French Lentils with Fennel and Lemon

Makes 6 cups (1.5 L)

Lentils have a mild earthy flavour and contain good amounts of protein, iron, and many of the B vitamins, while being very low in fat. The best lentils for this recipe are the small, delicate French green lentils, considered to be the Rolls-Royce of the lentil world. Puy lentils are grown near Puy-en-Velay in Auvergne, a rugged mountainous region with volcanic soil in the south of France. The Puy lentil is controlled by a French governing agency that allows the name to be given to only those lentils grown in the region.

1 tablespoon (15 mL) coconut or olive oil
1/2 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 bulb fennel, chopped, about 2 cups (500 mL)
5 cups (1.25 L) water
1 cup (250 mL) Puy or other French lentils
2 cups (500 mL) diced tomatoes
1 teaspoon (5 mL) dried thyme
1 teaspoon (5 mL) dried basil
1/2 teaspoon (2 mL) minced lemon peel
1 teaspoon (5 mL) salt
1/4 teaspoon (1 mL) black pepper
Heat the oil in a pan over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, and fennel and cook for 5 minutes or until the onion is translucent. Add the water, lentils, tomatoes, thyme, basil, and lemon peel. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover, and cook for 45 to 60 minutes or until the lentils are soft to the bite. Add the salt and pepper and serve.

Per cup (250 mL): calories: 157, protein: 10 g, fat: 3 g, carbohydrate: 24 g (4 g from sugar), dietary fibre: 5 g, calcium: 45 mg, iron: 4 mg, magnesium: 49 mg, phosphorus: 181 mg, potassium: 539 mg, sodium: 407 mg, zinc: 1 mg, thiamin: 0.2 mg, riboflavin: 0.1 mg, niacin: 3 mg, vitamin B6: 0.3 mg, folate: 162 mcg, pantothenic acid: 0.7 mg, vitamin B12: 0 mcg, vitamin A: 29 mcg, vitamin C: 13 mg, vitamin E: 0.5 mg, omega-6 fatty acids: 0.1 g, omega-3 fatty acids: 0 g

Percentage of calories from protein 26%, fat 15%, carbohydrate 59%