Reasons This Recipe Rocks For Fertility:
It's Rich in Folate
What is folate?
Folate is a form of Vitamin B9 and is the active version of folic acid. It helps us build red blood cells (important for pregnancy) It decreases the risk of neural tube defects in fetuses (causing problems in baby's brain and spine development.)
Folate stores before and during pregnancy are super important for baby to develop a healthy brain & spine, which becomes the baby’s nervous system. But it’s not just important while you’re actively pregnant. Folate breaks down an amino acid called homocysteine, which is toxic in high amounts. It’s also critical for building healthy red blood cells which bring oxygen around our body. Lentils are a delicious, inexpensive plant based source of folate, making them a staple in my pantry and making lentil patties a staple in my freezer.
2. It's Full of Healthy Fats
Not only does the scoop of guac add delicious flavor and texture, but it's a great source of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. Multiple studies have examined the link between the Mediterranean diet (full of healthy fats) and increased rates of pregnancy. Pumpkin seeds also add monounsaturated fats here. Not only is fat important for egg quality, fighting inflammation, and building baby a healthy brain, it also causes the release of satiety hormones that make us feel full and satisfied.
3. It's exploding with vitamins & phytochemicals
Vitamins are essential for proper immune system functioning and help all cells and organs do their jobs. Phytochemicals are chemicals produced by plants that help us fight inflammation and protect the body against oxidative stress, both of which are critical while trying to get pregnant! Your body needs to know it's in a safe environment to grow and sustain a life. If your immune system is acting up, it tells your body the environment isn't safe.
4. Boosts Your Energy with Complex Carbohydrates
Lentils are a great source of complex carbohydrates that break down slowly and cause a gradual rise in your blood sugar but not an aggressive spike. We don't need to go low carb or carb free while trying to get pregnant- we just want to prioritize nutrient dense carbs that come packed with fiber, vitamins, and minerals to keep our blood sugar happy and our cravings satisfied.
I am a huuuge advocate for bulk prepping these lentil patties in advance, stashing them in your freezer, and having an easy, balanced meal packaged into one little dish. They're great on their own, dipped in tahini, or added to a salad like this one..
For the lentil patties:
1 cup cooked green lentils* (you can use red, yellow, or brown too)
1 cup almond flour
3 cloves garlic
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp curry powder
pinch of chili pepper, optional
2 cups fresh spinach (you can also swap parsley or cilantro here)
2 Tbsp olive oil
For the salad:
2 cups kale, chopped
1 Persian cucumber, chopped
1 radish, thinly sliced
½ cup of homemade guacamole- (1 avocado, diced red onion, parsley to top, ½ tsp lemon juice, pinch of salt and pepper)
1 Tbsp pumpkin seeds
1 Tbsp sunflower seeds
2 lentil patties
For the dressing:
1/3 cup tahini paste
2 Tbsp water + more to thin to consistency of your choice
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
For the lentil patties:
Combine lentils, almond flour, onion, garlic, and spices in a food processor fitted with an S blade. Pulse to combine.
Add spinach and egg and pulse until you get a smooth consistency.
Line a baking tray with parchment paper.
Use a 1/4 cup measuring cup (or cookie dough scooper for smaller patties) to make patties with a flat bottom.
Place tray in the freezer for 15-20 minutes. Don't skip this step! This is essential for the patties to hold their shape.
Preheat the oven to 200°C or 400°F. Bake patties for 30 minutes, or until tops are golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool fully before freezing.
To defrost: microwave on medium for 1 minute and check center.
For the salad:
Wash the kale and remove the stems. Chop into 2 inch pieces and add to a large bowl.
Drizzle 1 tsp olive oil over the kale and massage it into the kale for 2-3 minutes. This makes it taste less bitter and makes it easier to digest.
Chop the rest of the veggies and add them to the bowl.
Assemble the guacamole by smashing a ripe avocado and adding in diced red onion, parsley, lemon juice, and a pinch of salt and pepper.) Add to the salad bowl.
Add 2 lentil patties, defrosted
Top with pumpkin and sunflower seeds.
Combine dressing ingredients and drizzle over the top.