Vegetarian yumminess!

ImageSpicy beluga lentils with blanched carrots. Twisted carrot fries. Watermelon, feta and pine nuts with rosemary infused olive oil.

I was born a vegetarian. The first many years of my life I ate only vegetarian and while my friends had steaks and chicken fillets for dinner my parents served beans and lentils. As I grew older I started eating meat and by the time I started enjoying cooking, meat had become a part of my diet. Lately I have had many discussions with people trying to tell me that they do not feel full if they do not incorporate meat in every meal – which I frankly find pretty sad. Denmark has for years had one of the world’s highest consumptions of meat, which is not something to be proud of as a nation. Although we have many beautiful initiatives working with more sustainable ways of eating we still have to realize that meat does NOT have to be present every time we need a snack, lunch or dinner. Vegetarian (and vegan) food can be extremely delicious and this dish will make your taste buds go nuts. The watermelon and feta cube combination is so extremely delicious and is a wonderful contrast to the spicy lentils.

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300 g / 10.5 oz beluga lentils

250 g / 8.8 oz carrots (cut into small cubes)

2 long carrots

1 dl / 0.4 cup olive oil

A handful of fresh rosemary

150 g. / 5.3 oz watermelon

100 g / 3.5 oz puck feta

2 tablespoons of pine nuts

1 teaspoon coriander powder

1 teaspoon cumin powder

½ teaspoon chili powder

5 tablespoons lemon juice

Salt and pepper

Canola oil for frying

Add the rosemary and olive oil to a pot and heat on low flame for a few minutes until warm. Remove from stove and leave for at least one hour (leave it for 24 hours for strong rosemary flavor). Transfer lentils to a pot and cover with water by 2 cm/1 inch. Cover with a lid and boil for approximately 20 minutes. Meanwhile blanch the carrot cubes in water mixed with one tablespoon lemon juice and a pinch of salt. Blanch for 1-2 minutes (depending on the size of the cubes) and transfer to a bowl of very cold water (throwing a few ice cubes in there is a good idea). Strain the lentils to remove any excess water and leave to cool. In another pan add enough oil for shallow frying and heat on low frame. The oil should not be warmer than 160 degrees Celsius (320 degrees Fahrenheit). Using a potato peeler peel the carrots lengthwise. Transfer one carrot peel at the time to the warm oil and fry for approximately 2 minutes. Remove from the oil, pat dry with paper towel and twist the carrot peel around a sharpening steel and hold it for 5-10 seconds while cooling down. Cut watermelon and feta cheese into cubes and arrange on a plate. Place the pine nuts on top of the cubes. Mix the cold lentils and blanched carrots with a few tablespoons of the rosemary infused oil, coriander, cumin, chili, the remaining lemon juice and taste with salt and pepper. Arrange on the plate and drizzle everything with a tablespoon of the rosemary infused oil. Sprinkle the carrot fries with salt and pepper and add to the plate just before serving.

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