Since becoming a parent I cannot understate enough the need I’ve developed for quick meals and convenience food. It’s been quite the learning curve; the discovery of how those few minutes in between the last activity that held anyone’s attention, and eating can escalate from slight discomfort to total break down in literally seconds.
When Nell was little(er) I relied heavily on hummus, eggs, tortillas and babybell for quick meals or snacks. Now however I’ve got another little person who is sadly allergic to sesame and egg whites, thus negating half of our time crunch foods (and giving us quite a scare in the process).
So I’ve had to reconsider our convenience food options. While there are tons of pre-packaged foods on the market that cater to various allergies, most of them are so expensive that it’s just not sustainable. I would prefer not to spend my kids university funds on organic toddler snacks if I can avoid it. Instead I’ve opted for the weekly meal prep, where I dedicate a few hours each weekend to making as much ahead of time as possible, in hopes of avoiding meltdown stress. I pull out the crockpot, the bread machine, and all other ‘busy housewife-type’ appliances because honestly, I couldn’t care less what stereotype I’m inflicting upon myself (yes, sometimes this takes place whilst wearing yoga pants). I have started to figure out a few weekly standards that make our normal chaos liveable, vaguely more affordable, and thankfully hiveless.
This dip is pretty low stress to make, thankfully not gritty (as lentils can sometimes be) and a great sesame-free alternative to hummus.
Sweet Potato, Apple & Lentil Dip
(inspired by this BBC Good Food recipe)
1/2 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp cinnamon
flaked sea salt or kosher salt to taste
1 sweet potato, peeled and diced
2 apples, peeled and diced
140g red lentils
300-400ml water or vegetable stock
1 tsp red wine vinegar
In a large pan heat oil, then add onion and saute for 5 minutes or so until soft. Add your spices (paprika & cinnamon) along with a pinch or two of salt and saute for a minute until fragrant. Then add the garlic and continue to saute for another 2-3 minutes until soft.
Add your diced sweet potato, apple, lentils and stock or water to the pan, stir and bring to a simmer. Turn the fire to medium and let everything continue to simmer away for 20-30 minutes- your apple will break down, your lentils will absorb the flavours and liquid, and your sweet potato will soften.
Tip everything into a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Season to taste, pop it into a tupperware and refrigerate once cool. Your future self will thank you next time he/she scrambles for food.