Red Lentil: Brunch

Is it just me or has brunch in Boston been on a roll lately? I used to be jealous of New York’s lively brunch scene with bottomless Bloody Mary’s and Mimosas, but now I’m just jealous of the Bloody Mary and Mimosa part.

There is just something so uniquely satisfying about this meal, specifically on Sundays. Fridays and Saturdays speed by so quickly and leave you feeling exhausted by the time you wake up Sunday morning- the same exact time where the feeling of dread slowly starts to creep up on you because the hectic work week will begin soon. Is there no winning? You reach your ultimate high of happiness during the end of the week, but all of sudden, you realize you have to wait another whole week for the same feeling again? No. You’ve never been more wrong in your life. There IS a way to kick start your week and transition to the highs and lows of Sundays to Mondays. The answer is brunch. The answer will always be brunch.

Take the Red Lentil for example. This place has some serious brunch options on Saturdays and Sundays. Although I shy away from vegetarian and vegan restaurants, I’ve never had better hash in my life- and I didn’t even miss the corned beef! Loaded with diced potatoes, artichokes, chickpeas, caramelized onions, roasted red peppers, crunchy kernels of corn and a sprinkle of tangy goat cheese, this flavorful dish only cost me $6.50. Rarely do I ever not see the bottom of my plate, but it was extremely filling and justified as a great breakfast the next day. The best part about it was that you leave feeling full without being disgustingly sluggish.

Hash - $6.50

Although I’m sure one order of hash was enough for 1-2 people, there is nothing better than a variety of food. We also ordered a “side” of sweet potato fries (enormous) and guacamole and salsa with chips. To wash these down, I ordered the Starter Juice (carrot, apple and ginger juice) and my friend ordered an organic iced black tea.

Chips with Salsa & Guacamole - $5

Belgian Sweet Potato Fries - $4

Each and every dish was unbelievably fresh! You can almost even see it through the pictures. The sweet potato fries were served with BBQ sauce and were baked instead of fried. There were also other minute details that I really appreciated. On the other side of the menu displayed a glossary of food terms many people have a hard time recognizing; seitan, tempeh and others.

The service was great as well. Our waitress gave me the yummy juice recommendation and I have a feeling she can offer helpful guidance to indecisive diners as well. It should be noted that there is a ~15-20 minute wait for brunch during Sunday mornings though, so I would recommend avoiding peak times (noon). Even if you decide to wait it out, there is a chocolate shop nearby, coffee shops and Armenian markets you can browse through as well.

Overall, I am anticipating my next visit to the Red Lentil. As an avid lover of restaurants that carry meat, this one is definitely an exception. Who knows, maybe I’ll get the seitan next time or soy chicken? Wheat-based meat sounds slightly intriguing, doesn’t it?

You’ve genuinely altered my view of Vegetarians and Vegans, Red Lentil. You rock.
Total Meal: ~$34.00
Servings: 2-3 people

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Pasta with Italian Sausage & Peas in “Cream” Sauce

Perfectly cooked, al dente pasta laced with flavorful cream sauce and vibrant green peas is something everyone should be entitled to- but all those calories… ouch. Sometimes the guilt you feel after swiping that last piece of rigatoni in sauce hurts! Fortunately, instead of using heavy cream, there is an alternative. Milk and flour.

Thanks to an inspirational allrecipes recipe with helpful comments and a few tweaks, here is another meal any newbie can make with ingredients everyone is familiar with.

1 pound pasta (I’m using rigatoni)
1/2 pound Spicy Italian Sausage, remove casing
1/2 pound Sweet Italian Sausage, remove casing
12 oz frozen green peas
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
6 garlic cloves minced
1  1/2 cup milk
2 tbs olive oil
2 tbs butter (healthier: light canola butter)
1 tbs all purpose flour
Salt and Pepper

(The picture below shows 1/2 the recipe amount, so use a large pot instead of a sauté pan to fit all the ingredients for the whole amount)


1) Bring a pot of salted water to boil and add pasta. In the meantime…

2)   In a sauté pan, sauté garlic in olive oil over medium heat for 2 minutes

3)   Add Italian sausage meat and cook until brown. (Drain the oil for less calories)

4)   Add frozen peas and cook for 5 minutes

5)   Add flour and mix

6)   Add milk and butter. After it boils, bring to a simmer and add Parmesan cheese

7)   When pasta is al dente, drain and add to sauce

8 )   Mix up all that goodness. Season with salt and pepper. (If sauce is too thick, add more milk)

9)   Pat yourself on the back because you just cooked like a champ.

Prep Time: 25 minutes
Level: Intermediate
Total Cost: ~$20 ($4 per person)
Servings: 5-6 people

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