With the winter evenings getting colder, you may be on the hunt for some warming vegan meals that are packed with protein and nutrients. If you’re looking to expand your roster of healthy plant-based dinners, this turmeric and ginger lentils dish is a great place to start.
Lentils are a hugely popular – and generally very cheap – vegan protein source. They are one of the oldest known crops, and have been a staple in human diets for thousands of years. Lentils are packed with essential nutrients, including fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Their high protein content, comparable to that of some meat, coupled with the absence of cholesterol, makes lentils a popular choice among meat-free eaters.
The below recipe, which comes from Natali Eleftheriou (owner of Natilicious Food), shows you how to make a delicious vegan lentil recipe containing ginger and turmeric. Both of these are thought to have a wide range of benefits.
Benefits of ginger
Ginger, a flowering plant whose rhizome, ginger root, is widely used as a spice and folk medicine, offers a range of health benefits supported by scientific research. It’s well-known for its potential anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, which can help reduce oxidative stress resulting from an excess of free radicals in the body. Ginger is particularly effective in alleviating nausea and vomiting, making it a go-to remedy for motion sickness and morning sickness during pregnancy.
Benefits of turmeric
Turmeric, a bright yellow spice derived from the root of the Curcuma longa plant, has been used for centuries in cooking and traditional medicine. It contains a compound called curcumin, which has been studied for its potential health benefits.
A study published earlier this year found that curcumin could relieve indigestion as well omeprazole, which is a common over-the-counter medicine prescribed by doctors. Turmeric is also thought to have powerful anti-inflammatory effects, and studies have also found that it can boost brain health.
Ginger and turmeric lentils
- 150 g lentils
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 carrot
- 1/2 leek
- 4 cloves garlic
- 1 small piece of ginger
- 1 tbsp short grain rice
- 1 veggie cube
- 100 ml olive oil
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 1/2 tsp of each curry powder, oregano
- 1/4 tsp of each thyme, cumin and ginger powder
- Salt and pepper
- A handful of fresh spinach, roughly chopped
- 1/2 lemon, zest and juice
- Soak the lentils the night before
- The next day, drain and rinse the lentils and add them in a medium size pot
- Cover with 2L of water, the bay leaves and boil on a medium heat for 30-40 minutes
- Then prepare your veggies, peel the carrot and cut it in small pieces
- Cut the leek in half and then slice it thinly
- I like to grate my ginger and garlic, but feel free to cut it if you prefer
- Remove any foam on top of the lentils while they are boiling and stir them occasionally
- When the lentils are almost cooked, (check by squeezing few of them with your fingers, be careful, they are hot!) add the rice and veggie cube
- At this point, your lentils must have some water, if not add a little bit more boiling water to help the rice cook
- In a separate, smaller pot, add the olive oil, carrot and leek along with all the spices, a generous pinch of salt and pepper and sauté on a medium to low heat, for around 8 minutes
- Make sure to stir both the lentils and the veggies
- After 7-8 minutes approximately, the carrot and leek mixture must have softened. Add it to your lentils and stir to combine
- Give it a couple more minutes on the stove, and check the seasoning in the meantime
- Turn off the heat and add the chopped spinach
- Finish with lemon zest and lemon juice
- Enjoy with a fresh salad, black olives (I prefer Cypriot or Kalamata ones) and bread