Tag Archives: Lentils

Syrian Meatballs & Sweet Potatoes

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Syrian Meatballs & Sweet Potatoes

For something as seemingly easy as meatballs, I sure had a heck of a time putting together this meal. None of the individual components are really all that complicated – it’s basically meatballs, some roasted red sweet potato, and brown lentils. Easy, right?

Well, it really should have been, except that my regular grocery store has been totally screwing me over lately by selling me bad produce. You’d think that I would be able to pick out good, non-rotting onions and red sweet potatoes but evidently NOT.

I really try my best to cook with as many fresh ingredients as I can get my hands on. You’ll very rarely see my recipes call for cans of anything or “cream of” anything, so I get pretty frustrated when I buy an onion and two red sweet potatoes on a Sunday and by Tuesday the onion is half moldy and one of the two red sweet potatoes practically dissolves in my hand when I pick it up. I bought the two sweet potatoes the exact same way! I picked them each up, gave them a little squeeze, and placed them in my cart. How is it that one of them can just go completely rotten in the span of 48 hours. Damn you, un-named chain grocery store near my house!

So I had been planning to make these meatballs (which call for one WHOLE onion, not half of an onion salvaged from a ball of moldy mess) along with a red sweet potato puree made with coconut milk. Sounds awesome, RIGHT?

Well since I only found myself with ONE red sweet potato instead of two, I didn’t quite have enough to justify the work of a puree, so I chopped it up and roasted it instead. I tried to peel it, but I guess red sweet potatoes don’t like to be peeled. Sooo I left the peel on and it was delicious that way anyhow. If you enjoy being frustrated, feel free to try to peel yours.

I roasted it with some oil, spices, and apple cider vinegar and it was absolutely delicious. Honestly, probably better than the puree would have been. Since I didn’t have a ton of sweet potatoes and I wanted to actually satisfy my hunger with this meal, I decided to make some brown lentils to bulk it up a bit. This also ended up being an awesome idea, because the lentils soaked up all sorts of delicious drippings from the onions and meatballs.

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In short, what started as a big failed project ended up being a truly delicious dinner. It was hearty, flavorful, and full of texture and color. Hooray!

Here are the recipes for both the Meatballs and the Sweet Potatoes:

Syrian Meatballs

Makes: 4 Servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 small onion
  • 1 lb. lean ground beef
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 tsp. of salt, divided
  • 1 tsp of cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. allspice
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 large onion
  • 3 tbsp. of tomato paste
  • 2 cups of beef or chicken stock
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Peel and roughly chop the small onion. Place the pieces in a food processor and process until finely minced. Place 1 tsp. of salt over the onions and set aside to let them spit out their excess water for about 5-10 minutes.
  3. In a medium bowl, place the ground beef, egg, 1/2 tsp. salt, cinnamon, allspice and cumin. Once the onions have spit out their water, drain them and add them to the bowl. Mix with your hands until all is well incorporated.
  4. Form into marble-sized meatballs (have patience, young Jedi!) and place on a greased wire rack atop a baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 5-7 minutes or until brown in color.
  5. Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium heat and add the olive oil. Slice your large onion in thick rings and brown them in the pan until they are translucent, about 3-5 minutes.
  6. Once the meatballs are out the oven, toss them into the pan with the onions and add the broth and tomato paste. Stir well and let the mixture come to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and let the mixture cook for 15-20 minutes until thickened.
  7. Remove from heat and add the juice from half a lemon.
  8. Serve with lentils and roasted sweet potatoes (recipe below)!

Nutrition (per serving):

345 calories, 24 g. fat, 23 g. protein, 9 g. carbs, 2 g. fiber. WW PointsPlus: 9

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Sweet Potatoes

Makes: 4 Servings

Ingredients:

  • 2 medium sweet potatoes, diced 1-inch cubes
  • 2 Tbsp. grapeseed oil (or canola oil)
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp. brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp. curry powder

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the diced sweet potato, oil, vinegar, brown sugar, salt, cumin, and curry powder. Toss to combine.
  3. Spread in a single layer on a 9 x 13 ” baking sheet.
  4. Bake for 15 minutes. Toss, return to oven, and continue baking for another 10-15 minutes or until the sweet potatoes are able to be cut with a fork.
  5. Serve warm.

Syrian Meatballs & Sweet Potatoes

Nutrition (per serving):

132 calories, 7 g. fat, 1 g. protein, 17 g. carbs, 2 g. fiber. WW PointsPlus: 4

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Thai Basil Lentils with Sweet Potato

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Thai Basil Lentils with Sweet Potato

I’m pretty sure the husband is getting massively sick of vegetarian meals. I promised him that tomorrow night I’d cook some beef, but tonight it’s just going to be all about me and my love for this bowl of straight-up awesomeness.

I’m also pretty sure that you’re getting sick of all of the lentil recipes, but you’re just going to have to deal with it because that is how my life works. I get completely obsessed with something (in this case, lentils) and then go so completely overboard that I get sick of it. Lately my obsessions have been Thai food (well, that one is more like a five-year-and-counting obsession), mint, lime, and cilantro. No joke, if I have some lime and cilantro in my house I am totally set. I can make Thai Food or Mexican Food with those two ingredients and that comprises about 80% of my diet anyway.

Okay, back to the Thai Lentils.

Neither words nor pictures can do this dish justice. Oh. Em. Gee. Deliciousness, my friends. Deliciousness.

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Tender little lentils cozy up so nicely with earthy sweet potatoes and smooth coconut milk. Every mouthful is just bursting with bright basil, ginger, and a hint of Thai chilies.

ThaiLentils6I’m so glad I made a huge pot of this because I’m planning on having it for lunch for the next six years. This is delicious over rice, but is also nice on it’s own if you forgot to make some while you were cooking this (not mentioning any names here…. but it was me).

You know I couldn’t help but come up with another 30-minute, one-pot meal, right? Whatever, some of us have jobs, okay? No need to call me lazy.

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While I was making this I was talking to the food like the way Stan’s dad did in that one South Park episode. You know which one I’m talking about, right?

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I’m pretty sure that at one point I said out loud “Oh, yeah. I’m going to de-glaze the s#*! out of this pan.” Well if you haven’t seen that episode you probably think I’m crazy right now, but the point is that I got really into this as it was cooking. It smelled absolutely heavenly.

ThaiLentils3I prefer my lentils to be on the softer-side, so by the time I had stirred everything into this dish and let it simmer they were practically reduced to mush. Ah, perfect. If you like yours a bit firmer, just cook them for less time.

I’m always here for you when you need super obvious cooking advice.

I hope that by this point I’ve convinced you that this is delicious and you should really make it, like, tonight. If not, then I’m not sure why you’re still reading at this point.

So…. let’s just assume you’re going to make this. Tonight.

You’ll be needing the recipe:

Makes: 6 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup lentils, sorted and rinsed
  • 4 cups fresh baby spinach leaves
  • 4 cups vegetable broth (or chicken broth if you’re into that sort of thing)
  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled and diced
  • 1 tsp. turmeric
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp. butter
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 onion, thinly sliced
  • 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 2 Thai chiles, ribs and seeds removed, minced
  • 1 inch of fresh ginger, peeled
  • 2/3 cup light coconut milk
  • 3 tablespoons fresh basil, roughly chopped

Directions:

  1. In a large dutch oven (or other heavy bottomed pot), heat your butter and oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once your oil is hot, add the onions, chilies, and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, for 2 minutes.
  2. Add in your broth, potatoes, and lentils and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 20-25 minutes until the sweet potatoes can be cut with a fork but haven’t turned to mush.
  3. Add in the can of tomatoes and the turmeric, then grate your ginger directly into the pot. Let the mixture cook for another 3 minutes or so, then stir in your coconut milk and spinach. Once your spinach is wilted and your dish is heated through, remove from heat and serve over rice. Top with fresh basil.

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Nutrition (per serving):

289 calories, 16 g. fat, 5 g. protein, 28 g. carbs, 5 g. fiber. WW PointsPlus: 7