Happy Earth Day friends!
We’re celebrating with this Black Lentils with Roasted Tomatoes, Mozzarella and Pesto. Go. Make. It.
Are you doing anything special today to celebrate or protect the earth? We’re headed to our local farm, Coonamessett Farm this afternoon. They’re gifting us with a bonus CSA share (our CSA doesn’t start until June) and then we’re going to their farm dinner and a movie – SEED: Then Untold Story all about the fact that 94% of our seed varieties have disappeared. The story follows passionate seed keepers protecting our 12,000 year-old food legacy, reviving a culture connected to seeds. One of Lucca’s sweet teachers is watching him while mommy and daddy have date night.
For Earth Day, the ladies over at The Recipe ReDux asked us to share how we reduce food waste, along with a recipe that makes use of what we have and minimizes waste. So, I’m sharing with you this Black Lentils with Roasted Tomatoes, Mozzarella and Pesto dish.
This is one of the simplest dishes to make (just takes a bit of time due to the roasting of tomatoes), but is most delicious. Oh, and it’s great for you – packed with plant-powered filling fiber and protein from the lentils, lycopene (a health-promoting antioxidant) from the tomatoes, heart health benefits from the garlic garlic, healthy fats from the olive oil and pesto and is chock full of flavor. Plus, it’s topped with mini mozzarella balls (ciliegine), which I have been just loving lately on everything.
What else is great about this Black Lentils with Roasted Tomatoes, Mozzarella and Pesto dish? It’s made from ingredients we had in our pantry and fridge – that were either beginning to turn (tomatoes + parsley + mini mozz were used for recipe testing earlier in the week and leftover pesto from grilled cheeses last week) or haven’t gotten any attention in a while (black beluga lentils).
DYK lentils are one of the most climate friendly proteins on the planet? We eat lentils all the time and our pantry is overstocked with them. We haven’t had these black beluga lentils (my favorite type) in a while, so it was time to use those up.
Ohhhh, and almost forgot. This recipe uses a LOT of our homegrown garlic – we still have a ton of it from last year’s harvest. So, if you’re not a garlic fan, cut way back (we used 5 cloves).
This Black Lentils with Roasted Tomatoes, Mozzarella and Pesto recipe is great warm or chilled. And save those leftovers (after all, we’re minimizing food waste here!) – they’re great over some leafy greens the next day.
So, what are we doing in the Rawn house to reduce food waste and help the planet?
• We eat our leftovers! As long as the food is safe to eat (properly stored and handled), we are pretty good about eating all of what we cook. I love leftovers for lunch on top of my salad. There is an exception to this rule – if I am recipe testing and something comes out inedible, I’ll toss it. But most things can be doctored up to be made delicious.
• We compost (usually). If produce is going bad – or won’t get used, it gets composted most of the time. The exception to this rule is that in the dead of winter, our compost bins freeze shut. Yes, we could pour boiling water on them to open them, but for those weeks where that is an issue, the scraps go in the trash. Otherwise, egg shells, coffee grinds, vegetable scraps, past-prime fruit and veggies and herbs go into the compost bin. We keep a small porcelain container by the sink and empty it into two black bins near our garden. Once the compost is ready, Adrian pours it onto our vegetable beds.
• We are part of a CSA. I mentioned above that we have a farm share from our local farm, which helps support our local farm’s operation and expenses. It begins in June and goes through October. We like to support the local guys whenever we can. Anything we don’t/can’t eat from our weekly CSA goes either to a neighbor or to our compost bin. Last year, unfortunately, a lot of the greens we got from our CSA were composted mainly because I was lazy and didn’t feel like washing the greens – they’re pretty dirty and you do get an occasional bug under the leaves. This year, we’ll only pick up the greens on occasion.
• We have two raised vegetable gardens. These are not huge gardens, but they supply us with more greens, tomatoes and garlic than we can eat. Adrian has a green thumb (his mom, you’ve heard me say before, is an amazing gardener) … mine is getting there.
• We buy mostly organic. Especially milk, soy, most produce, legumes, Lucca’s yogurt and meats and poultry. Organic farming, for the most part, utilizes less energy, creates less greenhouse gas and utilizes less harmful and toxic pesticides. We feel better buying organic food and have noticed a huge taste difference in organic fruits and vegetables vs conventional.
• We eat a LOT of plants. Fruits, veggies, nuts, beans, lentils. And rarely eat meat and when we do, we buy organic. We eat a lot of seafood and we are mindful of the fish and shellfish choices that are the most ocean-friendly and that minimize by catch. Great resource on sustainable seafood here.
• We recycle as much as we can. But we still create a lot of trash. Between baby diapers, baby paraphernalia (for Lucca and now baby 2 on the way), food and house construction material we create and waste a lot of stuff. If it can be recycled, it gets recycled. But we are Amazon Prime members, which we utilize at least once a week – and we are very aware that the shipments are way over-packed to protect the goods.
• We’ve switched to mostly glass containers and green cleaners. We rarely purchase plastic nowadays and the cleaners and body products we use are mainly earth friendly and organic. Though – in March, when colds/the flu/the stomach flu were going through our house, I pulled out the bleach and everything got disinfected.
We have come a long way to being more earth friendly, but we still have a ways to go. I waste a LOT of water – between washing dishes (I am a germaphobe so use really hot water, a lot of soap and a lot of water) and taking hot showers. As a mom, now I have more long term perspective – and want to make a positive impact for Lucca’s future.
Now back to this Black Lentils with Roasted Tomatoes, Mozzarella and Pesto recipe. Here’s how to make it:
- For the roasted tomatoes:
- • 1.5 lb. multi-colored grape or cherry tomatoes
- • 5 cloves garlic, minced
- • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- For the lentils:
- • 1 cup black beluga lentils, rinsed and picked over
- Additional ingredients:
- • ¼ cup pesto (homemade or prepared)
- • 4 ounces mini mozzarella balls
- • ¼ cup chopped parsley (optional)
- Preheat oven to 375.
- Add tomatoes, garlic, olive oil and pepper to a large baking or roasting dish.
- Roast for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
- Meanwhile, bring 4 cups of water to a boil over medium high heat in a medium pot.
- Once boiling, add lentils and reduce heat to a simmer.
- Simmer lentils until tender, about 20 minutes.
- Drain and rinse in cold water.
- Remove tomatoes from oven.
- Add lentils to tomatoes and stir to combine.
- Top dish with pesto, mozzarella and parsley.