lentil edamame stew.

This is Part 30 of the “31 Days of Healthy Living” series.

If there was one food group that I wish I could sneak onto every single American’s dinner plate, it would be, quite simply, the legume.

Yes.  The legume.

(And not just because I love rolling the word “legume” off the tip of my tongue with an over-the-top, horrendous French accent, either.)

Any legume will do, really.

Black beans.  Split peas.  Kidney beans.  The lovely garbanzo.

Legumes are chock full of fiber, protein, iron and the really good-for-you complex carbohydrates.

Yep.  Legumes are worth getting to know.  They’ve got lots to offer.


My favorite legume happens to be the lentil.

They don’t require the soaking time of most beans.  They’re ready in under 20 minutes.  They’re $0.99 a pound.  What’s not to love about that?

Tonight I made a nice ‘n’ spicy lentil edamame stew.



Spicy from my standpoint, anyways.  I’m the girl who could do without the taste of chili powder or tabasco sauce on my tongue.

(Of course, if you like to live on the spicy side of life, go all out with a heavy hand of crushed red pepper!)

And if you’re still on the fence about eating a big bowl of lentils for dinner, serve this as a side dish with your main meal or eat a smaller sized bowl as an afternoon snack.
Incorporating more legumes on a daily/weekly basis is a smart move for each and every one of us.

From a health, economic and taste standpoint, legumes are really and truly a wonderful thing.

After finding your favorites, I’m pretty sure it won’t be long before they become a regular in your house.  Right next to those other pantry essentials.


Lentil Edamame Stew–as seen in Cooking Light Magazine
(Serves 4-6 as a main)

  • 2 cup dried lentils
  • 1-1/2 cup frozen shelled edamame (green soybeans)
  • 1 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 cups minced red onion
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 6 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 tablespoon chopped fresh mint
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Dash of ground cloves
  1. Place lentils in a large saucepan; cover with water to 2 inches above lentils. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes or until tender. Drain well, and set aside.
  2. Place edamame in a small saucepan; cover with water to 2 inches above edamame. Bring to a boil; cook 2 minutes or until edamame are tender. Remove from heat; drain well.
  3. Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onion, garlic, and tomatoes to pan; sauté 6-10 minutes or until onion is translucent, stirring often. Stir in lentils, edamame, juice, and remaining ingredients. Cook 2 minutes or until thoroughly heated, stirring often.
QUESTION: What is one of your favorite (affordable!!) healthy foods that you consume on a regular basis?  Lentils and oatmeal are two of my favorite cheap-o health foods!  They’re very versatile in the kitchen.


high-five weekend.

This weekend, I…

1. Ate meat for the first time in 6 months.

If you’re wondering how I know that it’s been exactly 6 months since I last ate meat, it’s because on April 16, I decided to go without.  I don’t know.  Something about the weather, the fresh seasonal vegetables.  I had a love affair with vegetables and I didn’t want to miss out on one single fresh tomato.

So.  I just decided that I didn’t need meat, although I still cooked it for the family.

Until this weekend, that is.  That’s when Dad made his beer can chicken and I felt the familiar return of a longing for heartier, autumn inspired meals.  Butternut squash.  Kale.  Chicken stew.  A little meat with a preference for produce.  And that’s that.

2. Cooked with wine for my very first time.

I realize that I’m far, far behind in this avenue, but I do try my best to be honest with you guys.  So there you have it.  I have never before cooked with wine (or any alcohol, for that matter!)

But after tonight’s dinner, there may just be a new trend on the rise.

3. Ran six strong miles.

This is a very big deal for me.  I haven’t been running the distances since my half marathon, really.  To feel strong (pain free!) is huge.  No injuries in sight!  Feeling good.  Who knows where this will take me? 😉

4. Ate a muffin for each and every breakfast.  

That’s how I role.

(Stay tuned for the uber easy, uber delicious recipe!)

5. Fell in love with parsnips.

Gosh, I never thought I’d hear myself saying that.

I really did hesitate before throwing that one pound bag of parsnips into my shopping cart.  Not only do they look like very pale and sickly carrots, I have a horribly bad experience with them.  I first tried them in a casserole dish and (apparently) I hadn’t washed them thoroughly.  The result was a very bitter, very gritty dinner.  You can see why I hold such a grudge?

But I threw that little ninety-nine cent bag into my cart and told the eager little vegetable that I was giving it one more shot (don’t worry, I don’t actually talk to my vegetables…not usually, anyways.)

Maybe it was the white wine that went into the dish, hitting just the right note.  Or the very bright and seasonal kale mixed with caramelized onions.  Who knows?  All I know is that I found myself picking away at the bottom of the cooking pan after all was said and done, just to get one more last bite of sweet and tender parsnips.

So yes.  I’d call that love.

Pasta with Kale, Caramelized Onions and Parsnips–modified recipe, based on the original Cooking Light recipe.

This recipe is easy to throw together.  The most time consuming part is the chopping, which can be done the day before if you’re in a hurry.  Enjoy the leftovers for a quick lunch the following day.  Enjoy!

(serves 4-6)

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 3 cups (1/3-inch) diagonally cut parsnip (about 1 pound)
  • 2 1/2 cups thinly sliced onion
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh (or dried) thyme
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 8 cups trimmed chopped kale (about 3 bunches)
  • 1/2 cup low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 8 ounces uncooked penne pasta
  • 1/2 cup (2 ounces) shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add parsnip to pan; cook 12 minutes or until tender and browned, stirring occasionally. Place in a large bowl; keep warm.

2. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in pan over medium-low heat. Add onion to pan; cook 20 minutes or until tender and golden brown, stirring occasionally. Stir in thyme and garlic; cook 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add wine; cook 3 minutes or until liquid almost evaporates. Stir in kale and broth; cook, covered, 5 minutes or until kale is tender. Uncover; cook 4 minutes or until kale is very tender, stirring occasionally.

3. Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain pasta in a sieve over a bowl, reserving 3/4 cup cooking liquid. Add drained pasta to kale mixture. Stir in parsnips, 1/2 cup reserved cooking liquid, cheese, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper; cook for 1 minute or until thoroughly heated. Add remaining 1/4 cup cooking liquid if needed to moisten. Pass around extra cheese at the table.  Enjoy!

QUESTION: What did you do this weekend?