Thursday, February 11, 2010

The wonderful world of lentils

So, this is the way my kitchen looked today:

In the front left pot, there was lentil soup; in the front right, rice to make J some rice milk (another post for another day); back left were sweet potatoes for J's lunch, and in the oven I was roasting a chicken. All in a day's work. ;) I'll just focus on the soup for this post.

In order to cut down my grocery bill for the month, I have decided (much to my husband's dismay) that we will have at least one vegetarian dish each week. I don't know about the rest of your significant others, but my husband is all about meat at every meal, preferably red. He doesn't realize that there can be too much of a good thing. Anyway, I digress...

In came the lentils. I had never tried lentils before. I bought a 16 oz bag of Goya lentils that were in my local Stop & Shop for about $1. I searched for a recipe using lentils because, as many of us do, I originally bought these for another recipe that I never made. I found a recipe for lentil soup...this time of year is great for soup, right? I found a good one on (if you haven't been to this website, you need to check it out). With the ingredients listed, it would cost between $.80 and $1 per serving (best I could figure). Not bad!

Here's the original recipe:
  • 1 tablespoon peanut oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger root
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 1 pinch fenugreek seeds
  • 1 cup dry red lentils
  • 1 cup butternut squash - peeled, seeded, and cubed
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 (14 ounce) can coconut milk
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper
  • 1 pinch ground nutmeg
  • salt and pepper to taste
1. Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat, and cook the onion, ginger, garlic, and fenugreek until onion is tender.
2. Mix the lentils, squash, and cilantro into the pot. Stir in the water, coconut milk, and tomato paste. Season with curry powder, cayenne pepper, nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer 30 minutes, or until lentils and squash are tender.

I used sweet potato instead of squash, powdered ginger, extra garlic, no fenugreek, no cilantro (didn't have any and knew it would go bad before I used the rest), chicken broth in place of the water and probably used more like 3 cups, 3/4 can of lite coconut milk, extra curry powder and cayenne, and added probably 10 shredded baby carrots (I only use recipes as guidelines. ;)). I simmered it for more like an hour because I kept messing with the spices and the liquid until it tasted just right. Once it was done, it was delicious!!!!

Okay, it may not look delicious, but it really was. I still feel like it might be missing a little something. One of the reviews on allrecipes recommended adding portabella mushrooms. That might help, but the flavor was great. I definitely recommend this recipe...I'll let you know if my husband would. :)

Do you have a favorite lentil recipe? Please share! :)


  1. Love it! Can't wait to see what else you write about :-)

  2. Sounds great! Will pop back & share a recipe soon! for now, thought you may enjoy this post by a blogger that I read frequently:

  3. I love cooking with lentils...they are so hearty and a great vegetarian dish for our meat eating hubbies :) This recipe looks yummy. I am making an Indian lentil and rice dish tonight that I will post soon and another sausage, lentil and spinach dish I make all the time for Matt...I can send that one to you.

  4. My girls love lentil sloppy joes, even DH likes it better than regular sloppy joes (and we make them in the crockpot). A tip for cilantro, if you are going to have more than you will use, chop it up (by hand or in the food processor) add a dash of lime and a dash of sea salt, fit into ice cube trays, freeze until solid and then transfer to a ziplock bag. Pop into soups and even guacamole. This can be done with almost any fresh herb, chop up and (add oil if you like and freeze for later use).

  5. TreeHugginMomma - I may just have to borrow that sloppy joe recipe! I always am looking for easy crockpot recipes that I can make for the nights that I get home late. And what a great tip for the herbs! Thanks so much!!!!