So we’ve made it, we’ve got through the first week of January and I’ve only lost it a couple of times this week. It’s the same old story every January isn’t it? The newspapers and in fact all media are full of detox plans, clean eating recipes and weight loss “inspo” ( if you even knew how much I hate that abbreviation ) This year we also have the now regular “Dryuary” and making a bigger hit this year “Veganuary”, my spell check has gone crazy!! The dry January and go Vegan for a month campaigns have honourable roots I’m sure, even if there are a little faddy too. The annual “how many buzzwords can we come up with this year” competition is going strong. There has been a little backlash though, did you notice it? A few more than usual anti-clean eating articles have been floating around and even a warning about detoxing diets from The British Dieticians Association. They are folk we need to be listening to by the way! Anyway this makes me happy, and I’d like to see a more concerted effort next year with zero media coverage for detox plans, what do you think, will it happen? The answer of course is no, because these fads sell papers and books and publishing companies like that, and lets face it January is probably a little slower than usual and it’s easy to pull together some clean eating detox plan then have to work too hard after the holidays, am I right?
There is another reason I think we really should avoid detox plans and general food deprivation; January and February are tough months! They are dark, cold months, a less sociable time of year, a time when folk hibernate a little, apart from the newly formed fitness resolutions where we are hell bent on getting as much exercise as possible and the harder the better, I speak from personal experience, yes, I’m talking about of the hell that is bootcamp, that’s another post, maybe 😉 I don’t do resolutions anymore, I start the new year with a renewed effort to keep on going, to continue to eat in a healthy and balanced way, to get a little more walking in and to be kind to myself. I make an effort to be more sociable too, particularly in January, the month I personally find the hardest, whether it’s coffee with friends, or having friends over for dinner, I make more of an effort to counter balance the lull after Christmas that is January.
However one of most important parts of taking care of ourselves is nourishment, I need food that will keep me warm, keep me satisfied and that will nourish us all as a family. This is where this spaghetti with kale, mushrooms and lentils came from and it fulfils all those needs. I’ve made it a few times now and and it has gotten better each time. I make it with whole grain spaghetti, we switched to whole grain pasta years ago and never went back, but if you prefer regular spaghetti, go for it. Kale is in season now ( not because it’s detox season ) it’s better for you when it’s cooked slightly, not juiced, and it lends itself very well to pasta dishes, especially if you add some lemon and parmesan. We have grown fond of Puy lentils since we have been having this meat free cottage pie on a now weekly basis, so I always seem to have a pouch or two lurking in my cupboards, and this dish is perfect for said lentils 😉 This is an earthy dish, the pine nuts give it a toasty richness and the lemon lifts it as does the garlic, but if you are not as fond of garlic as we are then reduce the dosage according to your taste. The pesto dressing of the spaghetti is optional but recommended, we tried it both ways and the pesto won.
We all loved this recipe I hope you do too, happy new year dear reader and please, be kind to yourself x
- 250g Whole wheat spaghetti
- 1 tbs olive oil
- ½ red onion (100g), finely chopped
- 3 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
- 100g chestnut mushrooms, sliced
- 125g kale, shredded
- 150g cooked Puy lentils
- 50g pine nuts
- 3 or 4 sprigs of lemon thyme
- The zest of half a lemon
- The juice of 1 medium lemon
- 2 heaped tsp of good quality pesto } optional
- 2 tbs extra virgin olive oil } optional
- A pinch of sea salt
- ¼ tsp ground black pepper plus more to serve
- Grated parmesan to serve
- Cook the spaghetti.
- While the spaghetti is cooking heat a large sautee pan over a medium heat, add the pine nuts and toast until golden, about 3 minutes. Remove the pine nuts from pan and set aside.
- Heat the olive oil in the pan, then add the onion and cook over a low to medium heat for about 10 minutes, until they are very soft, check on them often so they don't burn.
- Add the garlic, cook for a couple of minutes then add the mushrooms and the leaves from the lemon thyme sprigs, cook for about 10 minutes.
- Now add the kale, stir in the Puy lentils, black pepper, sea salt and the lemon juice and cook until the kale is softened, about 5 minutes.
- When the pasta is cooked drain it then return it to the saucepan it was cooked in. Add the pesto and extra virgin olive oil, if using, and toss so all the spaghetti is coated in the pesto. You can omit this stage if you wish, we tried it both ways, the pesto was a favourite for us though 😉
- Add the dressed spaghetti to the kale pan and toss gently.
- Serve immediately with freshly ground black pepper and grated parmesan.
This time last year on The Last Food Blog – Kale and Quinoa Salad