I did it. I broke up with Ben and Jerry at the start of 2011. We needed a break. It had become a twice or thrice weekly affair. Chubby Hubby, Karmel Sutra, AmeriCone Dream...I had tried every flavor the grocery store had to offer.
I'm not a calorie-counter, but I did outgrow a few pairs of pants, which sent a clear message. Ben and Jerry's isn't the only culprit - culinary school is great, but I've been eating lots of meat and potatoes with rich butter and cream components, as well as snacking on lots of convenience foods during a busy end of the year.
Food is both my love and my downfall. Fried chicken could probably be the death of me - my family has a history of heart disease in both men and women - but I like where my life is headed. Cutting back on certain food choices may help to counterbalance my genetics. And I don't think I have to sacrifice my pleasure in food for that.
So I'm joining the New Year's bandwagon to make healthier choices, attending a kundalini yoga class once or twice a week instead of downing a pint of ice cream. And I'm incorporating ingredients like dried fruit in my recipes, to kill sugar cravings and to derive more of my protein and fats from plant-based sources.
Since my school and work require a lot from me physically, I came up with a red lentil-nut pate to provide a long-lasting protein-rich snack that will keep me going on long days while keeping me out of fast-food drive-through lanes.
Hummus is the basis for this concoction, but I opted to use red lentils instead of the usual chickpeas for a change of pace. Lentils don't require the pre-planning of soaking dried beans (in fact, they'll be done cooking by the time you prep everything else in this recipe), so they're a great option for those who want to move away from processed and canned foods but still want some convenience.
I added walnuts and pine nuts for extra body. Golden raisins add a touch of sweetness that makes this versatile pate a good companion for sweet raw baby carrots, toasted whole grain bagels or sesame crackers. Or bacon.
Red lentil-nut pate
Makes 3 cups
- 1 cup red lentils, rinsed and drained
- 1/4 cup golden raisins
- 2 cloves garlic
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 cup raw pine nuts
- 1/2 cup raw walnuts
- 2 tablespoons tahini
- juice of 1 lemon
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
- 1/4 teaspoon coriander
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon white pepper
- dash of cayenne pepper (optional)
- 2 tablespoons cilantro, finely chopped
Cover lentils with a few inches of water in a small saucepan. Add raisins and garlic. Bring to boil and simmer until tender, about 20 minutes.
Drain and let cool.
In a food processor, pulse lentil mixture and all ingredients except cilantro until desired consistency is reached. Stir in cilantro.
Store in refrigerator.
Marcelle Richards blogs at gastropacalypse.com.