A Simple Guide into eating Healthy, Budgeting & Surviving in a busy, corporate, Mega-City

SPICED LENTIL BURRITO (Lacto-Vegetarian)

Friday, 11 August 2017

My newest favourite Comfort Food! 





It's been a whole week since I lasted posted something. I haven't been cooking a lot and I feel like I'm just eating a lot of rice >< Although, whenever I feel lazy to cook or I didn't have spare time for the day, I always have my plan B, instead of ordering out or digging on some crackers. I am a huge fan of Cookie and Kate  and one recipe that I was really curious to try was this Lentil and Cauliflower Tacos. You can view the full recipe here




We always had boxes of Dried Lentils (around AED 11.00/ in Carrefour Dubai)  lying around the pantry. It's a great source of Protein and Fiber and it's been a home-favourite ever since I tried experimenting with it last year. Yes, I only started eating Lentils last year. 

It's not really a fundamental part of Filipino or Japanese Cuisine; It isn't a part of everyday Dutch cuisine either, so I didn't really have any idea how to introduce myself to this ingredient. But after reading a bunch of articles online and having Indian colleagues from my old workplace, I was open to trying out lentils. 

For this recipe, I tried both Red Kidney Beans and Dried Green lentils. It was the first time I tried to cook with dried Red Kidney beans but somehow along the way, maybe I did something wrong, and even though they were boiling for a few hours, they were still hard and inedible so I decided to just stop and use lentils. 



I'm not really a fan of Mexican Food since I've only had Taco Bell back in Manila. I would like to try some authentic recipes because I really want to know more South American recipes. Still, the idea of a burrito was appealing. Even though the original Cookie & Kate recipe called it "taco" I decided to go with Burrito since I ended up rolling the tortilla so the fillings won't run away from me. 

Also, the original recipe was all about Chiptole Sauce and honestly, I haven't ventured into that part of whole plant-based recipes yet. I am going there, but not now haha! I'm still learning a lot. It takes time to un-learn and re-learn two decades worth of eating habits from Asia. I'm forgiving myself and you shouldn't beat yourself up too. It takes time, motivation, perseverance, focus and a whole lot of reading to actually do this. Don't worry, if you're starting out with plant-based eating, you're not alone! 


I used Tomato Bunch from Holland. They're a bit fancier than the usual tomatoes you can get from Carrefour but I really like how they're so juicy and sweet. They also looked great on the tabletop. I'm biased towards photogenic vegetables, haha!  




 

The recipe called for chilis but since I am still new to the art of spicy foods, I wanted to take the least risk possible. I went with Bayara's Dried Chili flakes since I had more control to how hot the lentils could be. Also, they're very convenient and cheaper than buying fresh peppers. They keep longer in the fridge too! But if you love spicy food and you're used to handling chilis, go right ahead and cook it with your aromatics. 




LET'S GET COOKING! 



You will need: 

3 whole Tomatoes (for 1 cup of dried lentils)
Salt 2 tsp
Pepper 3 tsp 
Curry Powder 1 tbsp
Cayenne Pepper 1/2 tbsp
Dried Chili Flakes 1tbsp
1 pack of 10 Flour Tortillas (enough to feed 3 people for dinner!)
4 cups of Cauliflower
1 cup Dried Green Lentils
1 veggie Garlic Bouillon Cube 
1 Whole Garlic crushed or minced
Coriander or Celery leaves (for garnish) 
Red Leicester Cheese (Optional)





Again, you can use any cheese you want; you can use mild cheddar or gouda. I haven't tried mozarella or feta cheese; but if you want to try it, please do let me know how it turns out! I choose this cheese because I really really love the bite and nuttiness of Red Leicester. I think the flavour really binds the whole recipe together and it's been such a favourite. I usually make the lentils in bigger batches during the weekend and I can just have it in the fridge. Yes, you can eat this one cold and it's still super good! 



RECIPE BREAKDOWN

Homemade Tomato Paste/Purée Ingredients:

3 whole Tomatoes (for 1 cup of dried lentils)
Salt 2 tsp
Pepper 3 tsp 
Curry Powder 1 tbsp
Cayenne Pepper 1/2 tbsp
Dried Chili Flakes 1tbsp

Tortilla

I used a store-bought Tortilla since this is the only thing I could find in the supermarket. If I find healthier alternatives, I would definitely try it out! 

1 pack of 10 Flour Tortillas (serves dinner for 3)


Cauliflower:

Look, I don't have an oven. Not everyone has an oven so I had to be smart to pull the recipe off. I 'toasted' my cauliflowers using my good 'ol pan. It's not so bad and it actually works for this recipe. Don't be intimidated. It's super easy and you can do this either during a work day or during the weekend. 

4 cups of Cauliflower

You can use half a head of Cauliflower (depending on the size). You can use a 1 whole if your cauliflower is smaller. 



Watch the Video!











Using a blender or a Food Processor, blend your sliced tomatoes, curry powder, cayenne pepper, salt & pepper altogether. Blend until it's smooth and like tomato soup. This is so much better than store-bought tomato sauce or tomatoe paste since you're not adding 13 teaspoons of sugar unlike the packed ones. It's fresh and it complements the lentils really well. 


 I used my Russel Hobbs Mix and Go smoothie maker for this. 


After you blend the tomatoes, it's time to cook the lentils with it. On a heated pan, toss your minced or crushed garlic and leave it for about 30 seconds then add your tomato concoction. You can use some oil to sauté your garlic, you can even add some onion but iIopted for the oil-less and easier way. This means less chopping so I didn't put any onions. 

After about 3 minutes of cooking the tomato mix, you can now add your 1 cup of lentils. Generally, lentils do need a lot of water to cook so you'll have to keep stirring and keep adding a little bit of water every now and then while cooking this. The lentils will ne absorbing the tomato mix and do not need to be super watery.  It takes about 20-30 minutes to fully cook your lentils. Don't forget to keep stirring and keep adding a little bit of water every so often. Add your bouillon cube about 15 minutes in and keep cooking the lentils on medium to high heat. 



After 30 minutes, check to see if your lentils are soft. They should be about double their size by now. If you still think it's still a bit 'hard' you can cook it for another 10 minutes. It should look like the photo above. Once the consistency is like this, you can take it off the stove and let it cool for burrito assembly later. 

Whilst cooking the lentils, I cut my cauliflower into bite-size pieces and toasted them on a hot frying pan. I didn't season the cauliflower. 5-8 minutes should be okay to toast the flourettes. Set them aside so once you're ready to chow, you can have the ingredients laid out on the table. 

You should have a bowl of your Spiced Lentils, a bowl for your tosted Cauliflowers, a bowl for your shredded Red Cheese and a plate for your soft tortillas. 


How to assemble your Lentil Burrito


TORTILLA ➡ Lentil Mix ➡Cauliflower ➡ Cheese ➡ Coriander





Oh my god, you guys! YOU HAVE TO MAKE THIS! 
I had my friend, Riz, over for dinner when I made this and she loved it so much she decided to make it the next day haha!

You can skip the coriander if you like or if you don't want to go through the trouble, but trust me, the greens don't just add colour and dimension to the dish, it's really really good! 
I usually have a burrito for dinner once a week (minus the cheese) since it's been my absolute favourite! I hope you can try this recipe out. 

If you're in Dubai, don't worry; every single item on the ingredient list can be found at your nearest Carrefour Supermarket. If you want a fancier version, you can try Cookie & Kate's original recipe with Chipotle Sauce. 

Again, I try to make the recipes and procedures super easy so even if you're a home-cook or a starting cook like me, you won't be intimidated by the tools, or overly complicated ingredients list. Cooking healthy doesn't have to be hard or expensive and it certainly isn't expensive to make healthier choices. Go on and try this recipe and your taste buds will thank you! Lentils are super healthy and they're super cheap and you can just keep them in the fridge and they last longer.







I hope you enjoyed this post. Thank you for reading and I hope you'll join me again next week! 

Here's to happy eating! Enjoy!





2 comments on "SPICED LENTIL BURRITO (Lacto-Vegetarian)"
  1. I just loved your blog and the foods you have are super amazing and are of my time. All are spicy yummy in my tummy.

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    1. Thanks so much! ♡ I'm glad you liked the recipes. I used to not like spicy foods at all but I'm learning and they're really good once you start developing your palette! I hope you enjoy my other contents as well! Thanks so much, Have a lovely day!! ♡

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