If you would have asked me last week how I feel about lentils, I would have told you that I hate them. No, not a mere dislike. Hate. Why? I have no idea. I must have tried them at some point in my childhood, but I don’t remember a specific meal. All I know is that when I saw them in the grocery store I felt like wrinkling up my nose and sticking out my tongue.
Then last year a friend of mine hosted a lunch and served (among other things) a Warm Lentil Salad. Guess what? I tried it and I didn’t die. Instead, I loved it. It was delicious! Bring on the lentils, baby!
Lentils are legumes, but cook a whole lot faster than your average dried bean. They don’t need to be soaked, just rinsed (look them over to check for small rocks) and cooked. Lentils are low in fat, are an excellent source of protein and are high in iron, zinc and calcium. They are also a great source of fiber. This superfood would be a great addition to your long-term pantry (a.k.a. food storage). Store them in an airtight container and in a cool, dry place.
In the photo above, the lentils on the left are your typical grocery store brand brown lentil. They are inexpensive and easy to find, however they can get mushy if you over cook them. The lentils on the right are a french green lentil. I tracked these down in our local Sunflower Markets, and I bet a Whole Foods-type market would carry them as well. They were in a bulk bin, which was nice because I could purchase just what I needed for this one recipe. That’s a great way to go if you’re not sure your family will fully embrace lentils.
A few days ago we tried a really yummy lentil soup. It’s a recipe I found online from one of my favorite sources: Ina Garten’s page on foodnetwork.com. It’s called Lentil Vegetable Soup and it’s a great soup for a snowy winter evening. I took her original recipe and cut it in half to make 4 large servings. Both Mr. DoM and I decided that we would like it a little more soupy next time so I’ll add more of the chicken stock and tomato paste. I also think some chunks of tomatoes would be great so I’ll add some of those in as well. The recipe suggests serving this with some fresh grated Parmesan, but I preferred it without.
This was great the next day for lunch and I imagine that it would freeze beautifully as well – if you are so inclined to make a large batch, eat some now and freeze some for later. I did read somewhere that lentils can be frozen for up to 6 months, but reheat them carefully or they may fall apart and become mushy.
So now that I know I like lentils, I’m searching for more recipes! Do you have one your family loves that you wouldn’t mind sharing?