Adventures in Trying New Foods: Lentils and Cabbage Update

Since the beginning of the year, I’ve challenged myself to try a new food each month, which I outlined in this post here. In January I tried kale, and then in February I tried Brussels sprouts. In March I was supposed to try cabbage, but I never got around to it.

But, I’m pleased to report that in April, I tried the food reserved for the month—lentils—and also made up for lost time by trying out cabbage, as well. My most adventurous month to date!

First up, was trying cabbage.

To ease into this veggie, I found a pretty simple cabbage salad recipe on Pinterest (you can follow my board on there here, where I’m bookmarking recipes to try with these different new-to-me foods). So I mixed it up one night and was shocked at how much it made when you chopped it all up. I ended up using only a quarter of a head of cabbage and it still lasted me and my husband an entire week! And, despite its simplicity, it was pretty good. I made a mental note that it’d make for a good potluck dish and didn’t have to wait long to put it to the taste. The following week, I whipped it up (using half a head) and the dish got rave reviews.

Then I still had some cabbage left, so I tried another simple dish to use it up: roasting it using some olive oil and lemon juice. That recipe came out okay but not good enough for me to add the recipe to my collection, like I did with the first one. (Although next time I pick up another head of cabbage, I want to try this family recipe for cabbage rolls that reader Melissa shared. It sounds delish!)

Then came the lentils. I had ripped a couple of magazine recipes out that had some simple dressings for cooked lentils—which involved using either red wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar mixed with Dijon mustard—and both were pretty good. I think they’ll make nice alternatives to rice that I'm keeping in my stash.

While I stayed pretty safe with the cabbage, with the lentils, I had a couple of kinda-crazy recipes up my sleeve that I wanted to try out.

The first of those was for a lentil loaf—basically a vegetarian meatloaf-kind-of dish. I am pretty weary of most meat substitutes so I didn’t have very high expectations for this. While I don’t think you’d ever mistake it for the real thing, it actually was pretty good! And it smelled just like a real meatloaf. Making it was kind of involved, but I think for the healthy punch it provides, it was worth it. Another one to add to the recipe chest.

And then, with the month dwindling down, I tried a lentil recipe recommended by one of my readers (thanks, Melissa!) who had linked to it in a previous comment: lentil tacos. They reminded me of refried beans, and I was kind of floored by how good they were! (Plus, they don't take near as long to make as regular refried beans do, which I know will come in handy.) Another keeper.

With some spices and seasonings, it seems to me like lentils are super versatile—maybe similar to how they say tofu can take on any flavor. Needless to say, I have a newfound respect for the humble lentil. I’m eager to keep trying out some more lentil recipes and see what other surprises they have in store!

And now for May? Artichokes. And I already picked some up from the grocery store (fresh and jarred) so I’m hoping that’ll keep me on track for this month. If you have any good artichoke recipes, I’d love to hear them in the comments!

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  1. Yay!! I've been waiting to see if you tried the lentil tacos- so glad you liked them! If you want to truly fall in love with artichokes, try making a hot spinach and artichoke dip ;) My hubby and I also really loved artichokes on homemade pizza. We use the jarred kind, and chop them up into medium size chunks. They go with any and all toppings you put on, but go especially well with and alfredo base with chicken and tomatoes.

    1. Yes, we were SO impressed with how good the tacos came out. Looking forward to making that one again. And when we were in DC, we got a pizza with artichokes that I was hoping to recreate. It used pesto instead of alfredo sauce, but pretty much the same. Do you use marinated hearts or just regular ones from a jar for the pizza?

    2. I have only ever used the regular ones, but now you have my wheels turning! I can imagine marinated would be lovely :)

    3. I ended up making the pizza last night and it was DELICIOUS. Incredible, even. I used the marinated hearts because that's what a recipe I'd ripped out from a magazine suggested. Not sure how differently they taste from regular ones (since this is my first time using either of them!) but I'm a huge fan now :)

    4. Oh yummy- I'm definitely going to try marinated hearts next time!

  2. I'd never really had cabbage until I started dating my boyfriend. He's Basque and there's a soup they make our of cabbage that all of the restaurants here sell. From what I can tell it's cabbage, celery, tomatoes and a lot of garlic. It is SO good.

    As for artichokes, they are one of my faves. I steam mine after sprinkling with garlic salt and butter, and then dip the leaves in mayo and eat them that way. I know other people dip them in butter.

    1. Oh, that cabbage soup sounds good! I love getting to try things from other cultures--especially when someone's there to help me!

      I tried my first attempt at artichokes last night, although the recipe I used called for steaming/roasting them in the crockpot. I wasn't a huge fan, so I'm going to give your way a try next time. I'll let you know how it goes!

  3. HI Carmen,
    When We joined a farm a couple of years ago, we received several heads of cabbage. I found a recipe for grilled cabbage. You chop the head into 1/4's (I usually remove the stem) and place each peice on a peice of tin foil. To the cabbage, add some drizzles of olive oil and a sprinkling of your favorite Mrs. Dash. Seal the tin foil packets and cook on the grill. Flip the packets when you turn you meat. Easy clean up- just throw the tin foil away.


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