This dinner was put together one night when looking for a way to use up a package of steamed lentils from Trader Joe’s, a few Portobello mushroom caps, and some quinoa. Yes, I said steamed lentils! It’s a pack of 2 1/2 cups of lentils, vacuum sealed and ready to go. Now, there’s no reason at all why you couldn’t make your own lentils, but I think it would be better if you made them ahead and let them sit in the fridge for a day. Just like you do for fried rice. It lets them separate and firm up, and hold up better to sautéing—so they don’t turn to mush.
The quinoa part of this is done polenta-style, with some fresh grated parmesan, and is from Whole Grains for Busy People, by Lorna Sass. Couldn’t be easier! I’ve made this quite a few times already, even adding an extra bit of half and half at the end for a little more creaminess. Delicious!
Lorna’s book is loaded with great recipes—I have a ton marked to try. And it’s not a vegetarian book, by any means. There’s plenty of meaty recipes in there, but whole grains are included. And they’re all quick, weeknight meals, with grains that cook quickly. But don’t feel the need to limit them to just weeknights!
So get your quinoa polenta going in one pot, and start the lentils in another pan. If you like, you can do the mushrooms in a third pan, but I just transfer the lentils to a bowl when they’re done, then do the portobellos in the same pan. They’re very quick to cook up, so your other stuff isn’t going to get cold.
Don’t look at the three elements and think it’s too complicated, please. Each one is extremely quick and easy, I promise!
From Whole Grains for Busy People, and slightly changed
1 cup quinoa
2 cups chicken broth (or use vegetable broth if you prefer)
1/2 cup grated fresh parmesan
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp of your favorite fresh herbs, minced (or about 1 tsp dried)
salt and fresh cracked black pepper
In a saucepan, bring broth and quinoa to a boil.
Reduce heat to medium, cover and cook about 12-15 minutes, until most of the liquid is absorbed.
Stir in the remaining ingredients and set aside.
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup onion, chopped
2 1/2 cups cooked lentils
1 cup chicken broth (or vegetable if you prefer)
2 tbsp of your favorite fresh herbs, minced (or about 2 tsp dried)
fresh cracked black pepper
In a skillet over medium low heat, heat some olive oil, then add the garlic and saute for a few minutes, being
careful not to burn it.
Increase the heat to medium high, and add the onions--cook for a few minutes.
Add the lentils and broth, and simmer for about 5 minutes or so, stirring occasionally.
You want to cook off most of the liquid.
Add the herbs and pepper.
Set aside, or remove from pan--then wipe it clean and slowly heat a little olive oil to get ready for the mushrooms...
2 cloves garlic, minced
3-4 large Portobello mushroom caps, stems removed and sliced, gills removed, and rinsed
your favorite herbs
fresh cracked black pepper and a little salt
Slice the mushrooms into pieces about 3/4 inch thick. Use the sliced stems, too, if you like!
Heat a bit of oil in a pan over medium low heat, then add the garlic.
Saute, being careful not to burn it.
Add the mushrooms and cook for about 2 minutes on each side.
Add herbs, salt and pepper.
Serves 3 people
My meat-eating husband absolutely loves this one! And see how it serves three people? That means the two of us for dinner, and he gets the leftovers for lunch the next day. That’s how much he loves this dish.