Matthew: In addition to making stews, I like to make lentil dishes in the winter. One of my favorites is Lentil Dal, an Indian dish seasoned with cumin, chili powder, turmeric, and curry powder. The spiciness of the lentils is nicely complemented with yogurt and cilantro. I would recommend turning on your stove exhaust fan before you add the spices to the hot oil. I waited until they had been in the oil for a bit and my apartment was engulfed in a haze of spice that stuck around for several days. It was worth it for how good the lentils were.
Matthew: This dish is what results when I’m not quite sure what I want for dinner. First, I head to the Willy Street Co-op and look for vegetables that look good. This week, I found some golden beets. I supplemented those with a sweet potato and some turnips. At home, I roasted all the veggies with some olive oil and then thought about making them more exciting. I hadn’t made a curry in a while, so I used some hot curry spices and tossed in a can of crushed fire-roasted tomatoes. I was going to eat it with brown rice, but I ran out of time and found some french green lentils instead. It’s not anything spectacular, but it’s a good, healthy dinner.
Matthew: I wanted to make something healthy for dinner, so I went to the Willy Street Coop and just started getting good things that I thought might go together. My grocery list included 3 beets, 2 parsnips, an onion, a can of roasted tomato sauce, and French green lentils. At home I also had some vegetable stock, some red wine, and some herbs and seasonings (fennel, basil, oregano, salt, pepper). The result was strikingly scarlet and really delicious! I simmered the ingredients for about an hour, so the beets could cook and everything could meld together. This is the first time I’ve used French green lentils and they turned out to be really good. They are a bit more refined than those other lentils. I liked this dish so much that I ate it for lunch and dinner yesterday. I will definitely be making something like this again.
Matthew: I decided to take Giada De Laurentiis’ basic marinara sauce, which I’ve made several times before, and make it a little more substantial by adding some butternut squash. The sauce is really easy to make–just sauté some onions, garlic, carrots, and celery in a pot, then add tomatoes and let it simmer. I always use Muir Glen fire roasted diced tomatoes when making this. The tomatoes are so much more flavorful than regular ones. I just threw in half a butternut squash, diced, with the tomatoes and while the sauce was simmering I chopped up the other half and baked it in the oven with some apples, brown sugar, spices, and a little apple cider. That made a nice, simple dessert. Below is a picture of the marinara sauce served over lentils. It was very good!
Matthew: This is, by far, the tastiest and healthiest recipe I’ve made in a long time. It is a mixture of brown rice, lentils, and green beans with a sauce (or pistou, as it’s called) made of walnuts, mint, basil, lemon juice, garlic, and olive oil. I found the recipe on the Sprouted Kitchen blog and made a few adjustments based on what ingredients I could find. The recipe calls for asparagus, which I’m sure would have been good, but green beans were on special, so I decided to use them instead. I also substituted brown lentils for the black beluga lentils which I couldn’t find anywhere in the city of Madison (I went to three different grocery stores!). But the dish turned out great with what I used. The combination of hearty grains, slightly-crunchy green beans, and a herb/garlic mixture lead to a very satisfying meal. I would definitely make this again.
Matthew: I’ve made recipes with other kinds of lentils before, but never with red lentils. I had the idea to make a curried soup with them after seeing a friend at work having a store-bought version. I sort of made up my own recipe, looking at a few online recipes, like this, to get ideas. I started by sauteing a bunch green onions (only the white parts) in ~1 tablespoon olive oil for a few minutes before adding 1 large clove of garlic, minced. After about a minute, I added a heaping teaspoon of hot curry powder and 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric. Then, I added a quart of chicken stock, a quart of water, and 2 1/2 cups of rinsed red lentils (rinsing is apparently very important). I brought it to a boil and let it simmer for ~45 minutes. Towards the end, I added some salt and the green part of the green onions. To thicken the soup, I ladled a portion into the blender and pureed it. I thought it turned out very well. It’s nice and spicy with the curry powder. Now, I just need some good bread to eat with it.
Jillpickle: This weekend, I made a tasty recipe from Cooking Light: Creamy Lentil Soup. I changed a few things in the recipe. I added celery, garlic, 1/2 teaspoon of smoked paprika, more chicken broth and 2 bay leaves. I did not add the milk since it tasted just fine without it. I also made popovers to go with it. A good, comforting meal in all!
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