Middle-Eastern Style Lentils

By day three of my week as a vegetarian, I was feeling like complete crap. I woke up starving, ready to eat my weight in Godfather’s pizza. I was exhausted, run down, feeling completely deprived. Ready to give up completely and scarf down an entire pound of bacon. I put out some feelers and got feedback that I was definitely missing out on some important components, i.e. protein.

See, this whole week trial has made me think. It’s made me analyze my regular eating habits. I eat a lot of crap. I don’t mean to, but it’s a fact and I do. And so just taking out the meat and replacing it with other meals didn’t leave me feeling any better. Because I was still eating the normal junk. Transitioning from a meat-filled diet to a meatless diet requires a lot more thinking. A lot more time and effort put in to researching what I could be eating, what I could be making, how I should be changing my diet.

A friend suggested using the food plate (the one that replaced the old food pyramid) and it’s been a life-saver, for sure. It opened my eyes to what I was eating, daily. Yes, there is still a need for protein but it doesn’t have to come from meat. And subbing in a piece of chocolate fudge where I could have been eating watermelon is a bad idea. No, chocolate fudge is never a bad idea but it definitely does not leave me feeling full, satisfied and energized. If I take this food plate and try to model my eating around it, will I end up being healthier, feeling better? Probably. Can I still indulge in the occasional snack? Sure.

As for where I started getting my proteins, I turned to a few good staples that I want to start incorporating on a more regular basis. Greek yogurt, of course. It’s filled with protein and if you toss in a scoop of peanut butter or some nuts, then you are even better off. I had some for breakfast on Day 4 and ended up feeling full and more energetic than on Day 3. Also lentils. Lentils are a great source of protein. I’d never had them before but figured why the heck not. My first thought was to make them as I would my favorite risotto. So I took some chopped onion and sautéed it in a little bit of butter. I added in the cooked lentils and a ton of seasoning plus some tomato paste and let it all incorporate for a few minutes.

The result is a really tasty Middle-Eastern style dish that is packed full of flavor as well as protein. I made 1/2 cup of lentils and it definitely carried me through two lunches. I could barely eat 1 serving without feeling stuffed.

5.0 from 1 reviews

Middle-Eastern Style Lentils
Recipe type: vegetarian, dinner
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 

Serves: 2

A flavorful, meat-free option for dinner.
  • ½ cup cooked lentils
  • 1 Tbsp. butter
  • ½ onion, diced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 Tbsp. tomato paste
  • ¼ tsp. curry powder
  • ½ tsp. coriander
  • ½ tsp. paprika
  • ½ tsp. black pepper
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ¼ tsp. turmeric
  • ½ tsp. allspice

  1. In a small dish, combine curry, corinader, paprika, black pepper, salt, turmeric and allspice.
  2. Heat butter over medium heat in a sauce pan. Add in onions and cook until translucent. Add garlic and stir until fragrant.
  3. Add lentils to the pan and stir to combine. Cook for two minutes, then add in the spices. Stir well combine.
  4. Add in tomato paste and stir until well incorporated.


8 thoughts on “Middle-Eastern Style Lentils

  1. Congrats on this week, it must be hard, but I think using the food plate is a great idea and something I might personally try!

    I’m always interested in what to do with a giant bag of dry lentils I once bought, so this will definitely be used! Thank you!

  2. I’m not a vegetarian, but I’ll often have meat only once or twice a week. But we do eat plenty of eggs. I love all dried legumes and pulses, so we have those all the time. Your lentil dish is exactly the sort of dish I enjoy making and eating – it looks so good! Good luck with the vegetarian experiment – changing dietary patterns isn’t an easy thing to do, I know.

    • It definitely wasn’t an easy change! I felt starving for a good couple of days. Although eggs became my best friend, for sure. While I don’t think I’ll go veg all the time, I really enjoy knowing that there are a lot of other creative options out there. :)

  3. I’m glad you started to get used to eating meatless! :) I use a lot of beans and lentils because as well as giving protein, they’re filling so you don’t feel deprived. I think even I would feel deprived if I just ate vegetables all the time, and I’ve been veggie for 15 years! If you ever try going veggie again, even just for another week, feel free to ask for any tips or ideas! :)

    • Going meatless definitely got easier as the time went on. I think I’m going to try it again soon and I’m definitely using some of your recipes! Especially the veggie pot pies…Yummmmm!!!!

  4. Lentils are always in my kitchen and we do eat a lot of them here. I love this new version to try.

    PS..Good for you going veggie for a week. :)

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