Tags Posts tagged with "lentils"


Photo from Pixabay

By Barbara Beltrami

Since it’s the New Year, since many of us are determined to counter the damages of holiday bingeing, since lentils are considered one of the five most healthful foods in the world and since they’re also inexpensive, I’m going with them for this first column of 2021. When I went to the internet to find out why they’re considered so healthful, I was quite impressed by what I found. Not only are they rich in protein and fiber, but they’re also rich in iron and vitamin B1. Note: Because the cooking times of lentils vary, I cannot give exact numbers Figure on anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour.

Lentil, Kale and Goat Cheese Salad

YIELD: Makes 4 servings


1 1/2 cups black or green lentils, soaked in cold water overnight or for several hours

4 scallions, white and green parts separated, and sliced

4 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled

1 lemon

1/3 to 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/2 cup unsalted peanuts, almonds, walnuts or cashews, chopped

1 tablespoon cumin

1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1/2 pound or one large bunch lacinato kale, washed, de-stemmed, chopped and massaged to soften

6 ounces crumbled goat cheese

1 cup pitted, coarsely  chopped black olives

Coarse salt to taste


Cook the lentils in boiling salted water until  al dente. Do not overcook. In a small skillet combine the white parts of the scallions, the garlic, three wide strips of lemon peel and the olive oil. Cook over medium heat, stirring a few times, until garlic starts to brown and lemon peel curls, about 3 minutes. Add nuts, cook and stir frequently another 3 minutes; remove from heat and stir in cumin and pepper flakes. 

Strain mixture into a small bowl; discard lemon peel and garlic but reserve oil; transfer  mixture to a large plate and spread out. Sprinkle with salt,  let sit until cool. In a large bowl combine kale, goat cheese, olives and green parts of scallions. Drain lentils and add to mixture. Toss with reserved cooled oil, juice of the lemon and salt to taste. Serve immediately with pita or flat bread.

Lentil-Leek Soup

YIELD: Makes 6 to 8 servings


1/4 cup olive oil

1 large leek, cleaned and sliced thin

1 cup chopped onion

1 large celery rib, cleaned and sliced thin

2 carrots, peeled and diced

3 garlic cloves, chopped

7 cups chicken, beef or veg. broth

1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves or 1 teaspoon dried

1 bay leaf

1 1/2 cups green or brown lentils

Salt and pepper

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar


In large saucepan heat oil over medium heat. Add leek, onions, celery, carrots and garlic. Reduce heat to low, cover and cook, stirring frequently until vegetables are golden, about 20 to 30 minutes. 

Add broth, thyme, bay leaf, lentils and salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and cover again; cooks until lentils are al dente; remove and discard bay leaf. Stir in vinegar and serve immediately with rustic bread and a green salad.

Baked Lentils with Chorizo

YIELD: Makes 6 servings


1/4 cup olive oil

1 large onion, chopped

1 celery rib,  chopped

1 large frying pepper, seeded, chopped

2 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled

Salt and pepper to taste

1 pound lentils cooked al dente in salted water

One 14-ounce can diced tomatoes with their juice

1 pound chorizo sausage, cut into 1 1/2 inch slices


Preheat oven to 375 F. Grease a large casserole or Dutch oven. Warm oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat; add onion, celery, pepper, garlic and salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, until onion and celery are translucent, pepper is a little soft, and garlic starts to brown; remove and discard garlic. Combine mixture with lentils and tomatoes in prepared casserole or Dutch oven and lay chorizo on top. Halfway through cooking, turn sausages. Bake until mixture is bubbly and sausages are brown on all sides, about 30 to 40 minutes. Serve hot with rice and a green vegetable or salad.

Lentil Soup

By Barbara Beltrami

Lentils may not be the most attractive foods when cooked, but they do pack a powerful nutritional and delicious wallop. Low in fat and high in protein and fiber, they are a staple of many Asian cuisines.

When I looked them up in my old cookbooks, they often were absent. However, in my newer and more recent cookbooks, they occupy a whole column in the indexes, a gift of the many immigrants and ethnicities that have become a part of our American culture.

I would venture to say that lentils are one of the go-to elements for ethnic as well as vegetarian recipes and are an ideal addition to anyone’s pantry for a quick-cooking, tasty and nourishing dish that welcomes and complements other flavors. From the familiar greenish-tan ones to tiny green Puy lentils to red (actually salmon pink) lentils, with many other varieties along the spectrum, their mild earthy flavor has captured many a palate.

Lentil Salad with Tomatoes and Herbs

Lentil Salad with Tomatoes and Herbs

YIELD: Makes 4 servings


1 cup green Puy or black beluga lentils, rinsed

2 teaspoons salt

1 large garlic clove, minced

12 ounces fresh tomatoes, chopped

²/3 cup thinly sliced scallions

1 handful fresh dill, chopped

¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

DIRECTIONS: Fill a large saucepan with one quart cold water; add lentils, garlic and two teaspoons salt and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, until lentils are just tender, about 20 minutes. Drain and transfer to a large bowl. Toss hot lentils with tomatoes, scallions, dill, oil and vinegar. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot or warm with lamb or chicken and tossed green salad.

Lentil Soup

Lentil Soup

YIELD: Makes 8 to 10 servings


2 cups lentils

9 cups cold water

Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

1 large onion, chopped

2 ribs celery, sliced thin

2 carrots, peeled and diced

1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves or 1 teaspoon dried

1 bay leaf

½ teaspoon sugar

2 to 3 tablespoons wine vinegar

Juice of one lemon

DIRECTIONS: Place lentils in a large pot and cover with the 9 cups water; add salt and pepper, onion, celery, carrot, thyme, bay leaf and sugar. Bring to a boil and simmer 45 minutes or until lentils are tender. Remove bay leaf and discard. Scoop out 2 to 3 cups of the lentil and vegetable mixture and puree in a food processor. Return puree to remaining soup, stir and bring back to a boil. Stir in vinegar, a tablespoon at a time, until just a hint of its flavor is evident. Serve hot with cucumber salad and hearty bread.

Red Lentil Curry

Red Lentil Curry

YIELD: Makes 4 servings


¼ cup vegetable oil

2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 bunch scallions, trimmed and sliced

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon curry powder

2 cups diced carrots

1 sweet potato, peeled and diced

1 cup red lentils

4 cups vegetable or chicken broth

Salt and pepper, to taste

1 handful fresh chives, chopped or sliced

DIRECTIONS: In a large saucepan heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add ginger, garlic and scallions and cook, stirring frequently, until softened, about 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the curry powder, carrots, sweet potato, lentils, broth and salt and pepper. Stir, bring to a boil, then simmer until lentils and veggies are tender, about 15 to 20 minutes. Sprinkle with chives. Serve hot with naan bread and rice.