Friday, November 22, 2013

Lentil Cakes

Featured Ingredient: Camelina Oil

I may have found my new favorite culinary oil. It’s called camelina oil and it’s pressed from an ancient oilseed hailing from Northern Europe. Let me tell you the reasons why I’m all aboard the camelina train these days.

It’s rich in ultra-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. I’ve been using grapeseed oil as an all-purpose cooking oil for a while but my concern with it is the very high omega-6 levels. Too much omega-6 to omega-3 can be pro-inflammatory. Camelina oil possesses a better balance of omega-3s to omega-6s. There is also healthy amounts of the antioxidant vitamin E contained within each bottle.

It’s got an awesome flavor reminiscent of asparagus. Truly delicious!

It’s not genetically modified making it a great alternative to canola oil, much of which grown up here in Canada is GMO.

It has a high smoke point so you can use it in the frying pan or for no-cook applications like salad dressings and dips.

The camelina oil I’ve been using lately is from Three Farmers. As the epithet indicates, it’s oil that is cold-pressed from seeds grown by three farmers on the Canadian prairies. One of the coolest things is that you can punch in the code on your bottle into their website and you’ll find out which farmer and which field it hailed from. In an era where food traceability is becoming obsolete, this is a wonderful perk.

My first muffin tin creation using camelina oil is these wholesome lentil cakes. They are bursting with a lot of great flavors and it’s a chance to work more fiber-packed lentils in your diet – something most of us should be aiming for. The oil and sun-dried tomatoes help keep them from becoming too dry. If you are using the packaged tomatoes that are not oil-packed be sure to soak them first before blending with the oil. These lentil cakes are best when some soft goat cheese, cream cheese or hummus is strewn over top. I used my Vita-mix dry container to blend up the lentils, but a food processor or spine grinder (in batches) should work too.

So have I convinced anyone to try camelina oil?

Lentil Carrot Cakes

1 cup green or brown lentils
2 medium sized carrots, grated
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 large egg
2/3 cup oil packed sun-dried tomatoes
1/3 cup camelina oil or extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 large or 2 small garlic cloves, minced
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Prheat oven to 375 degrees F. Grind lentils into a powder this is only slightly coarse. In a large bowl, combine lentil flower, carrot, cheese and egg.

Place sun-dried tomatoes, camelina oil, 1/4 cup water, mustard, thyme, garlic, lemon juice, cumin, salt and black pepper in a blender or food processor contain and blend until smooth. Add some additional water if needed to help with blending.

Divide mixture among 12 standard sized greased or paper lined muffin cups. Be sure to press down on the mixture so it is flat and compact. Bake for 18 minutes, or until they have firmed up but are still moist. Don’t over bake! Let cool for a few minutes before unmolding.

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