Recently, I’ve been hearing and reading a lot about Vegan-ism. As a very regular gym goer and therefore worrying about getting in enough protein (and calories) for muscle repairing, I’ve always been a bit anti the idea – all my meals are based around meat, fish or eggs! However through my friends at Fitter London I came across Mike Mahler – a kettle bell and weight lifter who lives and trains exclusively on a Vegan diet – wow! On Mike’s website there are some recipe ideas, and in particular stews. He claims that by adding certain plant-based proteins together you can build a stronger complete protein. So I decided to give one of them a good go (lentils + hemp seeds in this case). In true Cucina Ceri style, I found it impossible to stick to the recipe and threw a whole load of other things in. The result? – A really delicious tasty stew. Yay! I couldn’t be Vegan or even Vegetarian the whole time, as I really love my meat too much but I think I may aim to do a Vegan day every now and again – a good idea to let the body detox from processing animal products.
This dish includes Lentils, a legume which just like chick peas are not paleo, but as my body tolerates them well, I see absolutely no reason not to eat them on my Vegan days, when they are used in this way as a protein source. I’ll be freezing the rest of this stew for future lunches…
Ingredients (serves 3-4)
- 200g red lentils
- Diced vegetables: 1 leek, 1 courgette, 4 small carrots, 250g pumpkin, 15 baby plum tomatoes, 1 orange bell pepper (you could vary this as you wish)
- large handful of torn basil
- 1.5 cups of Coconut milk
- Spices: 2 tsps ground ginger, tsp turmeric, tsp ground coriander, tsp curry powder
- 2 tablespoons hemp seeds
- 2 tablespoons flax oil
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- Melt the coconut oil in a large saucepan and add the diced vegetables one at a time, continuously stirring ensuring they are coated with the oil – leeks, pumpkin, carrots, courgette, peppers, tomatoes,
- Add the lentils, a cup of water and 1 cup of coconut milk
- Season and add the spices, as well as some of the torn basil (reserving the rest for decoration)
- Cover the saucepan with a lid, turn the heat to low, and leave the stew simmer for 30 mins, stirring every 5 minutes or so.
- After 30 mins, the stew may require an extra 1/2 cup of coconut milk.
- After a further 10 minutes take of the lid, stir and let it breathe for a few minutes while it thickens up.
- Take off the heat and stir in the hemp seeds and flax oil (NB you can’t start the cooking process with the flax oil as it doesn’t suit high temperatures)
- Spoon into individual bowls, top with additional fresh basil and ground black pepper.
If you’re interested what I ate for the rest of my first Vegan day then keep reading…
Breakfast: A Pumpkin 9 bar (not Vegan cos contains honey but that’s REALLY strict), crumbled over a bowl of blueberries with Kara coconut milk and a dollop of almond butter, a few brazil nuts and a Pukka Clean Greens drink.
Lunch: A portion of my Ratatouille with spinach, houmous, cherry tomatoes, carrot sticks, half an avocado sprinkled with organic mixed seeds (pumpkin, sesame, sunflower).
I think my veggie intake went through the roof today!0