Last week, I had the opportunity to chat with Canadian celebrity chef, Michael Smith. As a long-time fan of his television shows and cookbooks, it was a real treat to spend some time learning about his newest passion: lentils.
Chef Michael has partnered with the Saskatchewan Pulse Growers to launch a new series of 12 webisodes, each showcasing the versatility and simplicity of the homegrown lentil. The online videos (found at lentils.ca) are packed with cooking tips and easy, family-friendly recipes that show us how to add the humble lentil to our everyday meals.
Unbeknownst to many of us, Canada is a leading world producer of lentils, with over 60% of the world’s lentils being farmed here. We harvest four varieties, and 95% of the country’s crop is grown in Saskatchewan. Yet, many families aren’t incorporating lentils into their weekly meals. I asked Michael why he thought this is and he states “Lentils are a fairly new farming venture for Canada, having only been around since 1970. People are just learning how to cook and serve them, and it’s this generation of cooks who are going to be the ones to introduce lentils as a leading local ingredient.”
Why should we want to add these nutritionally dense nuggets to our plate? Lentils are packed with protein, loaded with fibre, and inexpensive—meaning they hit all the marks for a practically perfect food. Any when they’re pureed, they can even replace half the butter in our beloved chocolate chip cookies, without anyone being the wiser.
Do you cook with lentils? What are some of your favourite ways to serve them?
Find the full printable recipe here: Lentil Meatloaf