“I don’t have time to talk” and a favourite dish: lentils with rice

One of my new neighbours recently told me, “I DON’T HAVE TIME TO TALK.”

All I had said to her was a simple hello. The crazy thing is that I should just be happy because I didn’t want to talk either! I was on my way out to walk my dog. I didn’t answer but if I could think faster on my feet I might have told her that a simple HELLO and a smile would take a lot less time than, “I DON’T HAVE TIME TO TALK.”

While I was walking my dog, I was thinking about the general lack of kindness and feeling pretty sad.

But then yesterday, I drove past a neighbourhood park in Kingston and I saw something that reaffirmed my faith in people. There were a couple of dozen community-minded citizens out spending their Sunday morning picking up rubbish and raking the grass and working in the park. These were families with their children and strollers and dogs. They were obviously volunteering and keeping their neighbourhood clean – picking up after those who won’t pick up after themselves. They were making the world a better place. And they made me want to be a better person too. When I walked my dog last night I picked up rubbish along the way and brought it back to the garbage bin.

Then I read this article in the UK Daily Mail quoting a study which says the best way to deal with rudeness is to turn the other cheek and treat it with silence. The study found that people who completely ignore those who are rude and offensive were more mentally healthy than those who engage with them.

Perhaps overcoming bad manners is the real test of good manners. And apparently, it’s good for you too.

Seems like a good time to start talking about lentils. Because like picking up garbage in the park; like overcoming bad manners; and like disarming people with courtesy – lentils are also good for you!

Lentils are really, really healthy. They’re do-gooder food. A couple of weeks ago I wrote about the fact that lentils are just not photogenic.  But they are cheap and tasty and healthy and low impact on the planet. And combined with rice or another whole grain – they make a perfect vegetarian protein. You can make this from scratch with dry lentils and rice but I’m generally throwing it together at the last possible second and find canned lentils pretty handy.

Enjoy. Do good in the world. Smile and say hello. Pick up rubbish. And eat more lentils.

Lentils with Rice

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
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  • 1 cup long grain rice
  • 2 cups water or vegetarian stock
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 large can of lentils, rinsed thoroughly
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2-3 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 tbsp tamari or soya sauce
  • black pepper

Bring the rice, water or stock, and salt (use only a pinch of salt if you’re using stock instead of water) to the boil. Stir. Turn off the heat, cover and don’t even look a the rice for 20 minutes. You can use brown rice too of course but the cooking time is longer.

Meanwhile, sauté the onion in olive oil until the onion is lightly browned. Add the garlic and cook a further 2-3 minutes. Add the cooked rice and the washed lentils. Stir to combine. Add the tamari and season with black pepper (and if you’re not vegan – go ahead and top it with some grated parmesan cheese). Serve with a  green salad and a hearty loaf of bread.