Lentil Recipes

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Mudjadara (Lentils, Rice & Crispy Sweet Onions)

Puy_lentils_wooden_bowl2 cups brown lentils
1 cup basmati rice
1 large onion, thinly sliced into rings
3 garlic cloves, sliced
1/2 cup olive oil
Sea salt
Fresh lemon juice

STEPS:
Cook lentils in 7 cups water for 25 minutes.
Add basmati rice to the same pot and cook 15 to 20 minutes, testing to check for tenderness.
While the lentils and rice are cooking, fry onion rings and garlic in olive oil until crispy and brown, 12 to 15 minutes.
Season to taste with sea salt.
Remove the onion rings from the oil and set aside.
Squeeze fresh lemon juice on the lentils and rice, season to taste with sea salt, and stir in the oil left over from frying the onions.
Make sure the lemon juice and oil are well incorporated, remove to a large bowl or platter, and garnish with the fried onions.
Serve immediately.

Makes 4 ample and 8 small servings

Lentil Soup

3 slices bacon (optional but highly recommended)
1 leek, diced
2 carrots, diced
1 celery stick, diced
1/2 onion, diced
2 cups lentils (any variety)
6 cups stock or water
2 smoky pork sausages
1 Tbsp butter
Sea salt

STEPS:
Sauté bacon with a combination of leek, carrots, celery stick, and onion until soft and fragrant.
Add lentils to the pan, cover with stock or water, and simmer until tender, about 40 minutes, depending on the variety.
Taste often and add water, if needed.
While the lentils cook, brown pork sausages in butter, add water, and cook through, covered.
The sausages and soup will be finished at about the same time.
Drain the water from the sausages and add them, sliced in rounds, to the soup pot.
Season to taste with sea salt.
Continue to cook until everything is tender and heated through, about 10 minutes.

Makes 8 servings

French Lentil Salad

2 cups green lentils
1 bay leaf
2 sprigs fresh thyme
1 onion, finely diced
1 carrot, finely diced
1 celery stick or fennel bulb, finely diced
1/2 cup olive oil
1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 shallot, finely minced
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

STEPS:
Cover lentils with 6 cups water.
Add a bay leaf and fresh thyme and simmer until tender, about 45 minutes.
Meanwhile, sauté onion, carrot, and celery stick in 1/4 cup olive oil.
Make a vinaigrette by whisking together 1/4 cup olive, red wine vinegar, Dijon mustard, and minced shallot.
Toss the warm lentils with the vinaigrette, add the sautéed veggies, and toss well to combine.
Season well with sea salt and pepper.
Serve the salad warm or at room temperature, with everything from leftover roast chicken to a crusty baguette.

Makes 8 servings

Common Lentil Varieties

Green lentils are green-brown and include the French lentil du Puy, the caviar of lentils. The dark green du Puy are prized for their uniquely nutty peppery flavor. They hold their shape beautifully and remain firm when cooked.

Egyptian or red lentils have been hulled and split, which means they are smaller and cook more quickly. They can be used interchangeably with salmon-pink lentils and yellow lentils, or pigeon peas. When cooked, they have a sweet, nutty flavor and turn into golden mush.

Brown lentils (sometimes called European lentils) can be found in a range of colors from khaki to gray-brown to the black beluga lentil named for its resemblance to beluga caviar. Brown lentils are mild, with a pleasantly earthy flavor, and have a seed coat that is intact, which means that they hold their shape well when cooked.

Recipes by Ellen Jackson

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