As temperatures get cooler, red lentils are a wonderfully creamy go-to for seasonal dishes. Nutritionally speaking, this is a powerhouse in a bowl: The tomatoes supply lycopene, which is linked to lower stroke risk, the fiber in the lentils is crucial for gut health, and kale packs a serious punch of vitamin K (important for bone health and wound healing). This is great as a vegetarian main, but feel free to reduce the portion size to serve as a smaller side with meat, chicken, or fish (it makes about 6 cups). Bump up the cayenne pepper if you want more kick.
Red Lentils with Kale and Tomatoes
- 2 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 cup onion, chopped
- 1 tsp. cumin
- ½ tsp. cayenne pepper
- 2 tsp. paprika
- 2 (14-oz.) cans diced tomatoes (with liquid)
- 3 cups water
- 1 1⁄2 cup red lentils
- 1 bunch kale, finely chopped
- ½ tsp. salt
Place oil in a small pool in the center of a large skillet, and add garlic and onion. Cook over medium-low heat for 4 minutes or until soft.
Add cumin, cayenne, and paprika. Stir and cook for 1 minute to release flavors.
Add diced tomatoes with liquid, water, lentils, kale, and salt. Stir and raise heat to high. When mixture boils, reduce heat to low and cover. Simmer for 20 minutes or until liquid is absorbed.
Per serving: 382 calories, 3 g fat, 66 g total carbohydrate, 17 g dietary fiber, 24 g protein
Adapted from Racing Weight Cookbook: Lean, Light Recipes for Athletes by Matt Fitzgerald with permission of VeloPress.