Did you know that in Italy, lentils are eaten at New Year’s for good luck and are thought of as a symbol prosperity?
I can see why – these little guys have quite an impressive resume: great source of veggie protein, great source of fiber, mineral-rich, etc.
Here’s what I especially love about them:
They Keep You Going.
Because lentils are high in insoluble fiber they help stabilize your blood sugar and give you a nice, long, sustained amount of energy.
That fiber also helps with digestion and keeps everything “moving” (great for escorting out all the cookies you went overboard with over the holidays, no?).
They Keep Your Brain Focused.
Lentils are an awesome source of iron (remember to eat them during week 1, ladies!). Studies have shown that even mild iron deficiencies can affect learning, memory, and attention so eating lentils and other iron-rich foods like greens, fish, and meat can help keep you on the ball.
Perhaps that’s why the I-talians think of them as a sign of prosperity — with food upping your energy and focus, you’ll be more productive. If you’re productive, you make more money!
The Recipe: Italian-Style Lentils with Tomato Sauce
So here’s how you make a really simple Italian-Style Lentils (with tomato sauce, of course) in less than 20 minutes. (Recipe adapted from Vegan Italiano)
1 celery stalk
1 medium onion
3 tbsp olive oil
1 15-oz can lentils
1/2 cup crushed tomatoes or tomato puree (I used these.)
3 fresh sage leaves
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Chop carrot, celery, and onion. Heat large skillet with olive oil, add chopped veggies and cook until soft, about 5 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds or so.
- Meanwhile, drain and rinse lentils.
- When veggies are soft, add tomato sauce and sage (torn up into small pieces). Cook for about 5 minutes.
- Add lentils and stir to heat through.
A few ways you can enjoy your “good luck lentils”:
- Serve alone or in a wrap with greens.
- Serve over a bed of salad greens.
- For extra protein, top with a poached egg (see photo below). Soooo good.
- If you have leftovers (I never do, they are too good), add to a pan with a wee bit of veggie or chicken broth to make it a lentil soup.
Buon appetito and buona fortuna!