Thursday, July 21, 2016

Chayote Squash with French Lentils (No Added Fat)

I purchased a chayote squash for the first time. I had read that it tastes good raw or pressure cooked for 2 minutes after being cubed. Here is what I did.

  • 1 cup French lentils
  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • Vegan bouillon cube
  • 1 small cabbage (I used purple, but green is fine) cut into shreds of about 3/8" x 1" (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • Medium chayote squash, peeled and cut into 1/2" cubes (I had read that the soft seed should be composted, but I only found a thin seed that was tasty; I ate it raw)
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely (1/8") diced
  • 1/8 t turmeric
  • 1/2 t black sesame seeds
  • 1t fennel seeds
  • 1/2 cup onion cut into half moon slices approx. 1/4" x 1 1/4" (maybe 2/3 of a medium onion)
  • 1/2 t salt (or to taste)
  • 2t lemon juice
  1. I put the lentils, water, and bouillon cube into my Instant Pot pressure cooker. Lentils should take about 7 minutes (like when I made a French lentil dish back in May 2014) and I wanted to cook the squash for 2 minutes, so I cooked the lentils for 5 minutes.
  2. After the cooking was done, I could have waited a few minutes and gently released pressure, but I did the first step well before I needed to continue so was able to just open the top since the pressure was reduced. The lentils tasted quite done and good after just the 5-minute cook time!
  3. I added the squash after tasting it raw. It was good raw and reminded me a lot of jicama. I decided to cook under low pressure for the remaining 2 minutes. I did that, after also adding the garlic, turmeric, sesame seeds, and fennel seeds.
  4. When I was ready to serve, I opened the pot slowly, and added onion, salt, and lemon juice. I served with Madagascar Pink rice.

Dinner was good - and I forgot to add the onions in! My daughter doesn't normally like squash, but this chayote squash doesn't at all taste like other squashes that we've had. For a change, I liked my meal more than my wife did; we both liked it, but I thought that the combination was particularly good. She wanted a bit more treatment of the squash.

Speaking of onions, my wife did prefer onion, which I added at the table to her plate. I was fine with no onion.

Ideas for the future

I'm delighted with the 1: 2.5 ratio over 5 minutes of pressure for the French lentils - and wonder if 4 minutes would be enough as the lentils were a bit soft. I love how they come out and form a thick base for additional ingredients. I should cook with French lentils more often.

I should buy chayote squash again and serve it raw, thinly sliced. I should also experiment with more cooked dishes, perhaps coating the squash with bread crumbs or just preparing it with more ingredients, such as carrots and sweet potato.

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