Four Vancouver restaurants are making lentils fun in June

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Lentils at Forage (Lindsay William-Ross/Vancity Buzz)

The mighty Canadian lentil is enjoying a global popularity right now, and during the month of June restaurants across the country are celebrating this healthy ingredient, including four in Vancouver.

The lentil loving is happening as part of the FUNdeLENTIL tour, which is taking place in seven Canadian cities. Restaurants were selected to each create a lentil-centric dish to showcase on their menu, and diners are encouraged to try as many as they can and vote for their favourite.

Four high-profile Vancouver restaurants are having fun with lentils this month: Fable, Forage, Campagnolo, and Café Medina. All of these popular and much-loved restaurant are known for their thoughtful cooking, celebrated chefs, and commitment to locally-sourced ingredients served with flavour and integrity.

At Fable, chef Trevor Bird is dishing up a hearty lentil and chorizo ragout gracing a celery root puree and cradling a poached egg and a frisee salad.

Trevor Bird (Photo courtesy Fable)

SEE ALSO: Chef Trevor Bird talks Fable, farmers and fame

In the West End at Forage chef Chris Whittaker is serving a beautiful warm-weather lentil and spring veggie salad “Biryana,” (think Indian spices) and accompanied with raita and pickled mustard seed.

Diners at Campagnolo on Main can order chef Nathan Lowey’s delectable, supple lentil croquette, in which is tucked a rich nugget of foie gras.

Lentil "cassoulet" at Café Medina (Lindsay William-Ross/Vancity Buzz)

Lentil “cassoulet” at Café Medina (Lindsay William-Ross/Vancity Buzz)

At downtown’s bustling Café Medina, chef (and Vancity Buzz columnist) Jonathan Chovancek has created a complex and satisfying Turkish-style cassoulet with lentils, roasted chicken thighs, poached egg, with refreshing and tangy pickled veggies and soft foccacia bread.

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SEE ALSO: How green is my restaurant? The future of sustainable dining

All of the Vancouver dishes speak to the diverse ways lentils can be prepared, spanning international cuisines and all sorts of applications for all sorts of appetites. The dishes also make use of the four kinds of lentils on the market: Green, Red, French Green/Dupuy, and Black/Beluga.

A few lentil facts:

  • Don’t call them a bean! Lentils are a kind of “pulse,” which is the edible seeds of legumes.
  • Lentils are one of the oldest cultivated plants in human history, dating back 20,000 years.
  • Currently Canada is the world’s largest exporter of lentils.
  • Saskatchewan is the leading lentil-producing province in Canada.

The FUNdeLENTIL voting period is open until June 30, 2015.

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Lindsay William-Ross Lindsay is a Senior Editor at Vancity Buzz, and currently runs the site's Food section. A fourth generation Vancouverite, she spent the last two decades in Los Angeles, where she was EIC of the city's top blog, earned her MA, attended culinary school, and was an English professor (among other things). Lindsay's first published piece was December 1980 in The Province; it was her letter to Santa. E-mail: lindsay@vancitybuzz.com
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