Vegetarian | Vegan | Gluten Free | Slow-Cooker | Freezable
8-12 (depending on size of portions)
Prep time: 25 minutes
Cook time: 6-8 hours on high, 10-12 hours on low.
1 bag or 16 ounces of lentils
1 carton or 32 ounces of vegetable broth
24 ounces of water*
2 cups chopped carrots
3 cups of chopped celery
1 small onion, chopped
2 teaspoons turmeric
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon dried basil
1 tablespoon dried oregano
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 can or 28 ounces crushed tomatoes
*Lentils soak up a lot of liquid. You may need to add an additional cup or so of water or broth as they cook.
The very first meal that I ate when I came home from the hospital after giving birth to our son was my Nonn'as homemade lentils. It was December 30th and I was nearing the end of my third-trimester. I did not know that these lentils would be one of the last meals I would make before having our son.
While I was scheduled to be induced later in the week, that day I was in full-nesting mode. I cleaned the entire house from top to bottom, did all the laundry, scheduled and finished a ridiculous amount of work ahead of time, made dinner for that evening and prepared food for both New Year's Eve and New Year's Day (lentils and pizza) so that I wouldn't have to cook and could instead "rest" for a couple of days before I was scheduled to be induced. Earlier in the week I finished prepping about a months worth of freezable meals (lentils, again included) that we could eat when our son was first born and I wouldn't have the time nor the energy to make anything. I was exhausted.
But, of course, after I got off of the phone with my aunt in Canada, I laid down on the couch to relax after this long day. It wasn't even thirty seconds and boom, my water broke. Thankfully I was laying on my side and immediately jumped off the couch before we had to buy a new one. My husband was just coming home from work and then we sped off to the hospital.
When we came home from the hospital a couple days later with our little bundle of joy, lentils were the first thing that I ate and boy, was my body happy that I did. After women give birth, they deserve meals that will nourish them from the inside-out. Our bodies have gone through tremendous stress and pain not only with labor but with the long 9 months (give or take) of pregnancy.
In my opinion, lentils are one of the best dishes that I could have eaten right after going through the battle which is pregnancy and childbirth. Here's why: "lentils are an excellent source of molybdenum and folate. They are a very good source of dietary fiber, copper, phosphorus and manganese. Additionally they are a good source of iron, protein, vitamin B1, pantothenic acid, zinc, potassium and vitamin B6."*
Plus, lentils are hearty and perfect for these cold, long, winter months. They taste especially good when you eat them with fresh-baked Italian bread and Pecorino Romano cheese.
When I was growing up, my nonna would always make lentils for us to eat on New Year's. Italians eat lentils on New Year's in order to bring prosperity, "fortuna" or luck, and wealth to the new year. I love lentils and especially now after having our son, appreciate an easy-to-prep in advance, set and forget in my slow cooker, freezable, healthy meal that my son actually eats and enjoys!
This recipe is just one of the many recipes that I can thank my late nonna for. While I will forever miss her, I will also forever appreciate all of the knowledge that she instilled in me and my mother in the time that we were blessed to have her in our lives.
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