By nature, I'm not a confrontational person and I often shy away from advertising my dietary preferences. Really, it's my business, and as long as I know that I'm healthy, it should be of no concern to others. Of course, it's not all negative; some people are generally curious and interested in what I eat. So this recipe is one for those people who are concerned that non meat-eaters can't get enough protein from a plant based diet.
The biggest problem with the 'protein' concern that many people have is that, due to a lack of education and the impact of marketing by the meat industry, we (in Australia at least) are led to believe we need more protein than we actually do. Not to mention that this fixation on protein means that people often disregard many of the other vitamins and minerals that are essential for human health.
This power bowl, or a variation of it, is a common dinner meal for me. It covers an array of nutritional bases, is super tasty and very easy to whip up.
Serves 1 very generously
- 3/4 cup cracked wheat freekeh, rinsed well
- 1 cup dry lentils (soaked in plenty of water for 8 hours)
- 1 cup roughly chopped kale
- 2 wedges of preserved lemon
- 1/4 cup walnuts
- Good handful of fresh parsley
- 1 tablespoon of garlic infused virgin olive oil*
Meanwhile drain the soaking lentils, place in a saucepan and cover with fresh water (or liquid vegetable stock) so that it reaches about 1cm above the lentils. Bring to the boil and then allow to simmer for approximately 10 minutes, or until the lentils are cooked but still hold their shape. Throw the chopped kale into the saucepan with the lentils and cover with a lid, allowing to cook for 30 seconds to blanch the kale. Drain and set aside.
Dry roast the walnuts over the stovetop in a non-stick frypan for about 2 minutes. Make sure to constantly shake the pan so the walnuts roast evenly. Roughly chop the walnuts.
Finely dice the preserved lemon and chop the parsley.
Throw all the ingredients into a large serving bowl and roughly mix together. Drizzle over some oil and serve while still warm or at room temperature**.
*If you don't have garlic olive oil replace with regular virgin olive oil and 1 teaspoon of crushed garlic whisked in.
**For a stronger flavour let the salad sit for an hour or so before serving. This allows the flavours to intensify and be absorbed by the freekah.
Walnuts are incredibly high in Omega 3 and manganese. Phytonutrient research on the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits of walnuts has moved this food further and further up the ladder of foods that are protective against metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular problems, and type 2 diabetes.
One cup of cooked lentils provides approximately 35% of the recommended daily intake of protein. They are also high in fiber, folate, iron and vitamin B1.
Freekeh is a nutritionally dense ancient grain, and a good source of calcium, potassium, magnesium, vitamins B1 and B2.
Kale can almost be described as the 'super hero' of the cruciferous vegetable family. Research suggests regular consumption of (properly) cooked kale can lower the risk of cholesterol and some cancers and supports the bodies natural detoxification system.
Parsley is an extremely understated herb which provides high levels of vitamins K, C, A, folate and iron.
*All nutritional information has been taken from the http://www.whfoods.com/ website (except information about freekeh). I am not a qualified nutritionist so please take this information as a guide only.