Lentil-Mushroom Pita Pockets with Lemon-Yogurt Dressing

Legumes have made their debut as a must in any diet. They’re a great source of protein and high in dietary fiber. From black beans and peas to tempeh and tofu, legumes offer a variety of flavors and textures. Lentils, in particular, are served in a variety of cuisines from soups in Europe to main dishes in the Mediterranean. A mushroom-lentil taco recipe called out to me, but instead of making tacos, I opted for a Mediterranean twist by placing the filling in warmed pita pockets. Feel free to experiment with the recipe as you please.

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Ingredients:

> 1 cup cooked lentils
> 1 tablespoon olive oil
> 2 cups chopped mushrooms
> 2 medium cloves garlic, minced
> 1 1/2 teaspoon cumin
> salt and pepper
> pinch of paprika
> 1 1/2 tablespoon lemon juice
> 6 ounces non-fat plain Greek yogurt
> 3 cups arugula
> 4 whole grain pita pockets, warmed

Instructions:

Heat olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add mushrooms, and cook for about 8 minutes, stirring occasionally. While the mushrooms are cooking, make the lemon-yogurt dressing. Stir together the lemon juice and yogurt in a small bowl.

Reduce the heat to low. Add cooked lentils, garlic, cumin and a sprinkle of salt, pepper and paprika to mushrooms.

To assemble, cut pita pockets in half, spread lemon-yogurt dressing inside the halves and fill with a few spoonfuls of lentil-mushroom mix. Top with a handful of arugula and a dollop of dressing.

Makes 4 servings.

Adapted from Food52.

Lentils and Chickpeas with a Mediterranean Flair

Sometimes all you want to do is whip up a quick, nourishing meal that is filled with protein and nutrients. Well, maybe it’s not just sometimes but always! That’s when recipes such as this one come in handy because they require no specialty ingredients and just a few fresh vegetables that allow you to create a vibrant, delicious plate.

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Ingredients:

> 1 cup green lentils
> 1 tablespoon olive oil
> 3 cups spinach
> salt and pepper
> 1 can chickpeas
> 1 1/2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
> juice from 1 lemon

Instructions:

Cook lentils in a medium saucepan for 30 minutes. Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat, and add spinach. Cook until wilted, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Combine lentils, chickpeas, cherry tomatoes, spinach and lemon juice in a medium bowl.

Makes 4 servings.

Adapted from Bon Appetit.

Mediterranean Succotash with Quinoa

To give vegetables rich flavor, you can either season them with spices and herbs or you can cook them in a sauce so they absorb that flavor. The latter is exactly what this succotash involves, a dish full of protein and texture.

Mediterranean Succotash

Ingredients:

– 1 cup vegetable broth
– 2 medium zucchini, chopped
– 2 medium red bell peppers, chopped
– 2 garlic cloves, minced
– 1 15-ounce can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
– salt and pepper to taste
– 1 cup quinoa
– 2 ounces crumbled feta cheese

Instructions:

Bring vegetable broth to a boil and add zucchini, bell peppers and garlic in a large saucepan. Cook until vegetable are cooked, about 8 minutes.

Stir in beans and season with salt and pepper. Cook for 2 more minutes.

Cook quinoa according to package. Serve the succotash over quinoa, and sprinkle with cheese.

Makes 4 servings.

Adapted from Cooking Light.