Smokey Roasted Red Pepper Dip
It was not until relatively late in life that I realized just how simple it is to roast a red pepper. You don't even need oil, just heat + pepper! Plus red lentils are easily prepared without soaking, so that makes this recipe extraordinarily simple, and easy to prepare at the last minute.
Dried beans/legumes are my favourite (in comparison to canned beans/legumes) for many reasons. Environmentally, you are saving the waste of many cans, plus the cross-continent shipment of heavy fluid. Financially, dried beans are extremely easy on the pocketbook- they are at least half the price of canned beans in the end. Plus in terms of health, your food isn't soaking in preservative and BPA lining for countless days/months/years, so dried beans are a purer product.
Many types of dried beans benefit from a soaking process before cooking, to drastically reduce cooking time, as well as to inactivate enzyme inhibitors, which makes them easier to digest. Red lentils don't require that soaking, as mentioned above, and are usually ready in 20-30 minutes.
Beans and legumes are a great way to get that carby satisfaction, but have the carbs balanced with tons of fiber and protein, which stabilizes blood sugar.
Now I must admit, my dear friend and fellow colleague Dr. Stephanie Cordes ND gave me an absolutely divine, very strong smoked paprika for my birthday (because that's what NDs do...), and I have found that there are vast differences in paprika flavours, so you may need to add more than I did, but experiment for yourself and find the amount that suits your personal paprika!
Smokey Roasted Red Pepper Dip:
3 medium red peppers
1 cup red lentils
3 cups of water
3 garlic cloves
1 tsp smoked paprika
1/4 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp garlic powder
3/4 tsp salt
pepper to taste
1/2 tsp organic/non-GMO soy sauce/tamari (optional)
1 tbsp olive oil (optional)
1. Roast the red peppers- I do an ultra-simple version where I don't burn the skin to a crisp and save the hassle of peeling the peppers. It's probably slightly less tasty/smoky than traditional roasted red peppers, but you get less incomplete combustion (which is carcinogenic), and it's super easy, which is appealing.
Cut peppers in half and remove seeds and stems. Place peppers cut side- down on a baking sheet. Roast in oven at 375 degrees for about 30-40 minutes, or until pepper goes limp. Ta-da! Done.
2. Add 1 cup of red lentils to 3 cups of boiling water. Bring back to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cook until the lentils are mush, about 25-30 minutes. In the last 10 minutes of cooking, add 1-2 garlic cloves.
3. Combine the roasted red peppers and lentil mush with the rest of the garlic and the remainder of the ingredients. I just use a hand blender and mix it all into the pot that I cooked the lentils in (there's something beautiful about one-pot cooking). You could also use a blender or food processor if you don't have a hand bender.
Tamari/soy sauce will enhance the savouriness of the dip. Again, every paprika is different, so adjust your level accordingly!