I’m thrilled to be working with Canadian Lentils this holiday season to bring you delicious entertaining ideas using lentils. This post is sponsored by Canadian Lentils. Although I’ve been compensated for this post, as always, all opinions are my own. Follow along on social media using the hashtag #LoveLentils
When it comes to holiday entertaining, appetizers are my best friend. Whether it’s a potluck at work, New Years Eve, or I’m just celebrating at home with friends, finger foods are the way to go! Serving tasty finger foods can be inexpensive, quick to prepare, and a great conversation starter. This recipe for Sausage and Lentil Pinwheels embodies all three.
Lentils, namely green and split red, are a pantry staple in my house for several reasons. The biggest of which being their versatility. Lentils have innumerable applications, but I’m obsessed with using them to replace meat in all my everyday fave recipes. I’ve used them in meatloaf, Thai Larb Moo , mix them into my Shakshuka, and even add them to pasta sauce to make it meatier, sans the meat.
Versatility isn’t the only perk to using lentils. Contrary to what many people believe, lentils are incredibly simply to cook with. There’s no need to soak the dried lentils before cooking, just give them a quick rinse, drop ’em into a pot with plenty of water (3:1 ratio water to lentils), bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until tender.
So naturally, with their versatility and simplicity, lentils are the perfect addition to your holiday entertaining repertoire. For me, that means cutting back on the meat and replacing it with green lentils. Not only will you be reducing the fat, but you’ll be bringing iron and fiber to the table, without losing out on protein (there are 26 grams of protein per 100 grams of cooked green lentils).
When I was asked to share a few of my favourite recipes fit for the holiday season featuring lentils, these delicious swirls of pastry, cheese and lentils came to mind immediately. Not only do they come off as fancy (thanks in large part to the puff pastry), but they whip together in a cinch and can be made well in advance and frozen. Sure, the puff pastry will draw your guests in, but the true wow-factor is when people find out that, rolled between those layers of flaky pastry, are pureed lentils.
Using lentils instead of all-meat has its health benefits such as reducing fat and calories, and provides a dose of fiber, potassium and even zinc. Not to mention lentils will help you feel fuller, longer (yay fiber), which might help curb the all-day-grazing (and subsequent food coma) at your work potluck.
So, you’re basically doing everyone a favour by cooking with lentils.
Queue the compliments.
Sausage and Lentil Pinwheels
The perfect holiday appetizer.
- 1 sheet store-bought puff pastry thawed (the kind I buy has 2 sheets per box)
- 2 links of mild Italian sausage each link should be about 100 grams
- 1/4 cup dry green lentils
- 1 cup water
- 1 clove garlic smashed
- 4 oz cream cheese at room temperature
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 1 cup grated monterey jack cheese
- 1 green onion finely chopped
- 2 tbsp milk for brushing pastry
- Remove the casings from the sausage and discard.
- In a medium skillet over medium heat, crumble the sausage and use a fork to break apart the bigger pieces. Stir occasionally, until the sausage is browned and sufficiently crumbled (the texture of ground beef once browned). Place the cooked sausage into a bowl lined with paper towel to drain and cool.
- Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, add dry green lentils and water. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce to medium and allow to simmer for about 10 minutes, or until lentils are tender but not mushy. Drain lentils and allow to cool.
- In a food processor, add cooled lentils and garlic and pulse until you have a puree (you may still see full lentils, and that's totally fine).
- Add cream cheese and salt to the food processor and pulse until well combined. Set aside.
- On a lightly floured surface, unroll one puff pastry sheet. Spread the cream cheese and lentil mixture onto the pastry. Leave about a half inch border around all sides. Top with crumbled sausage, cheese and green onions. Gently press the filling down onto the pastry.
- Starting on one long edge, begin to roll the pastry into a log. Pinch the seams to seal. Wrap in plastic and freeze for about an hour or until ready to bake.
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Remove from the freezer and remove plastic wrap. Using a sharp knife, cut the log into 24 even slices. Transfer slices to prepared baking sheet spacing them about 2 inches apart. Brush lightly with milk.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the pastry has puffed and lightly browned.
- Allow to cool before serving.