Lovely Lentils

by Kelly · 10 comments

in Frugal Food

I love lentils. They’re cheap, easy to prepare, adaptable to most cuisines and good for you. What could be better? Oh, and they’re good served hot in the winter and cold in the summer. Yum!

In the winter I like to make a simple, but fragrant lentil soup: start the lentils cooking, then add chopped onion, garlic if I have it, chopped carrots, some lardons (kind of like chopped up fatty bacon), celery if it hasn’t gone bad, and maybe a potato or two. Served with rustic, crusty French bread (possibly the best thing about living in France is the bread), it makes a delicious dinner- and wonderful lunch the next day.

Summer time, my favorite lentil dish is cold lentils with a mustard & red wine vinegar sauce. I love the simplicity of it!

Here are some of my favorite lentil dishes:

The above recipes are from All Recipes. The following are from the fabulous Smitten Kitchen, who is my go-to-food goddess.

I think sometimes that the most frugal foods are the most adaptable. Not only are they the base ingredient for many different cultural culinary traditions, but they’re like sponges that soak up flavor. I mean, really- fois gras always tastes about the same, no matter how you prepare it, but lentils (or potatoes, or rice, or pasta, or, or, or…). Yum!

Unfortunately for me, despite my best efforts, my husband is not a fan of lentils, due to too many bland school lunch plates adorned with an overly-watery, under-seasoned, canned version of the stuff. My kids love it, however, and so he’s just learned to groan whenever I serve him lentils and fill up on bread and cheese…which isn’t such a cross to bear if you think about it!

Lentils: love ‘em or leave ‘em? What’s your favorite lentil dish?

{ 10 comments }

1 Cassie April 14, 2011

Love em! I love lentils cooked down and pureed into a good soup with chicken stock, carrots, onions and seasonings :)

2 Kelly April 15, 2011

I’ve never pureed them…that’s a good idea!

3 Isabel April 14, 2011

oh my husband does not like lentils either but i love them. The only ‘lentil dish’ he will eat is lentil burger because it does not taste like lentil lol

4 Kelly April 15, 2011

Lentil burgers- yummy!

5 Liora April 14, 2011

I’m intimidated by lentils and don’t really know how to cook them, either. Is there a lentil dish that’s best for people who don’t like them or aren’t used to them?

6 Kelly April 15, 2011

Lentils are easy! You don’t need to presoak them before cooking, just to rinse them really well. Then throw them in a pot with lots of water and choose the set of seasonings you want according to the kind of soup you’re making…bay leaves and celery for italian style, curry powder for Indian…

7 Frances April 14, 2011

I love lentils! We just had lentil shepherd’s pie for dinner. I also love dal, or Indian spiced lentils. And Ethiopian Lentil Bowl from the Simply in Season cookbook (there’s a modified version on my blog).

8 Kelly April 15, 2011

Off to check it out! Thanks.

9 Carolina April 17, 2011

OMG! I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE lentils! I am a vegan too so lentils aren’t just tasty little pellets of divine goodness for me, they are essential in their nutrients! Oh So Yum! :D I am drooling! I usually make a giant pot of lentil soup then freeze individual portions for lunches. If I don’t have time to make lunch one day, grab a container from the freezer and off I go! Mmmmm Split peas work much in the same way and taste SO delicious! One of the tricks to making that much more delicious? About 1/2 hour before you take the soup off the stove, saute an onion until browned (caramelized) then stir into the soup, cook for 5-10 minutes. Always serve my soups with a splash of olive oil right before serving! NOW I AM HUNGRY!

10 Méla April 24, 2011

I have a recipe for an Italian lentil tomato soup with spinach that is so-o-o good we actually ate a whole pot one time in the course of an evening! Other great thing is that if you have the ingredients on hand it takes no time–20 minutes start to finish and is “fancy” enough to serve to company.

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