the meantime, I can use my imagination in my kitchen.I re-visited a recipe I used to make for a dish called Mujaddara and put my spin on it. Based on a little research, Mujaddara originates from Lebanon and is considered the “peasant’s comfort food.” I find that funny because it really is delicious and it makes it sound like the King’s left-overs or something. But I’m assuming it was called this because plant-based meals are typically cheaper to produce than meat-based meals. Perfect example of why eating well does not need to be expensive. The “comfort food” piece of it is definitely true — it’s filling, satisfying and nourishing all at once. According to this
travel site Lebanon is the place for delicious food and wine, rich history and friendly people — despite its location/travel warning. I hope to visit one day, hang out with the “peasants” and eat Mujaddara.
While it is a plant-based meal, it’s full of protein from the lentils and peanuts (and also the yogurt in the sauce). Of course, you can always add some chicken or fish if you like. Plus, it’s got a nice amount of fat to keep you satisfied (butter, oil, nuts and whole milk yogurt). I used green peanut oil (or “the south’s hot new oil,” according to the NYT) from a local (Georgia) farm called Oliver Farm, which gives it a slightly nutty/earthy flavor, but you can definitely use olive oil in its place. And in my rendition of Mujaddara, everything is served on top of the hearty (and currently my favorite) whole grain, farro.
In the recipe instructions, you will see that I say to cook the farro like pasta. Just try it. It changed my life. That sounds dramatic, but I am dramatic. Seriously, cook it like pasta and lay it on a sheet pan (see below photo). It will be the perfect texture — not all weird and chewy (and frustrating) like it is often when you follow the instructions on the farro package.
I love spicy foods. But if you’re not a fan, cool. Just exclude the cayenne and maybe cut back on the garam marsala. If you’re not familiar with
garam marsala, it’s simply a mixture of other spices like cinnamon and cumin. You can make your own or find it on the spice aisle of most grocery stores. If you like, you can sub in cinnamon for the garam marsala, especially if you’re not a spicy girl/guy.
And the currants go well because they are not overwhelmingly sweet – I think they fit in well with the other flavors and textures. But feel free to make it yours and try a different dried fruit. Finally, also feel free to sub in a different nut. While I love all nuts, I am partial to peanuts, and it’s not just because I work for America’s peanut farmers! They truly are an amazing combo of nutrition and taste. However, if you prefer, this recipe would also be great with lightly chopped cashews or almonds.
You can serve it by itself or add some simple greens on the side. Enjoy!
With love & light,
Mujaddara with Currants, Peanuts & Spicy Yogurt Sauce
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1 cup farro, uncooked
1 tbsp unsalted butter
1 tbsp green peanut oil (or olive oil)
1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups water
1/2 cup green lentils
1/4 cup currants
1/2 tsp garam masala
pinch of cayenne pepper (add couple more pinches if you prefer spicy)
1/4 cup roasted peanuts, lightly chopped.
salt & pepper to taste
1/3 cup full-fat, plan Greek yogurt
2 tbsp fresh mint, minced
1 tbsp green peanut oil (or olive oil)
juice of 1 lemon
1/2 tsp garam masala
pinch of salt
pinch of cayenne pepper (add a couple more pinches if you prefer spicy)
Cook farro like you would pasta -- Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add farro, cook for about 10 minutes (stirring occasionally), strain in sink.
While farro is cooking, heat a skillet over medium heat and melt the butter with olive oil. When butter is melted, add onions, a turn of salt and a few turns of pepper.
Saute the onions until they soften and start to brown, stirring continuously. Continue to cook until they are tender and golden brown, for a total of about 10 minutes.
Turn the heat up to medium-high, add the water and lentils. Bring to a simmer, then reduce heat to low, stir in the garlic and cook lentils and onions for 10 minutes.
Uncover and add in the currants, garam masala and cayenne pepper. Re-cover the pan and cook until lentils are getting tender, for about 15 minutes.
While they are cooking, make the yogurt sauce (See below).
Take the pan off the stove and let it sit for 5 more minutes, still covered, and then drain any remaining water off using the strainer in the sink.
Pour lentil mixture back into pan or into a bowl, then toss in the peanuts.
Add salt & pepper to taste.
Serve over farro and top with spicy yogurt sauce.
For Spicy Yogurt Sauce
Combine all ingredients. Omit cayenne pepper and decrease garam masala to 1/4 tsp if you prefer a milder sauce.
Whole Self Nutrition http://www.thewholeyogird.com/ Disclaimer: Although I am employed by the National Peanut Board as a registered dietitian nutritionist and communication specialist, this post is not related to my work with the board.