Lentils are the best fake minced meat

It took a few extra laps around the path of adulthood to find my cooking gene. I had previously spent my life trying to convince those close to me that the bowl of cereal I poured or the eggs I whisked were enough to cook. For everything else, there was go out – or my wife.

Even writing these words makes me feel like a giant fisherman. I never intended to be one of those incompetent couples on CBS who were waiting for dinner on their comfy sofa. Sure, you’ve cooked the dishes, but cooking a meal for someone is arguably one of the most complete expressions of love in life. And if there’s one thing I share with my grumpy sitcom husband, it’s that I got married. Suffice to say, I needed to start lifting my weight with pots and pans.

An awakening occurred in my early thirties, due to a deep dive into my Ashkenazi Jewish heritage that first unleashed my culinary genes, making me a frying pan crazy. Before long, I found myself constantly trying out new recipes and even making my own.

Hands-on with my food is one of the many factors that have led me to reconsider eating meat. Our kitchen quickly became meat-free, and none of us have missed cooking meat since. We’ve found how versatile and delicious vegetables, especially legumes, can be when treated with the same love, care and spice as meat. Lentils, in all their delicious glory, have become our favorite alternative to ground beef.

Lentils: a vegan kid’s new best friend

In our home, we make bolognese and Greek pistizio – a pasta dish baked with tubular bucatini noodles, minced meat and topped with béchamel sauce. These are important dishes for my wife’s Greek-American family to which Aunt Tula belongs My huge Greek wedding Quotes regularly. “You don’t eat any meat!? That’s okay. I’m making you a sheep.”

A permanent ban on Pastitsio was not an option. At the same time, these are not dishes where you can simply drop the meat. You need a substitute – and some foods don’t have to be highly processed to simulate meat. Lentils will more than do the job.

If you are a vegetarian kid, or someone who is simply trying to reduce their meat consumption, lentils will be your best friend. Of course they can stand out in a number of dishes on their own – lentil soup comes to mind – but they also serve as a delicious alternative to the ground beef we find in traditional pastitsio.

We learned this technique in a vegetarian moussaka cooking class. Moussaka is similar to pastitsio in that it is a multi-layered dish, usually eggplant and/or potatoes, with minced meat. Our teacher, a Greek-Albanian woman named Clara, showed us how to replace meat with a tasty helping of cooked lentils.

How to use lentils as a substitute for ground beef

The technique is simple: treat lentils with the same care as ground beef. Fry them in the cooking oil of your choice for a few minutes over medium heat (usually extra virgin olive oil for us), season with spices, and add 2 cups of liquid for every 1 cup of lentils (vegetable broth is preferred). Bring the pot to a boil before lowering it to a slow boil, often covering the pan or pot.

After about 10 minutes, check the consistency of the lentils. If you’re going to add it to a typical meat dish where you’ll bake it in the oven, such as pastitsio, you’ll want to stop cooking it for a few minutes. Before The dent. Otherwise, you risk baking it in mush. If you’re making a bolognese-type sauce, take it off the heat as soon as you’re satisfied with the bite of lentils.

Greek cuisine may have inspired us to use lentils, but they can be used throughout the cultural and culinary spectrum. (Although we have a vegan pastitsio recipe you might want to start with, as it features a layer of lentils seasoned with cinnamon, nutmeg, and oregano.)

Put lentils into stuffed tomatoes, peppers, spicy stir-fry, shepherd’s pie, and lasagna—the possibilities are limitless.

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