Lentils

20 April 2022

Lentils are a round, disk-shaped legume. As more people are switching to a plant-based diet, lentils are a good source of vegetable protein. They have the advantage of not needing a presoak and cook quicker than dried beans. They are often included in hearty soups but can be found in casseroles and salads. You will find them in the dried beans/rice area of your supermarket. They come in different varieties which offer choices in texture and, therefore, uses.

Shepherd’s Pie

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups vegetable broth, divided
  • ½ cup dry lentils
  • ¼ cup pearl barley
  • 1 large carrot, diced
  • ½ onion, finely chopped
  • ½ cup walnuts, coarsely chopped, optional
  • 3 potatoes, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon water
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • In a large saucepan over medium-low heat, combine 1 1/4 cups broth, lentils and barley. Simmer for 30 minutes.
  • In a medium saucepan combine remaining 3/4 cup broth, carrot, onion and walnuts; cook until tender, about 15 minutes.
  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add potatoes and cook until tender but still firm, about 15 minutes. Drain and mash.
  • Combine flour and water and stir into carrot mixture; simmer until thickened. Combine carrot mixture with lentil mixture and season with salt and pepper. Pour mixture into a 2 quart casserole dish. Spoon mashed potatoes over lentil mixture.
  • Bake in preheated 350 degree preheated oven until lightly browned on top, about 30 minutes.

Lentil-Smothered Greens on Fried Bread

This is nice for a snack or as a party appetizer.

Ingredients:

  • ⅔ cup plus 2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil; plus more for serving
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 fennel bulb, finely chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, 3 smashed, 1 left whole
  • ¾ tsp. crushed red pepper flakes, optional
  • 1½ tsp. smoked paprika, plus more for serving
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • ½ cup red split lentils
  • 2 bunches hardy greens (spinach, kale, and/or Swiss chard), stems removed, leaves torn into large pieces
  • 1 lemon, halved
  • 4 thick slices country-style bread

Directions:

  • Warm ⅔ cup oil in a large Dutch oven or other heavy pot over medium heat. Add onion, fennel, celery, and smashed garlic and cook, stirring often, until softened but not browned, 8–10 minutes. Add red pepper flakes, 1½ tsp. paprika, and 1 tsp. salt and stir to combine. Add lentils and 1¼ cups water and stir again, scraping down sides of pot so that all of the lentils are submerged. Lay greens on top of liquid, but do not stir or toss them in. Cover pot, reduce heat to medium-low, and cook until lentils are just cooked through and greens are wilted, 10–15 minutes.
  • Uncover pot and stir mixture a few times to coat greens. Simmer until most of the liquid is evaporated and lentils are saucy (not brothy), about 2 minutes. Squeeze juice of a lemon half into lentils. Taste and season with more salt if needed. Cover and keep warm.
  • Heat 1 Tbsp. oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-low. Add 2 slices of bread and cook until golden and crisp underneath, about 5 minutes. Transfer to plates and turn fried side up. Repeat with 1 Tbsp. oil and remaining bread. Rub fried side of each slice with remaining whole garlic clove; season with salt.
  • Generously spoon lentil mixture over toast; drizzle with oil and lightly sprinkle with more paprika. Cut remaining lemon half into wedges and serve alongside to squeeze if desired.

     

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