Lentil Stew

Last Updated on Sunday, 13 March 2011 02:29 Written by Flax Sunday, 13 March 2011 02:29

This stew contains both a protein and a green leafy vegetable.  Serve it on a bed of rice and you have a well-balanced, healthy and nourishing meal.  The prep. time for this dish is about ten minutes, and while you could theoretically get away with twenty minutes of cooking time, I prefer to let it cook slowly, over a low flame, for up to an hour. 

The green leafy vegetable that I use here has a bunch of names.  In Israel it is called both mangold and beet leaves.   It is one of my favorite green leafy vegetables to use in cooking because it is a Gush Katif product that is almost always available.  Look for it next to the lettuce in the refrigerated vegetable section.

For all of those who have been asking, pickled lemon is sold in supermarkets.  It is a commonly used ingredient in North African cooking and can usually be found next to the horseradish or the schug.  The hebrew name for pickled lemon is lemon baladi.  It is both salty and sour in flavor.  To prevent oversalting your food, add the pickled lemon first and then taste the dish before you add more salt.


  • olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, smashed and diced
  • 2 tomatoes, seeded and chopped
  • 1 bunch mangold leaves (beet leaves), crudely chopped
  • 1 cup green lentils
  • 3 cups water
  • 1/2 bunch coriander, diced
  • 1 tsp pickled lemon
  • turmeric
  • chilli pepper (optional)
  • fenugreek (optional)
  • cumin
  • salt and pepper

Heat the olive oil in a wide sauce pan.  Saute the onion, garlic and spices until the onion is translucent.  Add the mangold leaves and sweat until the leaves are soft.  Add the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil.  The lentils are cooked after 15 minutes but I like to cook this dish for up to an hour, leaving it to simmer until most of the water has boiled out and you are left with a thick sauce.

Serve hot.  Serves 4 as a main course.


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Feeling Ful

Last Updated on Wednesday, 9 February 2011 04:53 Written by Flax Wednesday, 9 February 2011 04:50

Ful, known in english as fava beans, broad beans or horse beans are a staple in the Middle East and Africa.  In Egypt, Ful Mesdames, is the traditional breakfast food.  This is because a plate of ful fills you up.  I keep making a pun of it but I am convinced that they do have the same etymological source.

I think I have tried every single stupid fad diet in existence.  I learned math through counting calories.  I starved myself and did many other destructive things to my body.  While I may have lost weight, I always gained it right back along with a little bit more.  It took me about forty years but I finally realized something.  Diets don’t work.

What I finally understood is that I was overfed and malnourished.  The main reason I was overeating was because my diet was wrong for me and my body lacked nutrients.  Switching to non-processed foods, consuming less animal products, and eating more vegetables-especially sea vegetables, helped to cure my cravings and to cut down overeating. 

Eating excess amounts of animal protein is probably the main reason for the rising obesity problem.  Making the switch to a vegetable based diet instead of a meat/dairy based diet is not so easy.  One way to help the change-over is to eat high protein foods.  Legumes will help you to feel full while your liver is adjusting to the lighter eating pattern.

Fava beans are especially good at helping you to feel full.  This dish is the national Egyptian breakfast dish because it is so filling while also being a high energy food.   I highly recommend this dish for people who have a munching problem.  It’s hard to look at food after eating this dish, let alone eat anything.


  • 1 cup fava beans
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 piece kombu
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 tsp pickled lemon
  • turmeric
  • cumin
  • Atlantic grey sea salt
  • pepper
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 scallions, chopped
  • 5 sprigs coriander, chopped

Soak the fava beans overnight.  Drain and cover with fresh water.  Add the turmeric and kombu.  Bring to a boil, lower the flame and simmer for 2-4 hours, checking that the water doesn’t boil out. 

Remove the kombu, add the tomatoes, pickled lemon, and spices, and  bring to a boil.  Simmer for twenty  minutes more.  Remove from the flame, mix in the scallions, coriander and olive oil.  Use a hand blender or a fork to puree the beans to a chunky consistency.

Serve hot accompanied by pita and salad.

Serves 4-6


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Tabouli Salad

Last Updated on Monday, 26 July 2010 11:16 Written by Flax Monday, 26 July 2010 11:14

A summer favorite in our house, this dish is quick and easy to prepare, it is served cold and the mint gives it a wonderfully refreshing flavor on a hot summer day.

You can prepare this dish using either couscous or bulgar. We prefer it with couscous. It is softer and almost melts in your mouth.


1 bag instant whole wheat couscous
1 tomato
1 cucumber
1 scallion
4 sprigs of mint
2 stalks of parsley
1/4 cup olive oil
juice of 1 lemon

Prepare the couscous according to the instructions on the package. Set aside and allow to cool.

Peel the cucumbers and chop into small pieces. Chop the tomato into pieces approximately the same size. Dice the scallions, mint and parsley.

Add the vegetables and herbs to the couscous, stir in the oil, lemon juice and salt and pepper. Mix and serve.

Note: The recipe above is for traditional tabouli, my family prefers it without the parsley so experiment in your own home which way you prefer.


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