Small black beluga lentils, so called because of their resemblance to caviar, hold their shape well, making them perfect for salads. If you can’t find beluga lentils, use French Puy lentils, which have similar properties. With lentils, young spinach, spring peas, and herby dressing, this salad welcomes spring.
Symbiotic bacteria called Rhizobium invade the roots of lentils and legumes such as peas and beans, allowing them to “fix,” or use, nitrogen. This also improves the quality of the soil they grow in. When grown as part of a crop rotation system, they make the soil suitable to grow other plants, including grains, that require nitrogen.
Packaged lentils may contain small stones or other debris which, for safety, should be removed. To pick over lentils, take small amounts of lentils and spread them on a flat surface such as a cutting board. Using a bench scraper or palette knife, or simply your hands, review the contents and move from one end of the board to the other, removing any debris you find on the way.
Fun fact: The word lentil is derived from the word for lens. You might want to get a pair to complete this task!
What to look for: When choosing lentils, look for organic lentils to avoid glyphosate residues that can be found in conventionally grown varieties.
Pick over lentils, removing pebbles or debris, and rinse. Bring a large pot of water to boil and add lentils and bay leaf. Reduce to medium-low and cook lentils at a slow simmer for 20 minutes, or until tender but not mushy. Drain and rinse with cool water to stop the cooking process.
In separate pot, blanch green peas for 2 to 3 minutes; drain and rinse with cool water.
In small bowl, combine herbs, vinegar, olive oil, and salt.
In large bowl, place cooked and cooled lentils. Pour dressing overtop lentils; add green onions, blanched peas, and baby spinach; and toss together. Tip out onto large shallow platter to serve.
You might think of protein as something you mainly get from a meal and, therefore, not a component of dessert. But, if you’re going to opt for dessert from time to time, why not consider working in ingredients that go big on this important macronutrient? It’s easier (and more delicious) than you may think! Protein is an essential part of every cell in your body and plays a starring role in bone, muscle, and skin health. So, certainly, you want to make sure you’re eating enough. And it’s best to spread protein intake throughout the day, since your body needs a continual supply. This is why it can be a great idea to try to include protein in your desserts. When protein is provided in sufficient amounts in a dessert, it may help you feel more satiated and help temper blood sugar swings. Plus, in many cases, that protein comes in a package of other nutritional benefits. For instance, if you’re eating a dessert made with protein-packed Greek yogurt, you’re not just getting protein; you’re getting all the yogurt’s bone-benefitting calcium and immune-boosting probiotics, too. Adding nuts to your dessert doesn’t just provide plant-based protein, but it also provides heart-healthy fats. Yes, desserts need not be just empty calories. Ready for a treat? These protein-filled desserts with a healthy twist are dietitian-approved—and delicious.
Tender tofu and fresh-tasting mango sauce combine to make a nutritious, Japanese-style dessert with little effort. But don’t worry: your dessert will not taste beany. Silken soft tofu has a rather neutral flavour. The key here is to use blocks of very soft tofu as opposed to firm or extra-firm versions. Silken tofu is undrained and unpressed tofu. It has the highest water content of all types of tofu and is made by coagulating soy milk without curdling it. It’s ultra-soft texture means it can be easily blended with other ingredients and used to boost protein numbers in puddings, cakes, tarts, ice cream, and even smoothies.
Fool is a classic English dessert made, traditionally, by folding a stewed fruit into a creamy, sweet custard. This modern take adds layers of sweet pumpkin flavour and swaps out much of the cream for higher-protein Greek yogurt. The crunchy chocolate topping is a special finishing touch. Beat it It’s the fat in cream that helps trap air bubbles that make it light and fluffy. If it gets too warm, the fat melts and the air escapes. Start with a cold bowl and beaters (or a cold balloon whisk, if you’re whipping by hand). Put your bowl (ideally a stainless one) and beaters in the freezer for 15 minutes before whipping. They’ll chill easily and help keep everything cool during the whipping process.
Blondies are basically “blonde brownies.” There is no cocoa or melted chocolate in the batter of a blondie. Here, the nutritionally lacklustre all-purpose flour is swapped out for puréed beans for a higher dose of protein. The end result is just as tender and chewy without any noticeable bean flavour. A great potluck dessert option, too. If desired, chopped nuts can be used instead of chocolate chips. Squeeze play To easily fit a piece of parchment paper into a baking dish, run it under cold water for a couple of seconds, scrunch it up, and then squeeze out the excess moisture. Now it will effortlessly form into the pan.