All about the lentils

Don’t you know that I’m all about the lentils, ’bout the lentils… Oh, sorry.
Recently, I’ve been trying to make lots more lentil dishes. Lentils are full of good protein, fiber and other happy healthy stuff and are super duper cheap. We have been trying recently to eat more veggies and cut down on meat (for both health reasons and cost reasons), so I’ve found a number of really flavorful lentil dishes that are quite easy to make.

The first was a dish my college roommate recently made for me since we had just had a new baby. I enjoyed it so much, I asked for the recipe and in turn made it for us as well as my neighbor who also had recently had a baby. So maybe it’s just great postpartum food, but I think we’d like it anytime.

The second I found while doing a Google search for lentils and squash (since we had a number of fresh in-season squashes and zucchinis from our local farm to use). What I found is an amazingly flavorful Lebanese. Hope you enjoy!

Lentilles du Puy with Roasted Carrots and Beets from Saveur

You can either use true “lentilles du Puy” (from France, likely found at Whole Food bulk section) or just any green lentil. I went to Sprouts for my plain old green variety.

3 small beets, peeled and diced
1 large carrot, peeled and diced
4 shallots, peeled and halved
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 sprigs fresh parsley
2 sprigs fresh thyme
salt and freshly ground black pepper
3/4 pound lentilles du Puy, or other french-style green lentils
3 tbsp sherry vinegar (also really good with balsamic vinegar)
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place beets, carrots, shallots, and 1/2 cup oil in a medium roasting pan. Stir to coat vegetables evenly with oil. Add parsley and thyme, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring once, until vegetables begin to brown, about 20 minutes. Add lentils and 3 cups of water, stir, then cover pan with foil. Cook until lentils are tender and all water is absorbed, about 1 hour. (The water tends to evaporate pretty quickly here in Colorado, so you may need to add some extra.)

2. Remove pan from oven. Remove and discard herb springs, then dress lentils with vinegar and remaining oil. Allow to cool slightly, then stir in chopped parsley. Adjust seasoning and serve.

Variation (from Saveur, I’ve never tried this!):
Different vegetables and dressings can be used for this salad. For instance, roast 2 cups peeled small pearl onions for 20 minutes. Dice celery stalks. Add celery stalks and lentils to onions with 3 cups water, cover and continue roasting. Meanwhile, mix 3 tsp fresh lemon juice with 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil in a small bowl. Stir in 1 minced peeled garlic clove and 2 tsp finely chopped thyme. When lentils are tender and liquid has been absorbed, toss with dressing. Adjust seasoning and serve.

lentils with beets and carrots

Lentil and Bulgur pilaf with green and yellow squash

I used the recipe from food.com and noticed they never said how to cut the squash, so I sliced it in half length-wise and then in roughly 1/4 inch wedges cross-wise. I personally would have added more squash and zucchini, so will likely do that next time.

4 cups fat-free chicken broth or 4 cups vegetable broth
1 cup medium grain bulgur (coarse grain also works)
1 cup brown lentils, rinsed and picked over (I used green since I couldn’t find brown, and it worked just fine)
1 medium onion, coarse chopped
1 bay leaf
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
1⁄2 teaspoon allspice
1⁄2 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground works best
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small zucchini (cut in half length-wise and then in 1/4 inch wedges cross-wise). I would personally recommend more zucchini than this.
1 small yellow squash (cut in half length-wise and then in 1/4 inch wedges cross-wise). I would personally recommend more squash than this.
1 garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon lemon zest, finely grated
1 1⁄2 tablespoons parsley, chopped
1 tablespoon cilantro, chopped
lemon wedge (for garnish)

In a large saucepan, mix together the broth, lentils, onion, bay leaf, salt allspice and pepper and bring to boil over medium heat. Reduce to low, cover and simmer 10 minutes.
Add Bulgar and simmer and cook an additional 25 minutes until the lentils and bulgur are tender. I ended up needing to add additional water since it cooked off quicker than I expected.
Remove from heat and stir in the lemon juice.
Meanwhile, in a nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add zucchini and squash and cook 2 minutes. Add garlic and lemon zest and cook an additional 3 minutes until the squash are tender.
Stir in parsley and cilantro. Taste and season with salt and pepper as desired.
Mix the squash into the bulgur and lentil pilaf.
Serve hot with lemon wedges.
lentils and bulgar wheat pilaf

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One thought on “All about the lentils

  1. Pingback: Recipes to Make for a New Mom | Denver Metro Moms Blog

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