I’ve changed my diet a bit more since my last post, so I thought it was about time to update y’all! I have now excluded all sugar from my diet, including honey. I’ve also been eating plant-based as much as possible, with the goal of one plant-based meal per day. Usually, I eat some sort of animal protein for dinner.
Cutting out sugar has been harder than reducing my meat intake. Sugar is addictive, so the difficulty can probably be attributed mostly to that, although I do love sweets in general. Now, when I crave chocolate (yes, I’ve even reduced my chocolate intake. When I do eat chocolate, I eat 85% cacao because there is less sugar), I opt for fruit. My go-to fruits lately have been apples and grapes. I like to pair my apples with grocery store-made almond butter. They make the almond butter there for you and it’s delicious!
Overall, I enjoy eating a more plant-based diet. It feels better in my body and I get to support local farmers because I buy most of my produce from them! I’ve been using Sahara Rose’s new Ayurvedic cookbook to make plant-based meals, and they’ve been so tasty. I can talk about recipes I’ve been trying from her book another time, but I highly recommend you check out her book.
One day, I would like to be vegetarian, but I’m hesitant to do so now because over the summer I lost a couple of pounds…which isn’t bad necessarily, my weight does fluctuate a little bit, but I’m afraid I’d lose more weight by becoming vegetarian. I’m also afraid of having vitamin deficiencies. Plus I don’t want to have such a prohibitive diet because cutting out dairy and sugar are difficult enough…to exclude animal protein would be even harder. So for now, I’m just doing the best that I can to eat lots of veggies and plant-protein while avoiding sugar and dairy.
A couple of years ago, my step-grandmother introduced me to the world of lentils. She had shown me a lentil soup recipe that I then cooked on my own until high school consumed my life and I temporarily stopped cooking. I forgot about lentils after that since it’s not a staple in my mom’s Puerto Rican- cooking, or in any other heritage that I am regularly exposed to. It wasn’t until my girlfriend, who is Indian, brought Indian cuisine into my everyday life that I remembered my love for lentils.
Plus, since I want to make more vegetarian dishes, it’s a great ingredient for a variety of meals!
I decided to make spiced lentils that I hoped would be similar to a delicious Indian lentil dish I had had. They were not very similar because this lentil dish is Moroccan-inspired, but they were still fantastic! I got this recipe from Minimalist Baker, which is my favorite recipe site as of late. I love this website because they make vegan/vegetarian meals, and many of them are very simple to make. They usually require only a couple of ingredients, most of which I have at home, and they aren’t time-consuming either. I definitely recommend checking them out!
This recipe called for green lentils specifically…I’m unsure why honestly. I don’t know the difference between lentils. Perhaps it’s akin to differences in beans? I’m a lentil-novice still, so my apologies that I don’t know more.
I got these lentils from ShopRite, and I thought that compared to other lentils, the green ones were more expensive. That was also because they only had organic green lentils. I don’t know why they didn’t have nonorganic green lentils, but my girlfriend recommended that next time I go to the Indian store to get lentils.
Aside from lentils, you also need a whole red pepper, onion (I used yellow), tomato paste, fresh garlic, apple cider vinegar, and a crap-ton of spices.
Then, all you have to do is cook the lentils until tender and blend the other ingredients to make a sauce. Once the lentils are cooked, drain the excess water and mix in the blended sauce. Bam, that’s it!
The cool thing about this recipe is that you can add as much of the required spices as you want so you can make it as spicy, acidic, sweet, and salty as you want! I will forewarn y’all though to taste it as you go…and maybe to slowly add the fresh spices too.
I personally feel like I added too much garlic and onion to mine. I thought I used the required amount, although I didn’t measure anything…but because you don’t cook the sauce, the bite of the garlic and onion remains pretty intense. If you have sensitive stomachs, and even if you don’t, perhaps cook the onion and garlic a little before you blend it, or cook the sauce after you blend it…or both! I wanted to try cooking it to see how it affected the flavors, but I didn’t get a chance. I expect to make this again so I’ll try it for next time.
Anyway, here’s the mixture of the sauce with the lentils.
Below is the dish with my girlfriend’s spicy Indian rice as well as some fresh parsley and cilantro on top. Another time I had this fish with plain jasmine rice and then another time with my girlfriend’s not-spicy Indian rice, and those ways I had it were better. A super flavorful rice competed too much with this spiced lentil dish.
The last thing I have to say about this recipe is that I find lentils to be a little confusing to make. The only other time I’ve made them has been in soup, which takes awhile to cook so they end up being prepared properly. In this situation, however, my girlfriend felt that I had undercooked them. I ate all six servings myself and I had no idea. I’m going to watch a lentil cooking video next time to ensure that they are prepared properly.
Do you like lentils? How do you like them prepared?
I’m going to make a new lentil soup this week so stay tuned for that!
This sandwich makes an excellent and satisfying vegan lunch! Plus, it takes only 20-30 min to prepare, and there is no cooking involved! I actually made it for the first time when I was on a time-crunch in the morning, and it was so easy to make. It’s essentially a vegan alternative to tuna sandwiches, which I love deeply but I don’t eat them anymore since my mom told me tuna has high mercury levels so I should refrain from eating it.
Aside from this being delicious and akin to a tuna sandwich, I also love it because there is no meat involved yet it is packed with protein! I haven’t been cooking meat lately because the last couple of times I did, most of it ended up in the trash. The meat was not as fresh as it was supposed to be. I have also been finding the preparation of meat severely unpleasant. I’ve since decided that I will primarily eat vegetarian when I am home and when I go out, I will consume meat if I want to. This has been a great solution thus far, but when I move back with my parents in a couple of weeks, I may consume more meat because my mom may prepare it for me. Otherwise, though, I’d like to eat more of a vegetarian diet when I’m responsible for my food.
Chickpea Sunflower Sandwich Recipe – How I made it:
I never follow recipes exactly, which may be why I have some mishaps sometimes. For the chickpea mixture though, I followed the recipe to a T except I used regular mayo instead of vegan mayo. This wasn’t due to anything other than being unsure where vegan mayo is in the grocery store and also pretty certain that it would be more expensive than if I just got a giant jar of regular mayo.
Oh, I also squeezed some lemon and added garlic powder and basil to the mixture because it sounded like a good idea, and it was! So I guess I didn’t follow the recipe exactly…
The second time I made the mixture is what is pictured above and I didn’t use lettuce because I didn’t have any at the time, but the first time I had kale so I used that in addition to tomatoes. I also didn’t add onions the second time I made it…if you like onions, add them! Otherwise, it’s not necessary. It’s delicious regardless!
I’ve never made the garlic herb sauce they recommend to try, but I’d like to try it! There wasn’t any dill at the grocery store when I went though, hence why I added lemon and garlic to the mixture instead.
Please let me know if you decide to try it let me know how it is!