It’s Day Two of our cleanse, and another recipe is being subbed in for the Bon Appetit suggestion of Black-Eyed Pea Curry for dinner. To start, I honestly don’t think I can handle another stew-like dish for a while after making (and eating) a huge pot of curried lentil and green pea soup while snowed in last week. That said, I still like lentils for their high protein and vitamin counts, and wanted to make a hearty dish to warm up after another cold windy day.
This recipe is inspired by a selection from the NYTimes Recipes for Health section (which is usually pretty good, if a little heavy on the fancy ingredients at times). I decided to make the Middle Eastern Kufteh appetizer (traditionally little balls of pounded meat, fish or vegetables) a main course and added some lightly fried kale with sweet potato to fill things out. Since I don’t have bulgur wheat (and didn’t feel like buying it today) I used up some leftover dried black beans to thicken the patty mixture. Canned beans are much easier so feel free to use them instead. I also used an egg replacer (Ener-G) to better bind the mixture together (a real egg works just as well). This recipe makes quite a bit of dough-like batter: the first batch made 15 2-inch patties and I decided to freeze the rest of it for future use. The entire recipe probably makes about 45 2-inch patties.
For the Patties:
1-2 cups black beans, rinsed (If dried, follow instructions on bag for soaking and cooking; there are a number of ways to do this. If canned, you’re good to go.)
1/2 cup red lentils, rinsed
2-3 cups water
1 1/2 teaspoons Ener-G Egg Replacer + 2 tablespoons water (equals 1 egg)
1/2 large or medium onion, finely minced
4 cloves garlic (3 also works)
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon of garlic powder (optional)
Pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Then start by boiling the lentils in the 2-3 cups of water. This variety of lentil becomes tender very quickly, so they should be finished in about 10 minutes. Drain the lentils and combine with the cooked and drained black beans in a large bowl. Mash with a fork until you get a thick paste (adding a little bit of water can help with this). Add the egg replacer or egg and continue to mash. Add finely chopped onion and garlic, and season with cumin, pepper, and/or garlic powder.
Drop the mixture by the tablespoonful (like cookies) on an ungreased baking sheet. Feel free to mold them into the desired shape (I just did little flattened balls). Bake in the oven for 15 minutes on each side or until slightly golden a bit crispy on the edges. Serve warm on a bed of lightly fried kale.
For the Kale:
1 cup raw kale
1 tablespoon olive oil
Rip off the desired amount of kale, rinse, and place in a preheated and oiled skillet set on high heat. The kale will fry pretty quickly so keep an eye on it and don’t be afraid to stir it around. Add more oil if necessary. Some of the leaves will become charred so remove from heat after about 5-8 minutes or when you see blackened leaves (don’t worry, these parts taste delicious, almost like caramelized onions). Place kale on a plate and serve immediately with the bean/lentil patties.
Optional Sweet Potato:
I decided to add a sweet potato in for good measure. Sweet potatoes have an amazingly high vitamin A content and their flavor pairs really nicely with the crispy and sweet kale in this dish. I cooked my sweet potato in the microwave for 4:45 minutes and sliced it into medallions to make things look pretty.
The other options for Day Two of BA’s cleanse are interesting but not really vegetarian friendly, so I wasn’t moved to experiment. I did however try the snack recipe for shaved chocolate on low-fat yogurt, and subbed in frozen blueberries for tangerines– very easy and very tasty!