I know a lot of people aren’t that familiar with lentils in the US, but coming from a Peruvian home lentils were on the dinner table at least once a week. I absolutely love those little round legumes. They are so tasty and pack a ton of protein (third highest of legumes/nuts), vitamins, and essential amino acids – they really are a super food! Being able to eat something healthy that tastes amazing is a major score for vegans – and non-vegans alike!
There are a lot of different colored lentils, and some are better for certain recipes than others, with slightly different flavors. Brown lentils are “earthy” flavored and the most commonly used, green lentils have a slightly “peppery” flavor and stay slightly firm after cooking, and then red lentils have a more “nutty” and sweet flavor and get very soft after cooking, these are also commonly used in Indian/curry dishes.
I personally like the green lentils best, that way I don’t have super mushy lentils But if you’re going to make a soup the brown or red lentils are the way to go! If you’ve never cooked with lentils before, fear not – they are easy to cook, easy to season, and keep well in the fridge! A great food to make ahead and keep for left overs Also they can be eaten as a main course or a side, and added as a component to lots of other dishes (lentil wrap anyone?)!
Here is my favorite lentil recipe (my grandmother’s!) that is easy to make and absolutely delicious!
Makes 4-6 Servings
2 Cups Green or Brown Lentils
1/2 Large Yellow Onion, diced small
Goya Adobo All Purpose Seasoning *Sub for Adobo: Garlic Salt, Oregano, Salt, Pepper
Salt & Pepper (If desired in addition to Adobo)
*Some lentils require soaking overnight or for several hours before cooking, just like beans. Some lentils do not, please be sure to read the packaging before cooking.*
1. Rinse lentils well.
2. In a large sauce pan, pour in cleaned lentils and fill with enough water so that the lentils are covered with “one finger” more water than lentils. (Yes, that is how my grandmother measures!) **Do not add any seasoning! Seasoning will stop the lentils from cooking!
3. Set the pot on the stove on high to boil, and cover. Once lentils are boiling, reduce heat to medium/high for a strong simmer and allow lentils to cook until tender (20-40 minutes). Be sure to check the lentils and stir, making sure that you still have water and lentils do not stick. Lentils will be soft once cooked, there should be nothing crunchy!
4. Once the lentils are soft, drain water into a bowl and set aside and remove sauce pan with lentils from heat.
5. In a small saute pan pour a touch of olive oil and brown diced onions. Add some seasonings to onions for flavor.
6. Once onions are browned (not burnt ) add them to the lentils and mix. Add seasoning to taste.
7. Put lentils with onions and seasoning back on low/medium heat, and add water that was previously set aside tablespoon by tablespoon until you have just enough water to simmer without burning the lentils.
8. Allow lentils to simmer for 10-12 additional minutes, adding seasoning to taste. Add water in by tablespoons as needed, just to allow lentils not to burn – don’t add too much or you’ll get soupy lentils!
Once the lentils are done simmering with seasoning they are ready to enjoy! I love lentils with white rice and a side of sliced avocado, or wrapped in a tortilla with tomatoes! My favorite though is to just eat a bowl of lentils with a slice or two of french bread to scoop them up
I hope you enjoy these lentils as much as my family does