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Pomodori Gratinati (Crunchy Tomatoes)

tomatoes cruncy recipe Florence

On my recent trip to Italy, Chef Stefania Borgioli taught me how to make this delicious dish! A great recipe for your garden tomatoes!

Ingredients
10 ripe tomatoes ( Sammarzano or Roma type)
1 garlic clove
Parsley
Basil
3 handfuls of bread crumbs
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Parmesan cheese to taste
Salt

Directions
1. Cut tomatoes in half; gently remove the seeds, and salt them a little.
2. In a blender put all of the other ingredients to make a “panure” (breadcrumb mixture).
3. Put the tomatoes in a baking pan lined with parchment paper. Stuff the tomatoes with the panure.
4. Bake at 400F for about 20 minutes or until golden on top.
5. Enjoy hot or at room temperature. Perfect also to dress pasta.

Recipe printed with permission from Chef Stefania, Toscana in Bocca, Florence, Italy.

5 Reasons Why I LOVE Lentils!


1. Lentils are cheap. I paid $2.99 for a big package of dried green lentils which should be enough for at least 10 servings. Costing it out, that’s about 30 cents for a solid serving of protein! Not bad, especially when foods costs are skyrocketing these days.

2. Lentils are nutritious. A 3/4 cup serving of cooked lentils is a substitute for meat, an excellent source of iron and packs in about 25% of my daily quota for fibre.

3. Lentils need no soaking.
Unlike many other dried beans, lentils don’t have to be soaked prior to cooking – a real time saver!

4. Lentils are versatile.
For week 3 of my Pulse Pledge, I made Easy Lentils and Rice. Last week, I used a can of lentils to make an amazing Lentil Shepherd’s Pie.

5. Lentils are delicious. They add texture and soak up any spices or flavours in your recipe. Give these nutritious gems a try!

Easy Lentils and Rice

Makes 4 servings

Ingredients
1 tbsp canola oil
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 red or orange pepper, diced
1 tsp ground cumin
salt to taste
1 cup dried green or brown lentils
2 cups sodium-reduced chicken or vegetable broth

Directions
1. In a saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Fry onion, garlic, celery and red pepper for a few minutes. Add cumin and salt. Continue cooking until onions are soft.
2. Stir in the lentils.
3. Add broth and bring to boil.
4. Simmer for about 35-40 minutes until the lentils are tender.
5. Serve over cooked rice, whole grain couscous or quinoa.

Pulse Pledge Week 2 – Lentil Shepherd’s Pie

[Thrilled to meet Chef Michael Smith!]

If you haven’t yet signed up for the Pulse Pledge, I encourage you to do it now and join this amazing global food movement! The challenge is to eat pulses once a week for 10 weeks – and you can do that!

Pulses are dried peas, lentils, beans and chickpeas. They’re super nutritious, delicious, versatile, economical and a sustainable food!

For Week 1 of my Pulse Pledge, I whipped up a delicious gluten-free Chickpea Chocolate Cake and shared with my friends and family.

This week, I made Lentil Shepherd’s Pie – it’s my all time favourite lentil recipe and tastes fantastic! I hope you’ll give it a try! I think Chef Michael would approve!

Lentil Shepherd’s Pie
Makes 6 servings
Serve with a side salad or other vegetable.

Ingredients
2 tsp vegetable oil
1 onion, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 can (19 oz/540 mL) stewed tomatoes
1 can (19 oz/540 mL) green lentils (drained and rinsed)
pepper
3 cups mashed potatoes (about 3 large)
1 cup low fat cottage cheese
4 green onions
salt

Directions
1. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat; cook onion, carrots and garlic, stirring occasionally, for 3-5 minutes or until softened.
2. Add tomatoes and break them up (if needed) with a potato masher or back of a wooden spoon. Reduce heat to medium and cook, uncovered for 15-20 minutes or until thickened.
3. Stir in lentils, season with pepper to taste. Transfer to a deep 8 cup (2 L) baking dish.
4. Combine potatoes with cottage cheese and green onions. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Spoon over lentil mixture to cover completely.
5. Bake, uncovered, in 400 F (200 C) oven for 35 minutes or until heated through.

Recipe Source: The Canadian Living Light and Healthy Cookbook, 1991

Comments/Review: You could also use dried green lentils instead of canned. Just simmer 1 cup (250 mL) of rinsed lentils with about 5 cups (1.25 L) of water for 25 minutes or until tender, then drain well and add to recipe.

Get ready for International Year of Pulses!

The United Nations has declared 2016 as International Year of Pulses!

Dried peas, beans, lentils and chickpeas are examples of pulses. Packed with nutrition, pulses are are a super sources of fibre, iron and protein.

Research from the Canadian Medical Association Journal found that eating 1 serving (3/4 cup) of pulses three times a week lowered the “bad” LDL cholesterol by 5%. Because pulses are a low Glycemic Index food, they cause a slower rise in blood sugar – that’s good news for people with diabetes or anyone watching their blood sugar levels.

Here are some of my favourite pulse recipes which I’ve collected over the years! Enjoy!

Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie (made with lentils)

Black Bean Veggie Burgers

Red Lentil & Vegetable Dal

Chickpea Chocolate Cake (you’ve got to try this!)

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