Food Matters | Lentil and Cauliflower Rice Tacos
by Jeanne Parks
I cook vegetarian meals several times a week. It’s one way I am able to keep my grocery budget expense manageable so I can purchase high quality, pasture-raised meats from Harmon Creek Farms. As I determine my weekly vegetarian meals, I’m mindful to include alternative protein sources from foods such as beans, legumes, quinoa and nuts.
What you eat matters, so let’s talk about lentils and cauliflower (two of my favorite, versatile ingredients). Lentils are a legume (a seed that grows inside a pod) and although small are a mighty in nutrition. They help to lower cholesterol. Their high fiber content prevents a rapid rise in blood sugar levels, therefore a beneficial for managing blood-sugar disorders. The are an excellent source of B-vitamins, folate, magnesium, iron, manganese and potassium. That’s not all! Lentils are low in calories while high in protein. One cups of cooked lentils contains 18 grams of protein, 40 grams of carbohydrates and 1 gram of fat and 140 calories (source). I prefer to soak and sprout my lentils to help break down the phytic acid allowing better absorption of the nutrients and making digestion easier. You can learn more about the importance of soaking and sprouting lentils with demonstrated instruction on my Facebook video posts (there are 3 videos to watch).
Cauliflower is a member of the cruciferous vegetable family and boasts these great nutritional facts: 1) it helps fight cancer, 2) it has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant-rich to help boost your heart and brain health, 3) it contains impressive amounts of vitamin C, plus vitamin K, beta-carotene, magnesium, B-vitamins, fiber, potassium and manganese. Cauliflower is a great source of fiber, has beneficial digestion enzymes, and supports your body’s ability to detox. For those seeking a vegetable to use as a grain substitute, cauliflower is ideal.
Lentil and Cauliflower Rice Tacos have become frequent recipe on my meal plan. In addition to the fantastic nutritional components I just mentioned, this recipe is easy to make, tastes amazing and can easily be made in large batches providing a freezer meal option for another time. Or, perhaps after tasting it you’ll be like me, I savor the leftovers and enjoy it at breakfast with eggs or over roasted sweet potatoes.
Give this a try this week and let me know what you think!
- 3 cups water
- 1 cup organic dried lentils, brown or green
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 teaspoon of coconut oil or avocado oil
- 1 large head of cauliflower
- 4 garlic cloves, minced,
- 1 small yellow onion
- 2 tablespoons chili powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon cumin
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- ¼ teaspoon chipotle powder or cayenne pepper
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Sort and rinse the lentils. Place in a medium-sized saucepan with 3 cups of water, 2 cloves of garlic and a dash of salt. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Lentils should be tender but not mushy. Remove from heat and drain well.
- Prepare the cauliflower “rice” by removing the leaves and steam and cutting the cauliflower into manageable pieces. Using a food processor, pulse until pieces are rice size.
- In a large skillet over medium-high heat, add the coconut oil and onion, sauté until it begins to brown. Next add the cauliflower and garlic and sauté for 3- 4 minutes. Add in the seasonings: chili powder, salt, cumin, smoked paprika, and chipotle or cayenne pepper. Lastly, add in the cooked lentils. Cook on medium heat until heated through and flavors are combined. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Enjoy in a lettuce wrap or warmed corn tortilla and your favorite taco toppings!
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