A couple months back I bought my first Vegetarian cookbook, “Cook Without a Book Meatless Meals” by one of my favorite cookbook authors Pam Anderson. I’ve been wanting to change up our weekly menu plan and include a couple of meatless meals for various reasons. My first consideration for this change is health and wellness. Since I have borderline high cholesterol it couldn’t hurt me to forgo animal protein now and then. I would eventually like to buy all organic meat but it is a budget buster! If we cut back on how much and how often we eat it perhaps I can fit it into our budget. My biggest challenge around here will be getting my meat loving hubby to embrace the meatless meals. He doesn’t feel like it’s a real meal if he can’t sink his teeth into some meat! Even so I am moving forward with this idea in baby steps.
The recipe for Chili Lentils for tacos called for brown lentils which I couldn’t find so I ended up using green lentils and although they took longer to cook than the recipe said, they worked perfectly.
This recipe goes together quickly and uses simple pantry items. If you have never cooked with lentils don’t worry they are super easy to work with. No pre-soaking is required and they cook much quicker than a dried bean. Did I mention that they are also pretty economical so they are easy on your budget as well.
What you really want to know is how does it taste? Incredible! Oh my gosh – these chili lentils are amazing. They have a “meaty” texture to them and the seasonings were perfect. I made them to take to a friend’s house for a taco bar and everyone loved them. Even the meat lovers! The leftovers heat up well and have even more flavor than the first day. This recipe is going into our regular rotation as a quick and easy meal. Not only is it tasty, meatless, economical and quick, but it’s also low calorie. What’s not to love? For a 1/2 cup serving it’s only 79 calories! If you follow Weight Watchers it’s only 2 WWPP! Stuff the filling into your favorite tortilla, pita bread, flat bread, baked potato or serve it over a bed of romaine. I think it will freeze well too and since it makes a huge batch there is plenty left over to do just that.
Edited after original post this morning to include a photo of my tacos made the second day. The lentils reheated nicely and had tons of flavor!
Chili Lentils for Tacos
- 1 pound brown lentils, rinsed (I used green lentils and increased the cooking time)
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 onion finely chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1/4 cup chili powder
- 2 tablespoons ground cumin
- 1 can (15 oz) tomatoes diced
- salt & pepper to taste
Bring 5 cups of water and lentils to a boil in a covered 12 inch skillet. Reduce heat to medium and cook until the water is almost absorbed and the lentils are just tender about 12 minutes. (Note: I used green lentils and they took 20-25 minutes to cook.) Turn off heat.
Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, chili powder, cumin, and oregano and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the cooked lentils and canned tomatoes. Reduce heat to medium low and cook until most of the liquid has evaporated, about 5 minutes. Adjust the seasoning, including a generous sprinkling of salt and pepper.
Yield: 7 cups (The recipe says 6 cups, but I measured mine and got 7 cups)
Serving size: 1/14 of a recipe (2.8 ounces) about 1/2 cup
Amount Per Serving; Calories 79.26,Total Fat 2.72g, Saturated Fat 0.25g, Cholesterol 0mg, Sodium 80.13mg, Potassium 286.19mg, Total Carbohydrates 11.34g, Fiber 4.17g, Sugar 1.13g, Protein 4.03g WWPP 2
Source: Cook Without a Book Meatless Meals, Author: Pam Anderson
Tortilla Land sent me this nice sample kit to try their uncooked tortillas. I actually already buy these at my local Costco. My future son in law told us about them and my family has been hooked on them from the first bite! I took a couple packages of them to our friend’s house for the taco bar. They were met with rave reviews! Everyone said they were so much better than the premade tortillas sold at the grocery store. The texture and flavor are outstanding and so worth the few minutes it takes to cook them in a skillet. Just heat up a non stick skillet to 400 degrees, no butter or oil required. Place one tortilla in pan and cook for 30 seconds until slightly golden and tortilla begins to puff. Turn over and cook for another 30 seconds. Easy! Use the Tortilla Land store locator to see where they are sold in your area.
My friends even thought the tortillas would be a nice substitute for naan bread which is pricey and the fresh cooked tortillas could easily be served with an Indian dish. I don’t usually eat flour tortillas as I prefer corn or whole wheat. Tortilla Land also has corn and whole wheat tortillas which I would love to try. My family and friends highly reccommend these tortillas for their fresh flavor and awesome texture. WWPP 4.
Disclosure: Tortilla Land sent me three packages of tortillas to try as well as recipe cards and an oven mitt. I was not compensated for the review and the ideas and opinions expressed are mine and my family and friends. The cookbook was purchased with my own money and I was not asked to review the cookbook.
Yesterday daughter Katy and I wedding shopped until we dropped. By the time we got home we were exhausted and our feet were hurting. On the way home we went throught the drive through at Chick Fil A for her. I managed to throw together a salad with tons of fresh fruit and left over grilled chicken for myself. After the kitchen was cleaned up we headed for the family room where she fell asleep on the couch and I dozed off in my big comfy chair. Why is shopping so much work?
Today we meet with the catering coordinator to finalize the menu and wedding day plans! We are going to try and do some internet shopping for things that seem to be sold out locally. It’s wedding season and the stores don’t seem to stock enough supplies to go around. Even the store clerks tell us that things just fly off the shelf as soon as they get them. Why then don’t they stock more? Forgive me for whining but it’s so frustrating to not be ablet to purchase things locally that you need.
Even though things are hectic I am managing to keep my exercise and food intake in check. Healthy eating and exerise are important factors in helping me navigate this busy time in my life. Our first stop yesterday was the local Farmer’s Market.
These organic locally grown strawberries are so sweet you would think they had been dipped in sugar! The apricots are also super sweet. This is my favorite time of year for the Farmer’s Market.
Add Your Thoughts
Do you eat any meatless meals?
Have you tried lentils?