2 tasty veggie dishes that'll have guests wanting more

For busy cooks, lentils are the ultimate legume. They require no soaking and cook in a half-hour or less. This Mediterranean-inspired take on lentils could serve as a vegetarian main dish. Or for the carnivores out there, you can try it with lamb and rice.

2 tasty veggie dishes that'll have guests wanting more

Easy-cook lentils with spinach and mushrooms

Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 40 minutes
Serves: 4

Ingredients

  • 200 to 250 g (1 c) brown or green lentils, sorted and rinsed
  • 1 L (4 c) water
  • 1 small onion, peeled
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 15 mL (1 tbsp) olive oil
  • 175 g (3/4 c) finely chopped carrots
  • 110 g (4 oz) white or cremini mushrooms, quartered lengthwise
  • 2 g (1/2 tsp) dried thyme or oregano
  • Pinch of ground nutmeg
  • 275 g (1 1/4 c) baby spinach leaves or chopped, stemmed mature spinach
  • 2 g (1/2 tsp) salt
  • 0.5 g (1/8 tsp) ground black pepper

Directions

  1. Combine the lentils and water in a medium saucepan. Cut the onion in half and add half to the pan along with one whole peeled garlic clove and the bay leaf. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, until the lentils are tender, about 25 minutes. Drain and remove the onion, garlic, and bay leaf.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a deep, wide sauté pan over medium heat. Finely chop the remaining onion half and add to the pan along with the carrots. Cook until the onion is soft, four to five minutes. Mince the remaining garlic clove and add to the pan. Cook for one minute. Add the mushrooms, thyme, and nutmeg and cook until the mushrooms wilt, about five minutes.
  3. Stir in the lentils and spinach, cover, and cook until the spinach wilts, about three to five minutes. Season with the salt and pepper.

Nutritional information

Per Serving:
240 cal / 5 g fat (1 g sat) / 41 g carbs / 13 g protein / 12 g fibre / 0 mg chol / 428 mg sodium / 100 mg calcium

This time-honoured classic is long overdue for a makeover.

We cut calories and sodium by replacing canned mushroom soup and French fried onions with a combination of real mushrooms, buttermilk, 1% milk, and homemade oven-baked onion rings.

  • Quick tip: To further reduce the fat in this recipe, use fat-free buttermilk. You'll still get the zingy taste without missing a thing.

Onion rings and green bean casserole

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 45 minutes
Serves: 8

Ingredients

  • 125 mL (1/2 c) low-fat buttermilk
  • 110 to 125 g (1/2 c) plain dry breadcrumbs
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced and separated into rings
  • 110 to 125 g (1/2 c) chopped onions
  • 225 g (8 oz) sliced mushrooms
  • 50 g (1/4 c) all-purpose flour
  • 2 g (1/2 tsp) dried thyme
  • 1 g (1/4 tsp) salt
  • 750 mL (3 c) 1% milk
  • 1 bag (450 g or 1 lb) frozen French-cut green beans, thawed and drained

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 260°C (500°F). Coat a large baking sheet with cooking spray.
  2. Put the buttermilk and breadcrumbs in separate shallow bowls. Dip the onion rings in the buttermilk, then the breadcrumbs, and place on the baking sheet in a single layer.
  3. Coat the rings with cooking spray and bake until golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes.
  4. Heat a medium saucepan over medium heat. Coat with cooking spray and add the onions and mushrooms, cooking until the onions are soft, about four minutes. Scatter on the flour, thyme, and salt and cook for one minute. Add the milk and stir until the mixture thickens, three to four minutes. Stir in the green beans.
  5. Reduce the oven temperature to 200°C (400°F). Scrape the green bean mixture into a two litre (eight cup or two quart) baking dish and arrange the onion rings on top.
  6. Bake until bubbly, about 25 minutes.

Nutritional information

Per Serving:
116 cal / 2 g fat (1 g sat) / 20 g carbs / 7 g protein / 2 g fibre / 5 mg chol / 183 mg sodium / 173 mg calcium

These recipes offer an easy way have vegetables take center stage on your table. Try them and see how your hungry guests come back for seconds.

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