Hey guys! It is a bit of a dreary morning here, so I figured I’d brighten up the day with a delicious meal we are eating for lunches this week. I can’t complain about the rain since the weekend was perfect for all of the activities we had the pleasure of joining in on.
Saturday morning was another stunning day to visit the local farmers market. I knew I had gone a little nuts buying quinoa lately since it seemed to be on sale everywhere, so I just needed some fresh vegetables to round out an easy meal to prep for the week. One of the benefits of it staying warm for so long around here is that the market does seem to have lots of great produce still!
In addition to my quinoa stash, I always have lots of dry beans and legumes ready to put to use in my recipes. Since I decided on my meal plan early enough, I had time to sprout my lentils before I used them in this dish. Legumes in general are packed with fiber and plant-based protein, making them an excellent addition to a healthy diet. Sprouting may unleash even more of these benefits. There is some research that shows it makes the nutrients more bio-available for our bodies to be able to utilize and vitamin C content may be higher in sprouted lentils. For some people, sprouting may also make them easier to digest (less gas!!).
There are lots of how-to blogs and videos on sprouting out there, but it is fairly easy. I have these lids that you can use on top of mason jars that come in handy. I used a cup of dry brown lentils to start. Place your lentils in a large jar (enough room for them to grow), and rinse then drain out the water. Cover with fresh water then soak overnight or for at least 8 hours. After soaking, rinse and drain again then leave in the jar to start the sprouting process. Continue to rinse and drain every 8 hours or so. You should start to see the little tail sprouting within 24 hours. Normally I would continue this process for 2-3 days, but since I was going to cook these a bit I used them after about 36 hours of sprouting time.
To finish everything off, I wanted a really good sauce to bring all of the vegetables and quinoa together. There are probably a million variations of a peanut or other nut butter-type sauces out there, but I don’t think that’s a bad thing because it’s so creamy, rich and flavorful! The fat from the nut butter also has nutritional benefits as certain nutrients can only be absorbed when there is a good source of fat present in the meal. I made my sauce first to have it ready when everything else was complete.
Almond Butter Sauce
Makes about 1 cup
- 1/2 cup almond butter (preferably the only ingredient should be almonds)
- 3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
- 3 tablespoons low sodium tamari (if gluten-free) or soy sauce
- 1-inch knob of fresh ginger, minced
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced
Mix all of your ingredients together in a bowl until blended together.
Makes 6-8 servings
- 2 cups sprouted brown or green lentils*
- 1 cup quinoa
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded & minced
- 1 red bell pepper, seeded & chopped
- 1 crown of broccoli, cut into bite-sized pieces (about 4 cups)
- 3 heaping cups spinach or other leafy greens, roughly chopped
- Almond butter sauce (recipe above)
- Sunflower seeds or slivered almonds, for serving
Cook your quinoa according to package directions. Set aside when done.
While the quinoa is cooking, prepare all of your vegetables for the stir fry. Place your onion and peppers in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes, adding water as needed to prevent sticking. Add in your broccoli and continue cooking for an additional 10 minutes, or until the broccoli starts to soften.
Next, add your sprouted lentils into the pan with the rest of the vegetables and cook for 5 more minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and mix in your spinach, cooked quinoa and the almond butter sauce.
Sprinkle with some nuts or seeds and serve!
*You may also use pre-cooked lentils here, but I like the texture of the sprouted.
I hope you all enjoy this one! As always, let me know what you think! 🙂