I’m staying at my parents house before I move to Melbourne in a couple of weeks, and as I work from home a majority of the week, have really been able to get creative at lunchtime.

My mum said she had a bunch of red split lentils hiding in the cupboards somewhere, and did I want them? Cooked red split lentils

Yes was the answer; I did.

I love lentils. Along with chickpeas, lentils are one off my favourite legumes. The dried ones you can buy in the grocery store are better value for money than those in the cans (and have way less sodium), but they can take an age to prepare, what with the soaking that’s required. Although they’re still dried, split lentils cook faster than than any other kind because their outer skin has been removed, (which is why they split naturally in two halves). When red split lentils are cooked, they turn into a kind of puree; combined with spices and slow-cooked, this forms the traditional Indian dish dhal.

Red split lentil and butternut squash dhal

And there’s so much goodness in the tiny little lentils! They’re packed full of fibre, (which helps keep you full) folate, (which allows your nerves to function properly), magnesium (essential for energy production)! A single cooked cup of the legumes has 18g of protein, 40g of carbohydrates, <1g of fat and 16g of dietary fibre. Powerful, nutrient dense. If you haven’t tried them – you should.

And here’s one way you can..

Red Lentil and Butternut Squash Dahl

  • Servings: 2
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1/2 cup red lentils
1/2 cup butternut squash, cubed
2 large handfuls spinach
1/4 red onion, diced
1 TSP ground black pepper
1 TSP sea salt flakes
2 TSP coconut oil
Dash of ground ginger
Dash of dried sage flakes
1/2 TSP fenugreek
1 TSP of ground turmeric
Dash of ground cayenne pepper
Red chilli flakes, to serve *optional

Cook the onions & add all the spices bar the fenugreek & turmeric in a pot, until the onions are translucent, and take off the heat. In a separate pan, bring 2 cups of water to boil, then add the lentils and cook for 10 minutes on medium heat. After 10 minutes, add the butternut squash cubes to the pot, and cook until these are cooked through, but still firm to bite (about 5 minutes). Pour the lentils & squash into the onions and herbs pan, and stir altogether. Finally, add the salt, fenugreek, turmeric and spinach, and stir until the spinach has wilted. Serve in a bowl, and sprinkle the chilli flakes on top.

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