Black Lentil Charred Broccoli Shepherd’s Pie + a Virtual Saint Patrick’s Day party

This Black Lentil Charred Broccoli Shepherd’s Pie is an extremely warm and comforting entree.  This unique take on shepherd’s pie captures the essence of the classic version minus the meat.  The charred broccoli is bursting with flavor and it adds to the overall savory essence of the dish.  The lentils provide protein and deliver a heartiness facet while the mashed potatoes deliver the comforting component.

3U9A7650 It will be Saint Patrick’s Day in 7 days.  Do you have your holiday meal planned out?

 My friend Lynn, over at “The Road To Honey” recently invited me to participate in a Virtual Saint Patrick’s Day party.  The idea behind the virtual party is to have a group of bloggers to each individually prepare their favorite Irish-inspired recipe to celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day and post the recipe to their individual blogs at the same time.  Just imagine a party with all of these delicious dishes at your very own Saint Paddy’s day celebration!  There are cocktails, appetizers, main dishes and desserts.

Black Lentil Charred Broccoli Shepherd's Pie I am always amazed by the food blogging community.  Everyone is so sweet and supportive of each other.  Although we all live in different parts of the globe, it is inspiring that we can get together to create virtual parties like this one.

Come join us if you are pondering on what to make for Saint Paddy’s Day.  We’ve got you covered!

Each of the participating blogger’s recipes is available on their individual blogs.  Click on the links below to check out all the amazing recipes.   We will also be on Instagram with our personal hashtag #saintpatricksdayfeast2017

Cocktails
Beyond Mere Sustenance -St. Patrick’s Lemon Cucumber Martini With Fresh Basil
No Spoon Necessary -Sour Apple Tequila Cocktail – The Lucky Shamrock
Appetizers/sides
The Road to Honey – Guinness Irish Stew Mini Pot Pies
What Should I Make For…– Traditional Irish Soda Bread with Orange Butter
Kevin is cooking – Colcannon Irish Mashed Potatoes
Entrees
The Beach House Kitchen -Bangers and Mash with Guinness Onion Gravy
Seasons & Suppers  Irish Spice Bag
Girl Heart Food – Shepherd’s Pie
Salt & Lavender – Pork Chops with an Irish Whiskey Sauce
Dessert
Salted Plains -Vegan Mint Chocolate Bark
The Sweet Nerd – Get Charmed By Double Spice Chocolate Cookies
The Busy Spatula – Lucky Charms Churros & Real Pistachio Pudding
Beer Girl Cooks – Raspberry Chocolate Milk Porter Pudding Shooters
Sugarhero – Bailey’s Chocolate Caramel Tarts
Meg is Well – Boozy Irish Coffee Milkshake with Baileys Caramel Drizzle
Ciao Chow Bambina – Chocolate Stout No-Churn Ice Cream with Homemade Toffee Crumble
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Black Lentil Charred Broccoli Shepherd's Pie This dish is fantastic with a crisp Sauvignon Blanc or a Pinto Gris.

Black Lentil Charred Broccoli Shepherd's Pie Black Lentil Charred Broccoli Shepherd’s Pie Recipe:

Approx. 1 1/2 hours to prep and cook + 20 to 25 minutes to bake

6 – 8 servings

 Caramelized Onion
  • 2 Small White or Yellow Onions – thinly sliced
  • 1 Tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 Tablespoon Filtered Water
  • 2 Tablespoons +1/3 Cup Dry White Wine – divided (I used Sauvignon Blanc)
  • 2 Cloves Garlic – minced
  • 1 Tablespoon Fresh Thyme or 1 teaspoon of dried
  • 1 Teaspoon Pink Himalayan Salt or Sea Salt – or to taste
  • 1 Tablespoon Butter
  • 2 Teaspoons Arrowroot Powder
  • 2 Vegetable Bouillon Cube – unsalted
  • 1/3 Cup Tomato Sauce –  I used strained tomato sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons Filtered Water
Lentils
  • 1 Cup Dried Black Lentils
  • 4 Cups Filtered Water
  • 1 Vegetable Bouillon Cube – unsalted
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Pink Himalayan Salt or Sea Salt – or to taste
Charred Broccoli
  • 2 Large Heads Broccoli  – 8 Cups – roughly chopped – (charring the broccoli literally halves in size)
  • 3 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 3/4 Teaspoon Pink Himalayan Salt or Sea Salt – or to taste
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Black Pepper
Mashed Potatoes
  • 2 Pounds Russet Potatoes – peeled – cut into small cubes
  • 2/3 Cups Milk
  • 6 Tablespoons Butter
  • 1 1/4 Teaspoons Pink Himalayan Salt or Sea Salt – or to taste
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Black Pepper
Instructions:
Onions

Slice the onions in half, cut the ends off and remove skin and slice into thin half circles.

In a large sauté pan, add onion and cook on medium heat for 10 minutes, stir after about 8 minutes.
Add 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 tablespoon water, deglaze the golden crust (fond) by scraping it with a wooden spoon and cook for 5 more minutes.
Add 1 tablespoon wine, thyme, garlic and salt then deglaze (scrape up the fond) and cook for 5 more minutes.
 Add another tablespoon of wine, scrape the fond off the pan and set the pan aside.  (A total of 20 minutes.)
Lentils

 Sort lentils to make sure there are no rocks then rinse and drain.

Add the lentils, bouillon and salt to a medium pot.  Cover with 2 inches of water.  Bring to a boil then reduce to medium-low and simmer.

Cook until just tender approx. 15 minutes.  You don’t want them too soft because they will continue to cook in the oven.  

Check them at 15 minutes.  They should be cooked but still firm.  Strain and set aside. 

While the lentils are cooking, start the broccoli.
Charred Broccoli
Preheat oven to 425 degrees
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Toss together the broccoli, oil, salt, and pepper.
Spread out on the baking sheet and place on middle rack.
Roast for 20 – 25 minutes or until broccoli is as charred as you like it.  While the broccoli is cooking you can start the potatoes.
Mashed Potatoes
Start by peeling and then cutting potatoes into cubes, place potato cubes in a large pot and cover with filtered water.
Bring to a boil and cook for about 20 minutes or until very tender.  Use a timer and check at 15 minutes.  Drain the potatoes and add back to the pot along with the butter.  Mash well.  When the butter is melted, add the milk, salt and pepper.  Mix until fluffy.  While the potatoes are cooking you can start the assembly process below.
Assemble
Preheat oven to 400
Add the butter to the onions and when melted stir in the arrowroot powder, add the wine and mash in the bouillon.  
Next, add the tomato sauce, thyme, salt and lentils.  Stir everything together. 
Spread the lentil/onion mix on the bottom of a 3-quart casserole dish then top with the broccoli.
Evenly spread the mashed potatoes on top of the broccoli and smooth it out as best you can.
Place on the middle rack and bake for 20 – 25 minutes or until slightly golden.
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Black Lentil Charred Broccoli Shepherd's Pie Health benefits:

Broccoli has a cholesterol-lowering ability and strong impact on our body’s detoxification system.  It is also rich in both forms of dietary fiber, soluble and insoluble.  It is very high in vitamin C & K.

Lentils have extremely high levels of soluble fiber and a good amount of insoluble fiber.  They have cholesterol-lowering fiber which helps stabilize blood sugar levels giving you a steady stream of energy.  A half-cup provides about a third of the daily requirements.  Not only is the fiber good for your heart, the amount of folate and magnesium is very beneficial for cardiovascular health.  Lentils provide a steady stream of glucose to your brain.  Glucose is a sugar and a key source of energy for the cells in the body and it is the only fuel your brain can use.  The high fiber regulates the release of the glucose, providing a steady stream of fuel that powers your brain cells, and is a key component in keeping your brain healthy.  Lentils are loaded with an impressive amount of blood-fortifying iron and when paired with food containing vitamin C, the iron is enhanced, which in turn increase your energy.  They are truly a nutritional fountain of youth.  Lentils originated in Southwestern Asia along the Indus River have been eaten for over 8000 years.

Charred Broccoli Falafel with Charred Lemon Tahini and Tzatziki Sauce

There is nothing better than homemade falafels and these Charred Broccoli Falafels are everything!   The charred broccoli brings a comfort level to the falafel.  I added charred lemon to the classic tahini and tzatziki sauces, which compliment the charred broccoli very well.  I relish coming up with different varieties of falafel because one, I absolutely love them and two, they are healthy and three, they are a meal where I don’t miss cheese.  You can leave out the tzatziki sauce if you are vegan.

3U9A7793 We have had June gloom for months now, so my typical salad eating days have been stopped dead in their tracks.  You can probably tell by all of the warm comfort food that I have been posting lately.  We happen to live in a part of Santa Cruz that gets a lot of overcast days so we have been going on a lot of bike rides over on West Cliff where it is generally sunny.  After a long bike ride and coming back to cold weather, these falafels are a welcomed treat full of warmth and nutrition.

3U9A7824 These falafels are really easy to make, so don’t let the soaking of the beans scare you off.  Just put them in a pot, add water two inches above them, leave overnight and then drain and rinse.  I have left them in the refrigerator after draining the water for literally two weeks and they are still good.  They even start to sprout!  If you soak extra, you can make hummus or my garbonzorizo tacos.

I usually make the sauces the day before.  If you are going to make just one sauce, I recommend going with the tahini.  The next day, I char the broccoli for the falafel along with three additional cups that I put into the pita with the other veggies.   I sautéed the onions and garlic, then I process everything in a food processor.  I put the mixture in a covered bowl and into the refrigerator for at least 15 minutes. When the mixture is cold I form them into patties and bake them.  While they are baking, I prep any veggies I plan to serve with them.  I normally serve these falafels with charred broccoli, fresh tomato, cucumber, radishes, both sauces and the pita on the side, so everyone can build their own.

3U9A7870 These falafels are great with a light red wine like a Pinot Noir or Tempranillo.  They are also nice with a Pinot Gris, Sauvignon Blanc or a sparkling wine.

3U9A7941 Charred Broccoli Falafel Recipe:
Single batch

Charred Broccoli

  • 2 1/4 Cups Raw Broccoli – 1 Cup Charred
  • 1/2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Dash of Salt and Pepper

Falafel

  • 3/4 Cup Dried Garbanzo Beans – 1 1/2 Cups soaked
  • Filtered Water
  • 1/4 white Onion – diced
  • 2 Cloves Garlic – minced
  • 1 Tablespoon Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Paprika
  • 1/2 Teaspoon  Chili Flakes
  • 1 Teaspoon Sea Salt
  • 3/4 Cup Cilantro
  • 6 Tablespoons Garbanzo Bean Flour
  • 1 Cup Charred Broccoli – recipe above
Double batch

Charred Broccoli

  • 4 1/2 cups Raw Broccoli – 2 Cup Charred
  • 1 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Dash of Salt and Pepper

Falafel

  • 1 1/2 Cup Dried Garbanzo Beans (3 Cups Soaked)
  • Filtered Water
  • 1/2 White Onion – diced
  • 4 Cloves Garlic – minced
  • 2 Tablespoon Lemon Juice – fresh squeezed
  • 1 Teaspoon Paprika
  • 1 Teaspoon Chili Flakes
  • 2 Teaspoon Sea Salt
  • 1 1/2 Cup Cilantro
  • 3/4 Cup Garbanzo Bean Flour
  • 2 Cup Charred Broccoli – recipe above
Charred Lemon
  • 1 – 2 Organic Lemons – sliced to 1/4 inch
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Sea Salt
Charred Lemon Tahini Sauce
  • 1/2 Cup Roasted Tahini
  • 1/4 Cup (about 4 slices) Charred Lemon
  • 1/4 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2/3 Cup Filtered Water
  • 1 Clove Garlic
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Sea Salt
Charred Lemon Tzatziki
  • 12 oz. Greek plain Yogurt (has to be Greek due to less water)
  • 1/4 Cup (about 4 slices)  Charred Lemon
  • 1/2 Cucumber – peeled – deseeded
  • 1 Cloves Garlic
  • 1/4 Cup Fresh Chives – optional
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Sea Salt – or to taste
  • Dash of Black Pepper
Garnish options:
  • Radish
  • Cucumber
  • Tomato
  • Charred Broccoli (I did 3 cups raw broccoli)
Instructions:
Garbanzo Beans

Put the beans in a bowl and add water two inches above the beans, leave overnight for at least 12 hours then drain and rinse.  Set aside.

Charred Broccoli
Preheat oven to 425 degrees
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Toss together the broccoli, oil, salt and pepper.  Spread out on the baking sheet and place on middle rack.
Roast for 15 minutes, then stir broccoli around for even cooking. Roast for another 5 to 10 minutes and make sure and check on them every 5 minutes, until broccoli is as charred as you like it.
Falafel
Add a tablespoon of olive oil to a large nonstick skillet, on a medium-low heat.  Add the onions and saute for about 5 minutes then add the garlic and salt then saute until the garlic just starts to become golden.
Add the onion/garlic, lemon juice and spices into a food processor, scrape the edges one time and pulse a few more times.
Add the cilantro and the garbanzo beans and pulse about 15 times,  you want it a bit chunky.
Add the flour and half the broccoli then pulse a few more times making sure to incorporate all the flour.  Add the remaining broccoli and pulse a few more times.
Put in the refrigerator for at least 20 minutes.
Assemble

Pre-heat oven to 375

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Form into golf ball size balls and press flat to form a disc and place them on the baking sheet.  Bake for 15 minutes then flip them over for 10 more minutes or until golden.  Serve everything separately to let your guest build their own sandwich.
Charred Lemon
Slice the lemons no less than a 1/4 inch or the flesh will dissolve. Lightly coat in olive oil and lightly sprinkle with sea salt.  Turn on the burner to medium-high heat.
Heat up a cast iron skillet or in the frying pan and when hot add the lemons in a single layer.  Cook until the lemons just beginning to char then flip to char the other side.  (about 2 -3 minutes on each side)
 Tahini

Measure and add everything to a food processor or blender and puree.  It will thicken a bit if refrigerated.  You can add more water if desired.

Tzatziki

Peel the cucumber, cut in half and scrape out the seed with a spoon, then shred by hand or in the food processor using the shred attachment.

Spread the cucumber on a cloth napkin or towel and sprinkle with a little salt, then squeeze out as much water as possible.  You will be amazed at how much comes out, keep squeezing cause more will keep coming out.

Put into a food processor with everything else and puree.  It will thicken a bit if refrigerated.  You can add more water if desired.

3U9A7884 Health benefits:

Garbanzo beans are super high in protein and extremely high in fiber, just one cup provides 50% of the Daily Value.  Because of the fiber, they are great for your heart, lowering blood cholesterol levels and the risk of heart attack, as well as help, prevent constipation and digestive disorders.  Just one cup provides 84.5% of the daily value of manganese, which is an antioxidant that acts as a monitor of the free radicals in the body.  If you are low in energy the high iron content will help and will transport oxygen from the lungs to all the cells in the body.  They also help to balance blood sugar levels while providing steady, slow-burning energy. Garbanzo beans are helpful for weight loss as they keep you full longer.

Charred Broccoli Cheddar Potato Soup

This Charred Broccoli Cheddar Potato Soup is my kind of comfort food.  What’s not to love? It’s creamy, chunky, cheesy and full of charred broccoli goodness.  I added a little twist with the addition of fresh basil that complements the charred broccoli nicely.

Charred Broccoli Cheddar Potato Soup Have you ever heard of Servas International?  It is one of the coolest non-profits organizations ever!  It’s an international network of hosts and travelers.  As a host, you provide hospitality to travelers from all over the world and as a traveler, you can look up hosts in the country you plan to travel through.  They provide a booklet that lists all the hosts that are available by country.  The host tells a little bit about themselves and the maximum number of days they will provide lodging per traveler.  If they really like you they may allow for longer stays.  The traveler sends the host an email or letter telling them about themselves like their interest, if they are vegetarian etc.  Then the host will ok the traveler if they feel they are someone they would like to host.  The coolest thing about this is that you get to meet local families and experience their culture instead of staying in hotels.

My mom and I were traveling in the south island of New Zealand for two months and we used Servas as travelers.  We stayed with three families, one was an awesome elderly couple named Ann and Tom who lived in Christchurch.  We stayed with them for three nights.  They were so sweet and they made us breakfast every morning.  I returned the favor by making my famous lasagna, salad and garlic bread the evening before we left.

The next morning, we traveled to the north side of the south island to stay with our next Servas family, the Sanders who lived on a kiwi farm in Blenheim in the Marlborough Region (The home of some of best Sauvignon Blanc).  They had a pig named Murray, some chickens, a couple of deer that I was able to pet.  I was 20 at the time and one of the host’s son was named Tristan who was 18.  Tristan took me along with him to a crazy game called Laser Wars, where we met up with 8 of his friends. It was a really fun experience!  Tristan later invited me to his friend’s birthday party, which was on the Marlborough Sounds.  A few of us cruised around the Sounds in a small rowboat.  It is so incredibly gorgeous that words cannot do it justice! It was really great to hang out with some local teens and to see their lifestyle.

The third host lived in the town of Picton.  They made us a really nice dinner that New Zealanders call tea.  After tea, they took us on an evening walk through a trail that ended up at the top of a hill overlooking all of Picton.  It was stunning! Then we hiked down and walked along the beach.  We left the next morning and went to back to Blenheim and stayed at a really nice campground for a few days.  I called Tristan and he came and picked me up to go hang out with his friends again.  The whole Servas experience was phenomenal!  What do you think?  Would you try it?

Charred Broccoli Cheddar Potato Soup This soup is perfect with a nice glass of Sauvignon Blanc from the Marlborough Region of New Zealand.

Charred Broccoli Cheddar Potato Soup Charred Broccoli Cheddar Potato Soup Recipe:

8 – 10 servings

  • 2 Large Heads Broccoli – 10 Cups – florets roughly chopped – stems peeled and sliced
  • 2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Dash of Salt and Pepper
  • 1/2 White Onion – diced
  • 2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 Cloves Garlic – minced
  • 1/3 Cup Dry White Wine
  • 1 Vegetable Bouillon Cube – unsalted
  • 6 Cups Filtered Water
  • 1 1/2 Pounds (about 3 medium) Yellow Potatoes – 1/2 inch cubes
  • 3 Tablespoons Butter
  • 3 Tablespoons Brown Rice Flour (or regular all-purpose)
  • 2 Cups 1 % Milk or Half and Half (I used 1 cup of each)
  • 8 oz. (2 1/4 cup) Cheddar Cheese – shredded (make sure it’s a high-quality cheese)
  • 1 Tablespoon + 1 Teaspoon Sea Salt or to taste
  • 1 Cup Fresh Basil – packed – minced
Garnish
  • Red Pepper Flakes
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil – drizzle
Instructions:
Charred Broccoli
Preheat oven to 425 degrees
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Toss together the broccoli, oil, salt and pepper.  Spread out on the baking sheet and place on middle rack.
Roast for 15 minutes, then stir broccoli around for even cooking. Roast for another 5 to 10 minutes. Make sure and check on them every 5 minutes, until broccoli is as crisp as you like it.
Potatoes

 Add the onions to a 5 1/2 quart pot with the olive oil and saute on medium-low heat for 5 minutes, add the garlic and continue cooking for 5 – 7 more minutes until the garlic starts to brown.

Add the white wine and bouillon cube, mash the bouillon, cook until wine is reduced and syrupy.  Add the water and potatoes to the onions then turn on high heat, bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium and cook for 20 minutes or until potatoes are soft.

Cheese Sauce

Meanwhile, melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat, then add the flour and stir for about a minute.   Slowly whisk in the milk little at a time to avoid the flour from clumping and mix in well.  Bring the milk to a boil and turn the heat down to medium-low and slowly add the cheese a little at a time.  When completely melted, add to the soup.

The Rest

Add the broccoli, basil, salt and pepper.  You can leave it chunky, puree half or puree it all.  I roughly pureed half.

Charred Broccoli Cheddar Potato Soup Health benefits:

Broccoli has cholesterol-lowering ability and strong impact on our body’s detoxification system.  It is also rich in both forms of dietary fiber, soluble and insoluble.  It is very high in vitamin C & K.

Black Lentil Kale Broccoli Salad with Charred Broccoli Pesto

This Black Lentil Kale Broccoli Salad is so satisfying and nutritious!  The charred broccoli pesto is super flavorful and out of this world!!!  The char of the broccoli adds a beautiful dimension to this salad.  The salad recipe only calls for about half of the pesto, so you could cut the pesto recipe in half but I don’t recommend it.  The pesto is so good that you will want to use the extra on toasted crostini or French bread.

Black Lentil Kale Broccoli Salad Lately, I have been on a mission to clear out clothes that no longer serve me or my style.  It is actually harder than you might think.  Clothes have always been a big deal to me.  It goes back to my youth when I was about 14.  I remember being embarrassed that I didn’t have all the cool new expensive clothes.  Each year for back to school, my mom would buy me basic clothes that consisted of three pairs of pants and a few new tops, while all my friends had all the latest in fashion styles.  Unfortunately, we couldn’t afford them.

It was music that saved me.  My friends and I had gotten into punk rock, mod, ska, and reggae.  It was no longer about expensive clothes but it was all about thrift store and vintage clothes.  My mom would give me lunch money and I would spend it on thrift store clothes.  I could get a whole bag of clothes for super cheap.  My friend Maggie and I wore the same size, so we would each fill up two hefty trash bags full of clothes and swap them with each other every two weeks or so.  We were into being as funky as we could and we never wore the same outfits twice.  It was a way to express my creativity and boy did I have fun with it.  Believe it or not, I still have some of those old thrift store clothes.  Nowadays, I wear maybe twenty percent of my wardrobe.

My current approach to clearing out my old clothes is to divide my closet into two sections.  One section contains the clothes I wear all the time and the other section contains the clothes I can’t seem to part with but will probably never wear again.  I have actually gone into the section that I don’t normally wear and have started to wear some of my old clothes again and I have also been able to part with some as well.   Another thing that has made it easier for me to let go is to give clothes to friends that I know will love them.  My friend Alison is in a bluegrass band called “Sugar by The Pound” and she dresses so cutely in mostly vintage clothes. I have some great vintage clothes that I think she will love.  Is it as hard for you to let go of clothes you are no longer wearing as it is for me?

Black Lentil Kale Broccoli Salad I like to serve this salad with a crisp Sauvignon Blanc from the Marlborough region of New Zealand.

Black Lentil Kale Broccoli Salad Black Lentil Kale Broccoli Salad Recipe:
Approx. 6 – 8 servings
A hearty dish that is great served warm or cold.
  • 1 Cup Dried Black Lentils
  • 1 Vegetable Bouillon Cube
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Sea Salt
  • Filtered Water
  • 1 Head Kale – ribbed – thinly sliced
  • 2 Tablespoons Champagne Vinegar
  • 3 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 1/2 Cup Radish – thinly sliced
  • 1/2 Cup Red Cabbage – minced
  • 3 Cup (6 cups raw) Charred Broccoli
  • 1 Cup Charred Broccoli Pesto – recipe below
  • Filtered Water – thin out pesto if desired
Charred Broccoli
  • 2 Large Heads Broccoli  – 8 Cups – roughly chopped – (charring the broccoli literally halves in size)
  • 3 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Sea Salt
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Black Pepper
Charred Broccoli Pesto
  • 1 Cup Charred Broccoli
  • 1/2 Cup Raw Walnuts
  • 3/4 Cup Pecorino Cheese
  • 1/2 Cup + 2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 Tablespoon + 1 Teaspoon Lemon Juice – fresh squeezed
  • 1 Garlic Clove
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Sea Salt – or to taste
Instructions:
Lentils

Sort lentils to make sure there are no rocks then rinse and drain.

Add the lentils and bouillon then cover with 2 inches of water in a medium pot.  Bring to a boil then reduce to medium-low and simmer.

Cook until just tender approx. 20 – 25 minutes, you don’t want them too soft or they will be mushy so check them at 15 minutes.

While the lentils are cooking, start the broccoli.

Charred Broccoli
You’re going to char the broccoli for the salad and the pesto at the same time.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Toss together the broccoli, oil, salt, and pepper. Spread out on the baking sheet and place on middle rack.
Roast for 15 minutes, then stir pieces around for even cooking.  Roast for another 10 to 15 minutes. Make sure and check on them every 5 minutes, until broccoli is as charred as you like it.
Pesto
Measure one cup of the charred broccoli along with remaining ingredients to a food processor or blender.

Blend until desired texture.  Pour into a bowl and stir in the vinegar and oil.

Salad

In a large bowl, add lentils and stir in the vinegar, 2 tablespoons of oil, salt, and pepper.  In a large bowl, massage 1 tablespoon oil into the kale and then add to the lentils.  Mix well.  Sprinkle the veggie on top and serve the pesto on the side.  It can be served warm or cold.

Note * I tend to like the pesto with just a touch of water to thin it out.  This salad is great with a light vinaigrette in place of the pesto as well!

Black Lentil Kale Broccoli Salad Health benefits:

Lentils have very high levels of soluble fiber and a good amount of insoluble fiber, which is a very good source of cholesterol-lowering fiber helps stabilize blood sugar levels giving you a steady stream of energy.  A half-cup provides about a third of the daily requirements.  Not only is the fiber good for your heart the amount of folate and magnesium is very beneficial for cardiovascular health. Lentils provide a steady stream of glucose to your brain.  Glucose is a sugar and key source of energy for cells in the body, and is the only fuel your brain can use.  The high fiber regulates the release of the glucose, providing a steady stream of fuel that powers your brain cells, and is a key component in keeping your brain in excellent shape. They are loaded with an impressive amount of blood-fortifying iron and when paired with a food containing vitamin C, like citrus fruits or peppers the iron is enhanced, which can also increase your energy.  They are also a good source of potassium, calcium, zinc, niacin and vitamin K. They are truly a nutritional fountain of youth. Lentils originated in Southwestern Asia along the Indus River have been eaten for over 8000 years.

 Kale is low in calories, high in fiber and it is a loaded with antioxidants which help to detox the liver. It is also an anti-inflammatory with omega-3 fatty acids, which is helpful for arthritis, joint pain and asthma.  Kale has more Iron than beef and more calcium than milk which helps prevents osteoporosis, joint flexibility and helps maintain normal bone health. It is great for cardiovascular support that helps in lowering cholesterol.  It is really high in vitamin A, C, and super high in the powerful antioxidant vitamin K (anyone taking anticoagulants should avoid kale because the high level of vitamin K that may interfere with the drugs.)    More on kale