This simple vegetarian dish comes together in just 30 minutes, making it a good choice for a protein-rich weeknight dinner.

1 cup brown lentils, picked over and rinsed
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
1 clove garlic, grated
1 12-ounce jar roasted red peppers, rinsed, drained and chopped into 1/4-inch pieces, about 1 1/2 cups total
*½ cup sun dried tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt (I omitted and added fresh lemon juice for heart health)
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 tablespoons chopped fresh dill (divided)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint (divided)
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
*Lemon juice

Cook the lentils in a large pot of gently boiling water just until tender, 15 to 25 minutes. Drain.
While the lentils are cooking, heat the oil in a large skillet until it is hot enough to sizzle a piece of onion. Add the onion and cook over medium-low heat, stirring frequently, until soft and golden, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Stir in the red peppers, salt and black pepper.
Keep warm over low heat.
Add the cooked lentils, 2 tablespoons of the dill and 1 tablespoon of the mint and cook, stirring, until heated through, about 5 minutes. At this point I also added sun dried tomatoes (great for the heart) which added texture and sweetness. Sprinkle with the vinegar and stir to combine. * I also added lots of fresh lemon juice….yummy.
Spoon into a serving dish and sprinkle with the feta if desired. Top with the remaining 2 tablespoons dill and the remaining 1 tablespoon mint.
From “Fresh & Fast Vegetarian” by Marie Simmons
Recipe Published November 8, 2011 in The Oregonian
These delicious lentils are wonderful served with Tuna or halibut baked in parchment with olive oil, capers, red peppers and thyme.
Want to literally keep your heart happy? Eat lentils.

* Lentils, a small but nutritionally mighty member of the legume family, are a very good source of cholesterol-lowering fiber. Not only do lentils help lower cholesterol, they are of special benefit in managing blood-sugar disorders since their high fiber content prevents blood sugar levels from rising rapidly after a meal.

A study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine confirms that eating high fiber foods, such as lentils, helps prevent heart disease.

Lentils’ contribution to heart health lies not just in their fiber, but in the significant amounts of folate and magnesium these little wonders supply. Lentils’ magnesium puts yet another plus in the column of its beneficial cardiovascular effects. Magnesium is Nature’s own calcium channel blocker. When enough magnesium is around, veins and arteries breathe a sigh of relief and relax, which lessens resistance and improves the flow of blood, oxygen and nutrients throughout the body. Studies show that a deficiency of magnesium is not only associated with heart attack but that immediately following a heart attack, lack of sufficient magnesium promotes free radical injury to the heart.
When researchers analyzed this data in relation to the risk of death from heart disease, they found that legumes were associated with a whopping 82% reduction in risk!!
Heres to your heart health!

Try pairing with Grilled or Pan Seared Salmon with Fresh Lemon Juice for a feast for the heart. Also wonderful served chilled.

Adapted from “Fresh & Fast Vegetarian” by Marie Simmons as seen in The Oregonian’s Foodday & Living section.

Bon Appetit and Namaste!