Food Is Not Your Enemy


Green Lentils and Spinach With Hard-Cooked Eggs and Toast

Here’s another dish I make regularly in my house, often at the request of my kids.

Serves 4.

1 cup green lentils, sorted and rinsed

Salt and freshly milled pepper

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

2 to 3 tablespoons butter

2 onions, cut into 1/4-inch rounds

1 bunch spinach, leaves only, cut into 1-inch strips

1 garlic clove, minced or put through a press

4 large thin slices toast made from country bread

2 hard-boiled eggs

Put the lentils and 1 teaspoon salt in a saucepan with water to cover by 3 inches. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer until the lentils are tender, about 25 minutes. Drain, reserving the broth. Meanwhile, heat a tablespoon each olive oil and butter in a wide skillet over high heat. Add the onions and saute until they’re golden, about 10 minutes. Set them aside and add the remaining butter to the pan. Add the spinach, garlic, and a few pinches salt and cook until wilted.

Add the lentils to the pan with the spinach along with a little of the broth and an extra tad of butter if you like. Season with salt and pepper.

Make the toast and cut it into triangles. Peel and chop the eggs. Spoon the lentils into the middle of each plate. Cover with the onions and then the chopped egg. Add pepper and surround with the toasts.

(Recipe from “Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone” by Deborah Madison)



Leafy Greens: Safe or Scary?

Popeye and his spinach. George H.W. Bush and his (hatred of) broccoli. Mom leaning over you and admonishing, “Eat your greens!” The leafy green vegetables we’re told more and more often to eat by the shovelful evoke strong feelings or memories for many of us. But are all greens as healthy as they’ve been made out to be? Check out my latest “Safe or Scary?” column over at AOL’s ParentDish to find out.



Olga’s Vegetable Soup

I want to share this recipe for Olga’s vegetable soup–I’ve been making it for a few months now and it’s a truly great dish. Not only that, but it’s super good for you, packed with leafy greens and other veggies. Don’t fear all the olive oil–it’s part of what makes this soup so hearty and satisfying, and it will help lower your cholesterol!



Lentil Stew With Greens

This is one of my favorite recipes. It’s a Cretan dish, and comes from an eye-opening book called “The Jungle Effect” by Daphne Miller. Miller is a doctor who researched how the healthiest people in the world eat, and this dish is part of a cuisine eaten by a people who, until the recent influx of American fast food restaurants onto their island, essentially never got heart disease. This is the kind of food that’s at the heart of the Mediterranean diet (as opposed to the unlimited pasta bowl from the Olive Garden). I use kale when I cook this.

1 cup small dark lentils

8 cups chicken stock (or use water)

1 teaspoon salt

1 medium potato, peeled and sliced paper thin

1 cup sliced carrots

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 cup chopped onion

1 pound (1 packed quart) leafy greens (such as spinach, dandelion, arugula, kale, beet greens, or a mix)

1/4 cup roughly chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves

1 tablespoon minced garlic

Plain yogurt and lemon wedges for garnish

Wash the lentils. Place the lentils in a saucepan and cover with stock (or water) and salt. Bring to a boil and skim off any foam on top. Add the potato and carrots, partially cover, and cook over medium heat for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large skillet and slowly brown the onions. While the onion is browning, wash, stem, and chop the greens. Add the parsley and garlic to the skillet and saute for a minute or two, then stir in the greens and allow them to wilt, covered.

Scrape the contents of the skillet, including the oil, into the saucepan with lentils. Combine all ingredients, then continue cooking covered for another 20 minutes, or until thick and soupy. Garnish with a drizzle of yogurt and serve with a lemon wedge. Serves 4-6.

Variation: For a thicker soup, use less broth/water and mash some of the lentils and potatoes.