Have you ever gone to the farmer’s market and wanted to eat every single thing that you saw?
That’s how I feel this time of year. July is peak time at the local farmer’s market. There’s everything to be had: greens, summer squash, berries, peaches, early potatoes and apples, carrots, beets, corn, cucumbers, peppers, cabbage, tomatoes…the list goes on and on.
Needless to say, I spend an obscene amount of money just about every week, and that’s perfectly okay because I wind up with a fridge full of goodies that turn into recipes like this.
Italian-spiced lentils, chewy mushrooms, savory tomatoes, onions, bell peppers…and did I mention kale? It’s a bit hard to see since they’re smothered with the veggies, but some roasted potatoes are hiding in there as well. It all comes together in a delicious saute that you can’t help but devour. I’m kind of surprised I managed to get pictures of it before it disappeared into my mouth.
Roasting any vegetable automatically elevates it to a new level of awesomeness. Beets, carrots and winter squashes become little chunks of candy. Tomatoes turn into saucy delights. And potatoes develop that crunchy-on-the-outside, soft-on-the-inside bite that makes French fries so irresistible. Roasting without oil is as simple as lining your baking pan with parchment paper and remembering to stir the potatoes once halfway through cooking. I like to use them as a base for dishes instead of grains now and then for a tasty change of pace.
The more fresh ingredients you can get for this one, the better. Produce bought at a farmer’s market or local farmstand is world’s better than what you can get in the grocery store, and it can make the difference between a dish that wows and one that flops.
I have to wonder if that’s why some people say they hate fruits and vegetables. It’s a sad commentary that most of the produce you can get at the store is picked too early, shipped too far and sold too long after its peak to taste like much more than a shadow of what it’s supposed to be. I applaud any an all efforts made to get more fresh, local produce to people who have limited access to it. Community gardens, “veggie mobiles,” urban gardening, CSAs that deliver to workplaces–we need more of that to give people a taste of what they’re missing.
I feel blessed to have both a large farmer’s market and a public co-op to shop at whenever I want. If you have that, too, take advantage of it. Grab some friends who have never been there and introduce them to the array of gorgeous seasonal produce that’s available. And while you’re at it, pick up a bit extra to share and spread the produce love!
- 1lb. potatoes, your favorite variety, scrubbed and cut into chunks
- ½ cup green or brown lentils, rinsed
- 1½ cups water
- 1 clove garlic
- ½ cup onion, chopped
- 1 cup bell peppers, a mix of colors, chopped
- 2 cups mushrooms, cut into thick slices
- 1 14.5oz can diced tomatoes, drained OR 1 cup diced fresh tomatoes
- 1 small bunch kale, chopped
- 1 tsp dried basil
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- ½ tsp dried parsley
- ½ tsp dried marjoram
- black pepper, to taste
- nutritional yeast (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 425F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spread the potatoes on it in a single layer. Roast for 45 minutes, stirring once, until crispy on the outside and just starting to brown.
- Place the lentils and the water in a small saucepan. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, covered, until the lentils are tender, 30-40 minutes. Drain if necessary.
- When the lentils and potatoes are almost done cooking, place the garlic, onions and peppers in a large skillet or saute pan over medium heat. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes, adding splashes of water to the pan if necessary to prevent sticking. Add the mushrooms, cover and cook for 5 more minutes.
- Add the tomatoes, kale, cooked lentils, spices and black pepper to taste. Stir to combine everything well and cook until heated through and the kale is wilted. Serve over the roasted potatoes and garnish with nutritional yeast, if desired.