Red Lentil Mash with Labneh and Chives
You know what’s low key really annoying? The fact that potatoes are bad for you. Like excuse me, I’m going out of my way to eat a natural substance from the earth (that isn’t sugar but might as well be), and you’re telling me they’re bad for me??! Ugh. Don’t get me wrong: I love a mashed potato moment. When I go to a steakhouse, I always order filet mignon with mashed potatoes. In fact, mashed potatoes are my favorite kind of potato. Yes, I prefer the fluffy, silky mash over French fries, roasted potatoes, loaded baked potatoes, potato skins, and potato chips. BUT, mashed potatoes aren’t really an everyday kind of food — especially the way I like to eat them — fluffed up with butter, salt and sour cream. That’s where these mashed red lentils come in!
This red lentil mash is one of my favorite comforting, hearty, mashed potato-esque sides to enjoy. Before I get into the recipe, I want to link some *info* on lentils and why they are a nutritious option. In a nutshell, I choose red lentils for this recipe because they have a similar comforting flavor to potatoes (with a little more earthiness) and they easily mash when cooked with a little extra liquid. Nutritionally, potatoes have a very high glycemic index, which isn’t a good option for anyone with diabetes or blood sugar issues. On the other end of things, red lentils have a low glycemic index and other nutritional benefits.
While all lentils are good for you, you can only make this recipe with red lentils due to their texture. Other types of lentils don’t provide the same *~mash~* quality. So what did I do with this recipe to make the mash sooooo delicious and fabulous!?!? First, I boiled the lentils in a vegetable stock, with smoked paprika, cumin and salt. Towards the end of the cooking process, I added a little more water so they would absorb the liquid and lose their firmness. Once the lentils are mashed, I remove them from the heat and fold in a little bit of ghee to give them a buttery deliciousness. This step is optional of course, but I love the touch of butteriness. I then plate the lentils and top with labneh, which is a thick strained Greek yogurt creamy kefir cheese. This gives me the same vibes that I would get if I were putting sour cream in my mashed potatoes AKA absolute deliciousness tangy creaminess with comforting buttery potatoes. Top it with salt, pepper, paprika and chives or scallions and bam! We have a winner.
|Red Lentil Mash
|2cups red lentils, washed, any stones removed
|2cups vegetable stock
|1tsp smoked paprika
|1/2tsp ground cumin
|1tsp garlic powder
|Pinch of salt
|2tbsp ghee, can sub for vegan alternative butter or just plain old butter!
|Labneh, can sub for Greek yogurt or a vegan alternative
|Chopped chives or scallions
|Sprinkle of smoked paprika
|Drizzle of extra virgin olive oil
Put the lentils in a pot and season with salt, paprika, cumin and garlic powder. Then, add the vegetable stock and water until the lentils are fully covered in the liquid.
Bring the liquid to a boil, then lower to a simmer. Simmer the lentils for 20 minutes, until they have absorbed all of the liquid. If they are still rigid and maintained their lentil shape, add 1/4 cup more water or stock and allow the lentils to absorb, until they lose most of their shape, resulting in a mash. We don't want the lentils to become too watery like a soup, but we also don't want them to keep their shape. Do what feels best to you!
Once the desired lentil mash is achieved, remove the pot from the heat. Add 2 tbsp of ghee and fold into the mash with a spoon, until fully combined.
Plate the lentils and use the back of your spoon to create a divot. Add about 1 tbsp of labneh (or the alternative of your choice) to the divot, then drizzle olive oil on top. Finish with salt, pepper, paprika and a generous amount of chives or scallions.