Vegan lunch - lentil and roasted radicchio
For the past years, we've been consciously trying to reduce the amount of meat we eat, and to source the little amount we eat from the best local organic producers. We're trying, with more or less success to follow a partially vegan diet, and yes, I know, this concept make the "real" vegans cringe... After reading Michael Pollan's book "the Omnivore's Dilemma" a few years ago,we became convinced that we had to be more aware of the provenance of our meat, and started to choose seafood from the Sacramento Coop or from local fishermen selling salmon on the farmer's market, beef from a local ranch (Lucky Dog Ranch in Dixon), and pork from our trusted fabulous friend Mr John Bledsoe. Honestly, we did not find yet meat that good, that flavorful here in France. So pork and beef has almost disappeared from our french diet at home, without even thinking about it.
Thanks to the New York Times, we discovered Mark Bittman's book chronicling a new approach to changing his diet : Vegan Before 6 - VB6, where he details how a strict vegan diet (no meat, no fish or seafood, no dairy) before diner allowed him to get in much better health, getting diabetes his in check and helping him losing a great amount of weight. And far from incidentally, he explains the wide-ranging benefits—to the environment, the economy, and global health—of reducing our consumption of meat and animal products on a broad scale. But his job - he's a food writer, dining out a lot in NYC- made it impossible for him to completely forgo animal protein, and he simply did not want to do it either, so restricting it at dinner time made sense to him. It made sense to us too, as we tend to have dinner together after a day's work, and go out or invite friends in the evening, and we like to cook and eat seafood, fish and eat cheese and had not intention to cut it from our diet. The promise of a healthier diet where nothing is restricted is seducing, so we tried it, and felt better after a few days. Now we're committing again.
That's why I'm starting the vegan lunches series. It's not that easy to find good vegan food here in Rennes, save for a few turkish or thai places, and then there's always the falafel pita wrap... But 90% of the plats du jour (entrée of the day) in restaurants and bistros are a meat and starch/veggie combo. So here we are, prepping and cooking a few lunches each week, and bringing a bit of that vegan american vibe here...
Lentils and roasted radicchio - 2 servings
- 2 cups cooked green lentils
- 2 carrots
- 1 onion
- 1 celery stalk
- 1 tsp of thyme
- salt and pepper
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- Chop the onion, the carrots and the celery in a fine julienne
- Heat your olive oil in a pan
- Sauté the onion, the carrots and the celery with the olive oil and the thyme until cooked ( about 10 minutes)
- Cut the radicchio in quarters, brush with olive oil, sprinkle a dash of salt
- Roast the radicchio on a griddle until it softens and the leaves are slightly charred
- Toss the lentils with the vegetables until warm, add salt and pepper to taste
- Serve in a bowl, add the roasted radicchio.
- In the pan still hot, warm and slightly reduce the balsamic vinegar, sprinkle on top of the salad.