Aug012017

Posted in Recipes.

This July, I was super lucky to be invited by Canadian Lentils to go on a lentil farm tour in Saskatchewan. I’d never been to the middle of our country before, so it was a chance for me to see the prairies and learn about lentils!

Lentils are pulses – a category which includes dried beans, dried peas, chickpeas, and lentils.

Archeological evidence of lentil cultivation from 10,000 years ago has been found, completely destroying the notion of the ‘caveman diet’ and its claim that our ancestors didn’t eat lentils. In addition to this, cultures around the world enjoy lentils are a staple in their diets.

The anti-nutrients in lentils, called lectins, are mostly destroyed by heating. Here’s some information and a handy chart about enhancing the nutrition value of plant foods.  To make a long story short though, you don’t need to be afraid of lectins in legumes.

There’s also this: why would people continue to cultivate and consume a food like lentils for thousands of years, if the food was harmful in any way to their well-being? *head scratch*

The Mediterranean Diet, believed to be one of the leading healthy food patterns that we know of, includes a high consumption of lentils. The subject of The Predimed Study, a Mediterranean diet has been shown to be effective in reducing the risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

Another good thing about lentils besides the fact that they’re a nutritious, fiber-rich, plant-based protein? The price.

Canned or dried, lentils are a cost-effective way to get high-quality protein in your diet. If you’re concerned with the amount of sodium in canned foods, simply rinse your canned lentils well. Notice that I used canned lentils for this recipe, but the recipe doesn’t taste salty – because I rinsed the lentils really well, which got rid of a significant amount of the sodium. Or, buy low or no-salt canned lentils.

Saskatchewan is called ‘the land of the living skies’, and that’s not far from wrong; the vast landscape and beautiful, wide sky are picture-perfect. Fields of flax, canola, and pulses – including lentils – are everywhere. Here are some photos from my trip:

Here's what lentils look like when they're picked - they grow in a pod!

Lentils grow in pods, just like these. Those are lentil plants underneath my hand, too!

Here’s what fresh lentils look like, out of the pod.

Here I am, sitting in a lentil field. See how short the lentil plants are?

This is a canola field. Look at those ‘living skies’!

These lentil falafels that we made were incredible!!

These lentil lettuce wraps were delish.

On to my recipe!

I wanted to develop a recipe using lentils as a thank-you to Canadian Lentils for bringing me on the trip, but I also wanted to show you guys how versatile lentils really are.

I know many of you like lentils but aren’t sure of how to cook them, or you think of lentils as only good for savoury dishes (like my chicken with lentils – sorry for the photos, this was one of my very first recipes I ever photographed. I should reshoot it something in the very near future!). The fact is, that lentils can be used in baking, too! Not only that, but these energy bites are scrumptious and high in protein because…lentils! Yes! The lentils add protein, fiber, and low-glycemic carbs. Perfection. I rolled these protein bites in dehydrated blueberry and pomegranate powder, which I found at Whole Foods. Feel free to leave the bites plain, or roll them in coconut or nuts. Hemp hearts would work perfectly, too.

These protein bites are vegan, gluten-free, and peanut-free.

Enjoy these rich, chocolatey, tahini-spiked protein bites anytime you need a snack!

 

 

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5-Ingredient Tahini Chocolate Protein Bites

These protein-packed, chocolatey rich bites are the perfect, portable snack for before or after workouts or anytime during the day.

Servings: 30 bites
Ingredients
  • 1 19oz can lentils rinsed very well
  • 12 medjool dates pitted
  • 1 cup walnuts toasted
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • 1/2 cup freeze-dried berries, nuts, coconut, hemp hearts, or anything you want to roll the bites in
Instructions
  1. In a high-speed blender or food processor, process the lentils, dates, and tahini together until smooth. Add the remaining ingredients and continue to process until completely blended.
  2. Roll into balls, coat with topping of your choice, and place on a lined baking sheet.

  3. Refrigerate until firm.
  4. Keep refrigerated until ready to eat.

 

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