Braised Leeks with Lentils, Sunflower Seeds and Hazelnuts

Braised Leeks with Lentils, Sunflower seeds and Hazelnuts

December 14, 2015

Braised Leeks with Lentils, Sunflower Seeds and Hazelnuts

Since I have been teaching less yoga, I actually have become more of a student again. When I taught yoga as one of my main sources of income, I felt like I had to teach so much in order to make a living. Then, you are teaching so much that I had times where the last thing I wanted to do was think about my now “work”, yoga. When the whole reason why I wanted to be a yoga instructor so badly was to surround myself with the uplifting and joyful feelings I had after class as a student all of the time.

Braised Leeks with Lentils, Sunflower Seeds and Hazelnuts

Finding your balance between student and teacher is the most challenging part. In order to be the best teacher you can be, you must stay a student. I find that not only am I practicing more, that the quality of my teaching has improved. I am more authentic in the classroom and I connect with my students more. Outside of the classroom, I find that I have more time for my friends, family, Graham and myself. Unfortunately, now that I work full time during the day I find that I have less time for this space here.

As I reflect on some of these big changes I have made in my life this year, I have noticed areas that I would like to bring more attention to moving into 2016. I have lots of goals for this next year for my professional self and this space here and I can not wait to share them with you all when the time is right. For now, you can look forward to more blog posts!

Braised Leeks with Lentils, Sunflower Seeds and Hazelnuts

This recipe was inspired by my family’s new tradition of “Second Sunday Family Dinner”. Every second sunday of the month, we get together and sit around a big table and enjoy a home cooked meal together. We all bring something to share; My Aunt brings homemade bread and her daughter, my Cousin brings healthy small bites, my Mom and Dad make a homemade dessert, usually something non-dairy and I try to bring some kind of vegetable dish (classic!). Sometimes I bring something easy and simple, but this month I made something up! I had tons of leeks that needed to be cooked up in the refrigerator and wanted to pair it with something earthy and some citrus. I started putting together ingredients I had on hand and this delicious recipe was born. It is so quick to throw together, healthy, vegan and gluten-free; Which makes it perfect for a party or get together.

Braised Leeks with Lentils, Sunflower Seeds and Hazelnuts

Braised leeks with lentils, sunflower seeds and hazelnuts // Serves 4-6
(vegan + gluten-free)

1 cup dry french lentils
4-6 leeks, chubbier the better
3 cups vegetable broth
2 tablespoons olive oil or butter – not vegan
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoons lemon zest
fresh lemon thyme
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 cup hazelnuts, chopped
coarse sea salt & freshly cracked black pepper

Cook your lentils, following the directions on your package. Add salt, pepper, lemon juice, and two springs of lemon thyme.

While your lentils are cooking, prepare your leeks for braising. Remove the outer leaves and with a sharp knife cut off the dark green ends from the leeks. Trim off the roots just enough so that you keep the leaves attached. This will help to keep them together when you cut them lengthwise. Halve leeks lengthwise then rinse to remove any dirt.

Heat a large skllet; When hot, carefully add olive oil or butter (if not vegan). Place leeks cut-side down in your skillet to cook. Now, in order to get that nice browning.. allow them to sit and cook for 5-6 minutes without moving or removing from the heat. After 5-6 minutes of cooking and checking them to see if they have a nice coloring, flip them over in your skillet using tongs. Add broth, sprinkle of salt and cracked black pepper. Bring the broth to a slight boil; Cook for about 1 minute then reduce heat and cover to let simmer for 15 minutes.

After after everything is cooking; Place leeks onto a serving tray cut-side up. Spoon over leeks and top with lemon zest, additional lemon thyme, sunflower seeds, and hazelnuts.

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