Quinoa & lentils

Quinoa and lentils: recipe and benefits, at the very heart of your health!

Quinoa and lentils are trendy subjects, maybe you’re asking yourself how to eat them, cook them, or even if they are healthy for you? Discover our recipes, our advice and our explanations about trendy and Belgian legumes!

 

Quinoa: virtues for joy, health and the planet

At EXKi, autumn is the season of joy. This year, we are loving local and organic. Throughout autumn, we escape the fields to discover an exceptional producer. In the kingdom of legumes, Isabelle truly is the queen.
 

A local and committed producer

A business owner, committed to organic, fair, and “Made in Belgium” crops, Isabelle Coupienne is our producer of lentils and quinoa. Her plan? To develop a 100% quality, sustainable, and organic sector. Hat’s off to her!

Isabelle is the co-founder of the Land, Farm & Men project: a community of farmers who share the same desire to defend sustainable, organic and fair farming. This project aims to manage organic farming land, while guaranteeing fair remuneration for producers. And this particularly goes for advising farmers: they support them in planting innovative crops. It’s in this way, that they have an interest in varieties which are hardly (or not at all) grown in Belgium. They want to develop a sustainable business for farmers with whom they work daily. So, they grow traditional crops to offer them a real project for the future.

She says it better than us, find out about Isabelle in her video:


 

How long has quinoa been grown in Belgium?

Of course, this approach involves rotating crops each year. This serves to improve the soil, quite simply. Farmers of the Land, Farm & Man project work on 10-year rotations. A year of quinoa, a year of ancient wheat, a year of lentils… Crops rotate therefore from one field to the other. This farming principle starts with the observation that each crop gives something different, useful for the earth for it to regenerate. Lentils, for example, give nitrogen to the soil, which will favour planting other crops the following year.
 

Quality on your plate

Quinoa is recognised for being good for your health. But, how can we be sure of the quality of the product we are consuming? It’s simple! Most importantly, it’s the variety. With lentils, they use, in particular, green Puy lentil, beluga and Champagne blonde. But, it’s especially the land which makes the difference. Belgian quinoa, for example, can easily be recognised, since it is darker than South American quinoa. With Isabelle, all crops are organic, not only to respect the quality charter, but also to ensure products which are excellent for your health.

Today, Land, Farm & Men is at the point of launching their first shared transformation workshop in Belgium, with an optical sorting line. What is that? It’s a machine which makes it possible to test the quality of the products, and in particular, their size. Belgian farmers therefore no longer need to leave the country to have their harvests sorted. This project brings together 20 farmers, experienced in organic farming, who fully adhere to the principle of Isabelle’s production. Rotations allow them to be very flexible depending on demand. They adapt varieties and quantities to their clients’ needs. This rotation technique allows them to offer the best products, but also to know, quite specifically, what will sell. It’s particularly thanks to this, that they can define a prior fixed price to the farmers. Indeed, a fair price for the producers means a lot to them, and they ensure a stable income for farmers by continuing with productions at a fixed price every year.

In order to ensure the best production as possible, farmers, of course, use all the traditional organic farming methods, in particular mechanical weeding. However, they use certain techniques and tools in order to make their work easier and to improve their yields, like for example GPS, tablets, drones, etc. Modern techniques are there to help them to offer the best quality as possible, and this quality is essential to guarantee a great future for farmers, as well as tasty products for consumers.

 

EXKi, cooking up nature: the reference brand for fast, healthy and sustainable food

 

At EXKi, we wanted to strengthen the local and organic aspect, and therefore the approach with farmers which have quality ingredients, suited us perfectly. That is why EXKi’s Kitchen Manager, Olivier Langlet, has really loved the Land, Farm & Man project. As soon as he knew there was the possibility to create recipes with organic and Belgian quinoa and lentils, he contacted these farmers straight away.

Why did we love this immediately? Because it’s the first Belgian quinoa, that it can be eaten in 1001 ways and that it’s the starting point for a fantastic global project!
 

And in our recipes, what does it give us?

To cut a long story short, this year at EXKi, we wanted to revisit quinoa and lentils in our recipes. The concept? The same, but locally and organically! On the menu this year, a challenge for the environment, and flavour to rediscover… Our promise? To make each recipe a joyous and tasty moment, by eating healthy and well.

At EXKi, we attach a great importance to sustainable development, that is why we are committed to reduce our ecological footprint through each of our projects. This first starts with what we are offering you on your plate.


 

Why eat local?

We want to benefit from products produced close to our consumers, in order to reduce what we call, “food miles”. We bet you don’t think a tomato could run a marathon! But, according to scientists, eating local is about consuming products which are located less than 500 kilometres from consumers. Firstly, it’s better for the environment, since by using local products, we reduce the distances travelled by foods, and therefore we contribute to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Plus, eating local, it’s also about eating seasonal produce, and respecting nature by avoiding inflicting specific and harmful treatments on it. Finally, this allows farmers to pick ripe food, and allows them to develop optimally. This guarantees the quality of the product, of being loaded with nutrients and vitamins, allows them to have a more beautiful colour and in particular, to be a lot tastier. Let’s not forget, that eating local, is about benefiting from food which grows next door, favouring the local producer process, gratifying their knowhow and supporting the local economy.
 

Organic and sustainable farming, it’s possible!

In the same sense, at EXKi, we favour products which come from organic and sustainable farming. Today, more than 30% of what we buy is certified as organic. In order to guarantee where organic products come from, we call upon Certisys, the main testing and certification body, which specialises in organic farming. We want to guarantee fresh, good and healthy products in our recipes and on your plates.

Organic products meet certain criteria, guaranteeing the quality of products. Food is developed under optimal conditions, without chemical, crop protection products. Everything is natural, from seed to picking, in order to guarantee the best taste and the best quality for the products. Organic farming uses natural means and fertilizers, in order to protect the soil. Also, products coming from sustainable farming meet certain criteria, guaranteeing the quality of products. Sustainable farming is the happy medium between productivity and environment. This food is developed under optimal conditions, with a sustainable and sensible use of fertilizers, in order to preserve the environment and to guarantee an optimal taste. In the same sense, this is beneficial for the soil and preserves our environment. Since the soil is not treated with harmful chemical products, it is not attacked and is in a good state of health. In other words, organic farming protects soil, but also water, which is a lot less used for organic farming than for traditional farming.

Isabelle, our lentils and quinoa producer, allows us to integrate quality, organic and Belgian products in our recipes. That is why we have called upon her and her farmers to offer you the best possible!
 

What are the virtues and benefits of quinoa and lentils?

In addition to being delicious for your taste buds and good for the environment, eating legumes is great for your health. They taste good, and also, they boost your immune system. Regarding nutrition, lentils and quinoa contain a quantity of high-quality proteins and many micronutrients. These are antioxidants, a source of fibre, iron, vitamins and minerals. These are filling products and lovely alternatives to gluten. Fill a small hole in the afternoon, and a gurgling stomach at 6pm.

That is why we have designed recipes from Belgian and seasonal legumes! Think about hot dishes, salads, full and balanced sandwiches… We’ve certainly thought about it!

Fish, mushrooms, onions, they marry up well with our legumes to perfection. This year, quinoa, it’s not a small player, but has taken on the main role in our recipes. As for lentils, we cook them, we trim them, we savour on our plates. It is so delicious, that we use them in our bread, too. A lentil bread, it’s beautiful and great!

Yes, lentils, they really are autumn’s divas. They colour the bread for our sandwiches, complete the nutritional levels on your plates, boost your immune system. Jackpot. With a very low glycaemic index, rich in iron, fibres and minerals, it’s the ideal ingredient in our recipes.

Pssst: Lentils, we have even invited them into our sweet pie. Accompanied with caramel, nuts and speculoos, they work wonders. On the gourmet scale, this sits very, very high.

Good for the environment, health, the taste buds, farmers, legumes are faultless.

You can find our recipes for all diets, vegetarian, gluten-free, vegan, etc. There’s something for all tastes! A real autumnal symphony to discover on your plate!