3-Ingredient Teriyaki Brussels Sprouts & Lentil Stir Fry

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3-Ingredient Teriyaki Brussels Sprouts & Lentil Stir Fry - Inspired by a Trader Joe's shortcut recipe but with ingredients anyone can find, this protein-rich, plant-based meal is a dream on a busy night. Enjoy it as is or use the recipe as a framework and customize to taste.

Inspired by a Trader Joe’s shortcut recipe but using ingredients anyone can find, this protein-rich, plant-based meal is a dream on a busy night. Enjoy it as is or use the recipe as a framework and customize to taste.

 

 

 

You may have read one of my recent mentions about my older son. He’s living without a college meal plan for the first time and navigating how and what to cook while being very mindful of the cost.

Like so many of us, his days are rather long. He’s up and out before dawn and, most nights, isn’t finished with his internship until 8:00 or so. By the time he gets home, he wants to eat ASAP.

At the same time, I started receiving frequent links in my email to all sorts of Trader Joe’s ingredients, new products and shortcuts. The funny thing is that I don’t live near a Trader Joe’s and never have!

Thanks to their reasonable prices and healthy, ready-to-eat offerings, Trader Joe’s has, however, earned itself legions of fans. Given my son’s need to fend for himself for the first time ever, I’ve been paying attention to this sudden onslaught of emails. Of course, the quick meal ideas call for Trader Joe’s-specific products, but I figured that one doesn’t necessarily have to use their products to reap the benefits.

Such is the case with the following recipe idea.⇩⇩ It was billed as everything you’d hope a dinner would be - healthy, delicious, affordable and quick.

3-Ingredient Teriyaki Brussels Sprouts & Lentil Stir Fry - Inspired by a Trader Joe's shortcut recipe but with ingredients anyone can find, this protein-rich, plant-based meal is a dream on a busy night. Enjoy it as is or use the recipe as a framework and customize to taste.

Image credit: Joe Lingeman/Kitchn

This was most definitely the sort of meal idea John (and the rest of us!) could use. But when combined, would those three convenient ingredients really stand up to the advance billing?Before sending the idea to John, I tested it to see if it really was as good as it looked.

I knew I’d have at least one skeptic (which is good for recipe testing!), as my younger son is ambivalent at best when it comes to lentils. He made note of this ambivalence as he dug his fork into the super simple meal. And then…he followed it up with, “but this is actually pretty good!”

If he liked it, I was pretty sure 95% of my readers would, too!

While this recipe isn’t gourmet, it is a solid, healthy, satisfying meal that can be pulled off with ease in mere minutes. The magic truly lies in its simplicity. Plus it’s easy to customize through toppings or varying the base ingredients. (More to come on that soon!)

Beyond the three key ingredients, worthy topping include nuts or seeds for welcome crunch, fresh herbs or scallions for added flavor, and/or a few other odds and ends you may have lurking in your kitchen. But if you stick with the basic three, I think you’ll still be happy.

Also noteworthy is that this recipe is vegan as long as your sauce is. (I checked the label on the bottle I purchased at Wegmans, and it was vegan, gluten-free and organic. It was also lower in sodium than similar sauces. For those who prefer a do-it-yourself alternative, this recipe for homemade teriyaki sauce is quite good.

The Trader Joes-specific recipe called for steamed lentils sold at the store (as pictured in the graphic above). I noticed a smaller package was available where I was shopping ⇩⇩, but I opted to cook my own (which I did in advance and refrigerated until I was ready to prepare dinner).

 

3-Ingredient Teriyaki Brussels Sprouts & Lentil Stir Fry - Inspired by a Trader Joe's shortcut recipe but with ingredients anyone can find, this protein-rich, plant-based meal is a dream on a busy night. Enjoy it as is or use the recipe as a framework and customize to taste.

Note that one of these packages of precooked lentils is not quite enough for the full recipe. The Trader Joes’ option provides more than needed. You may certainly cook your own up to a day or two in advance. Canned lentils, however, aren’t a good choice for this recipe as they tend to be softer and clumpier.

Helpful hint: When purchasing pre-shredded Brussels sprouts, note the bag size, as I’ve seen packages ranging from 10 to 16 ounces. (You may certainly purchase more than you need; just look so you don’t dump too much in the pan. 😉 And double-check to make sure the sprouts are very fresh.) Alternatively, you may certainly shred the sprouts yourself.

3-Ingredient Teriyaki Brussels Sprouts & Lentil Stir Fry - Inspired by a Trader Joe's shortcut recipe but with ingredients anyone can find, this protein-rich, plant-based meal is a dream on a busy night. Enjoy it as is or use the recipe as a framework and customize to taste.

We all hear that Brussels sprouts are so good for us, but why?

The cruciferous vegetable is low in calories but high in nutrients, including Vitamins A, C and K as well as folate and manganese. Their high fiber content supports gut health and they are thought to protect against certain types of cancer, maintain healthy blood sugar levels and reduce inflammation, among other attributes.

And why are lentils so good for our health?

An edible seeds from the legume family, lentils are an inexpensive way to consume a wide variety of nutrients. They are especially good sources of protein, iron, fiber, folic acid and magnesium. Whether black, brown, yellow, red or green, lentils are naturally gluten-free and contain a wide range of beneficial plant compounds called phytochemicals, which are through to protect against chronic diseases, including heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

3-Ingredient Teriyaki Brussels Sprouts & Lentil Stir Fry - Inspired by a Trader Joe's shortcut recipe but with ingredients anyone can find, this protein-rich, plant-based meal is a dream on a busy night. Enjoy it as is or use the recipe as a framework and customize to taste.

Teriyaki Brussels Sprouts & Lentil Stir Fry
Yield: 2 generous main dish serving (or 3-4 servings if eating with a side dish)
With just three main ingredients, this protein-rich, plant-based meal is a dream on a busy night. Enjoy it as is or use the recipe as a framework and customize to taste.
Ingredients
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 (10-ounce) package shaved Brussels sprouts (I want to try with broccoli slaw next)
  • 2 cups cooked lentils (see notes for options)
  • 3 tablespoons teriyaki sauce (homemade or your favorite store-bought)
  • Optional toppings: peanuts, cashews, almonds or nuts/seeds of choice; cooked and crumbled bacon or prosciutto; chopped cilantro; sliced scallions; chopped avocado; a drizzle of sriracha
Instructions
  1. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large (10-12” diameter) skillet over medium-high heat. Add the shaved Brussels sprouts and cook until lightly browned but not limp, about 4 minutes. (At first, I spread the sprouts out in an even layer and let them sear, undisturbed. Once I notice some color developing, I stir frequently until cooked to my liking.)
  2. Stir in the cooked lentils and cook just long enough to heat through, 1 minute or so. Remove from heat and toss with 3 tablespoons of the teriyaki sauce. (If you like a saucier dish, you could add an additional tablespoon, but I find 3T is enough to lightly but evenly coat and impart good flavor.) Enjoy as is or with optional topping(s).
Notes & Tips

Lentil shortcut options: For a shortcut, you may use refrigerated, pre-steamed lentils, which are often sold in the refrigerated/produce section of the grocery store. Avoid canned lentils as they are not as firm or “loose” as when freshly cooked.

To cook lentils yourself: If cooking yourself, you’ll need ⅔ cups dry to yield 2 cups cooked lentils. Brown, green or black lentils all work well. Rinse the lentils and bring 3 cups of water to a boil in a medium pot. Add the lentils and 1 teaspoon of optional salt. (The idea that salt impedes the cooking process of legumes has been debunked, so don’t worry – and though salted water will enhance the flavor of the lentils, it is strictly optional.) Stir, reduce heat to low to medium-low, and allow the lentils to simmer, uncovered, for 20-30 minutes or until cooked but still a little firm. Check a few minutes early and taste for doneness. You want them to be just tender but not mushy, and cooking time will vary based on precise level of heat and age of the lentils. Drain thoroughly. Prep-ahead tip: cooked and cooled lentils may be covered and refrigerated for up to 5 days.

How to mix it up: Instead of teriyaki sauce, you could try an Asian alternative like sesame ginger dressing – or you could totally branch out and use something like a honey mustard dressing, in which case a garnish of dried cranberries, toasted pecans or walnuts and crumbled blue or feta cheese would likely be nice. Feel free to experiment!

Leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight container up to 4 days.

Measuring lentils:
1 cup dry lentils = 7.1 ounces (this is slightly under the fill line or a scant cup – I shake off after measuring instead of leveling with a straight edge of a knife. This is actually more helpful when cooking rice, so that you don’t end up with too much rice and not enough water.)

1 cup cooked lentils = 5.6 ounces/158 grams

The Fountain Avenue Kitchen https://fountainavenuekitchen.com/

 

 

 

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Comments

  1. Nadja

    Will give this a try! Here’s my universal solution for quick meals: Get John an electric steamer!
    One of my favorite quick meals is steamed zucchini slices or broccoli flowerets (or other veggies) tossed into a simple wine vinegar and olive oil dressing when still hot, with all the juices. (Or use your favorite dressing, store-bought or not).Add a can of tuna (tofu, ham, feta… or steamed frozen fish fillets), maybe canned corn, lentils or beans, or leftover rice for carbs. Done! Serve in a big bowl, that’s hip now anyway.

    So he’d just have to toss the veggies into the steamer; the 6 to 15 minutes cooking time can be used to sort through the mail, to shred tomorrow’s veggies, to open a drink or whatever. No danger of burning things when it’s late and your concentration fading! This veggie salad also reheats the next day, or can be eaten cold – the flavor will improve with time.

    All best to you and John, and bon appétit
    Nadja

    Reply
    1. Ann Post author

      Thanks for sharing your quick meal ideas, Nadja. One can never have too many – and bowls meals are so popular now. Hope you enjoy this one as well!

      Reply