Our Planet; Our Health. That’s the overarching theme of Global World Health Day on 7 April.
And something we need to consider as we make our food choices is the ability of plants to protect and refresh the earth as they grow.
Mushrooms, extraordinarily, are able to restore soil and many eco-scientists proclaim mushrooms as one of the answers to climate change, with commercially grown mushrooms by SA farmers, being a highly sustainable crop.
So keep humans and the planet healthier on this World Health Day by simply eating more mushrooms and less meat, or switching to mushrooms instead of meat.
- 1 ½ cups brown lentils
- 5 cups mushroom stock
- 1 bunch fresh thyme sprigs
- 1 onion, diced
- 500g portabellini mushrooms, sliced
- 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- 2 Tbsp tomato paste
- ½ tsp dried chilli flakes
- 1 x 400g tin diced tomatoes
- Olive oil
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Butter bean mash:
- 2 x 400g tins of butter beans, rinsed & drained
- 1 small clove garlic, grated finely
- 2 Tbsp lemon juice
- 4 Tbsp / 60ml olive oil
- Salt & pepper, to taste
- Chopped parsley or micro herbs, for serving
Vegetables and mushrooms in particular are packed with fibre, which fills you up and keeps you fuller for longer, while generally lowering your calorie intake overall.
- To make the mash, add all the ingredients to a food processor.
- Blitz until completely smooth, adding a little water if you want to thin it out.
- To warm up – transfer to a saucepan over low heat and stir until warmed through.
- Taste to adjust seasoning.
For the lentil stew:
- Rinse lentils well. Place in a large pot or Dutch oven and add the mushroom stock and thyme.
- Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cook with lid ajar for about 25 minutes until tender. If you need to give them a little liquid top up add some boiling water from the kettle.
- Discard the thyme sprigs.
- Meanwhile, heat a drizzle of olive oil in a large sauté pan.
- Add onion and mushrooms. Season lightly and cook until the onion softens and mushrooms are golden. Add garlic, tomato paste and chilli flakes. Cook until tomato paste turns a deep dark red colour and smells sweet.
- Pour in the tinned tomato and deglaze the bottom of the pan.
- Add the cooked lentils and all their liquid. Mix everything well together.
- Taste to adjust seasoning
- Serve stew on warmed butter bean mash and sprinkle with micro herbs.
Author: Pedro van Gaalen
When he’s not writing about sport or health and fitness, Pedro is probably out training for his next marathon or ultra-marathon. He’s worked as a fitness professional and as a marketing and comms expert. He now combines his passions in his role as managing editor at Fitness magazine.