Life’s a Feast: Puy lentils with mushrooms, brussels sprouts and rocket

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After months of eating slow-cooked foods, hearty soups and roasts, our household needed a nutritional pick-me-up. With spring nipping at our heels, I opted for a lentil salad, throwing in some rocket to liven and spring it up a little.

Brussels sprouts are a rather polarising vegetable, but are packed full of vitamins C and and dietary fibre. Leave out if they truly leave you gagging, but this recipe crisps them up and adds a wonderful tang to counter the bitterness one usually associates with this vegetable. Enjoy this spring teaser.

PREP TIME: 10 MINS

COOK TIME: 30 MINS

SERVES: 2-3 PEOPLE

Ingredients

1 cup puy lentils (French green lentils are the same)

4 cups vege or chicken stock (or water,but more flavour from stock)

150g brussels sprouts (about 6-7)

2 cups mushrooms, sliced (I use larger brown, not button)

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 shallot or small onion, halved and finely sliced

3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped

4 rashers bacon (optional, leave this and chicken stock out to make vegetarian)

teaspoon chilli flakes or more to taste

3 tablespoons lemon juice

cup rocket (arugula)

2 tablespoons chopped chives (optional)

Method

1.Place lentils and stock in a pot and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer. Simmer for 25-30 minutes or until lentils are tender. Drain and set aside.

2.Meanwhile, place a large frying pan with 1 tablespoon of olive oil over a high heat. Add a third of the mushrooms. Wait until mushrooms turn light golden, then turn. Remove from pan. Repeat with remaining mushrooms and set aside.

3.Bring a pot of water to boil and place the brussels sprouts in and cook for 2 mins. Drain and slice in half once cooled a little.

4.Heat the same pan you cooked the mushrooms in to a medium-high heat with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add shallots and bacon, and cook until crispy. Add garlic until just starting to soften then add brussels sprouts face-side down and allow to brown slightly. Turn once browned and thoroughly combine with the bacon, shallot and garlic. Pour over 2 tablespoons of the lemon and sprinkle through the chilli and combine.

5.Add back in cooked lentils and mushrooms and thoroughly combine. Add in the last tablespoon of lemon. Season to taste.

6.Remove from heat and add rocket by gently folding through with a wooden spoon.

7.Pour into a large serving platter, sprinkle with chives and serve immediately.

NB:You can add a variety of proteins to this dish to make it go further. A poached egg works well, or a pork fillet, sausage or bacon-wrapped chicken, to name a few.