Sometimes, even the most joyful cooks fall into trouble. Maybe you're too busy to cook. Maybe you want to avoid your kitchen. Maybe you're just tired. The world may seem bleak, but don't despair! You're not alone, and - more importantly - there are things you can make without trying, so you can still remain nourished and sustained until you pull yourself together. After all, there's nothing like a good homemade meal that makes everything seem a little bit more tolerable.
In times of stress, I turn to the best legume ever - the lentil. The lentil is always there for me. She's flexible, and never complains. The lentil is as low maintenance as I want her to be, but she'll jazz up if I need her to. Plus, she has more protein per calorie than red meat! Lentil, I love you.
When I'm super busy and know that I won't have a lot of time to cook for a few days, I usually make a big batch of lentil soup. The no-brainer recipe equation I made up in my head goes like this:
1 part lentils + 2 parts veggie stock + 1 part canned tomatoes + 2 part greens = yummy meals for days.
That's it! This equation, unlike the ones you may have learned in school, is infinitely adjustable and forgiving. Thank god. Now for the recipe inclined:
1 onion, diced
2 big cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups lentils (today I used green cause that's what I had on hand)
3 cups veggie stock or water
1 14oz can diced tomatoes
3 enormous handfuls of fresh greens (today I used spinach. My first choice is always kale, but any kind of green, like chard or turnip greens, will work too. Use what you love.)
juice of 1 lemon
salt and pepper to taste
In a soup pot, heat some olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and saute for three minutes, or until onions begin to soften. Add garlic and stir, cooking until onions are nearly translucent and garlic begins to brown. Dump lentils into the pot and stir. Add veggie stock and bring to a boil. Turn the heat to low, and simmer for about 15 minutes. At this point, add the can of tomatoes, stir, and continue to simmer. Lentils are relatively quick-cooking, so taste test every 10 minutes or so to monitor their progress - oh lentil, so tender. So loving. Today my lentils took about 35 minutes to get where I wanted them. As your loving legumes reach optimum texture, stir in your greens of choice. Once the greens become bright green and wilted, turn off the heat. Add liberal amounts of salt and pepper to taste, as well as lemon juice. Don't stop seasoning until it tastes amazing.
And voila! You have a tasty and comforting meal. Serve with a generous sprinkling of nutritional yeast - the B12 vitamins will help you feel better. Since I'm the only one who eats my cooking - I'm just, you know, cooking for one - this recipe makes enough for me to live off for at least four or five meals. You can adjust amounts according to your needs, of course.
No-brainer lentil soup - because in times of need, you can only eat so many vegan smores. Now stop feeling sorry for yourself, get off your butt and rock it out. Remember what Lady Gaga says - if it's not rough it isn't fun.