Lentil Hummus

Lentil Hummus

Lentils are a great protein source. They are inexpensive and can be prepared in a variety of ways. Their creamy texture makes them an excellent alternative to chickpeas when making hummus.

There are many different types of lentils, so you can use your favorite for this recipe. I almost always have brown lentils on hand, so that is what I use. Red lentils would be perfect too.

Lentil hummus is great as a dip with pita bread or chips and/or fresh veggies. It is also wonderful as a spread for veggie wraps or sandwiches. I like it on a flour tortilla with lettuce, tomato, cucumber, and black olives.

Lentil Hummus

1 cup dried lentils (your favorite kind), picked over and rinsed
at least 2 cups water
1 clove garlic, chopped
2 tablespoons tahini
2 tablespoons olive oil
juice of 1 lemon
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper (optional)

Cook lentils (according to package directions) in the water until they are very tender, almost mushy. The cooking times will vary depending on the type of lentil you are using. The brown lentils I used took about 35 minutes. You may need to add water to the lentils as they cook. Keep an eye of them. Towards the end of cooking, season the lentils to taste with salt. Once done, take the lentils off the heat and drain off excess cooking liquid. Let the lentils cool.

In a food processor, blend the cooked lentils, garlic, tahini, olive oil, lemon juice, cumin, and cayenne until very smooth. You may need to add a little water, about 1 tablespoon at time, to help blend the mixture. I let the food processor run for several (4 – 5) minutes, stopping occasionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl and check the consistency of the lentil hummus. Blend in the desired amount of salt. Taste the hummus and adjust the seasonings, if necessary.


Mexican Lentil Soup

Mexican Lentil Soup

I love this time of the year, when summer is changing over to fall. The days are starting to get cooler and the air is a little crisper. The air conditioner is not running non-stop and there is a little chill in the air when you wake up in the morning. It’s a perfect time for soup and this one is wonderful. It is a flavorful and filling soup that comes in at around 76 calories per 1 cup serving.

Mexican Lentil Soup

Mexican Lentil Soup

1 tablespoon canola oil
1 onion, diced
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes (I like to use petite diced)
1/2 cup dried lentils, picked over and rinsed
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
7 cups vegetable broth
1 medium zucchini, diced
salt and pepper, to taste
1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped

In a soup pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions, celery, and carrots. Cook until the vegetables are tender. Add the minced garlic and cook 1 minute longer. Add the jalapeno, diced tomatoes and their juices, dried lentils, cumin, coriander, and vegetable broth. Bring to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes. Add the zucchini and cook until the lentils are tender, 10 to 20 minutes. Season the soup with salt and pepper. Stir in the chopped cilantro and serve.

Curried Lentils with Chickpeas and Okra

Curried Lentils with Chickpeas and Okra

This is a quick and easy meal that is perfect for weeknights. It’s spicy, vegan, and packed with protein and fiber. It’s also appropriate for LID (low iodine diet), which I will have to go back on in March to prepare for a nuclear whole body scan.

Curried Lentils with Chickpeas and Okra

2 tablespoons oil
1 onion, quartered and sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup okra, sliced (fresh or frozen)
1 14.5 ounce can chickpeas, drained
1 cup lentils, picked over and rinsed
1 jalapeno, seeded and minced (optional)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon curry powder (I used Madras)
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
3/4 teaspoon Kosher salt (or to taste)
3 cups water
Fresh cilantro, chopped

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions and saute until tender. Add the garlic and jalapenos and cook another minute. Add the remaining ingredients and bring to boil. Reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring often, until the lentils are tender, about 20 minutes. You may have to add a little more water if the mixture gets too dry. When the lentils are tender, sprinkle with chopped cilantro and serve with hot rice.


Mujadara with Greens

Mujadara with Greens

Mujadara is a classic Middle Eastern dish consisting of caramelized onions, lentils, and rice. I’m always amazed at how something so simplistic can be so delicious. My husband loves this dish. This recipe makes plenty for leftovers, so that keeps him happy.

I had some kohlrabi leaves and radish leaves leftover from the Kohlrabi and Radish Slaw I made yesterday, so I added them to my basic Mujadara recipe. Goodness. I would think a variety of greens (spinach, collards, turnip, etc…) would be good as well.

Mujadara with Greens

1 cup brown lentils, picked over and rinsed
1/4 cup olive oil
2 large onions, halved and thinly sliced
1 cup long-grain white rice (or you can use Basmati)
2 cups fresh greens of your choice, finely sliced
salt and pepper

Place the lentils in a large saucepan and cover with an inch of water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and cook until the lentils are just starting to get tender and most of the water has cooked away. This takes about 10 minutes, but may take longer depending on the lentils. Sometimes they cook fast, sometimes they don’t.

In the meantime, in a large skillet heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring often, until golden brown. This will take about 10 minutes or more.

Add the cooked lentils (no need to drain them), rice, greens, and 4 cups of water to the onions. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to low. Cover the pan, and cook for 20 minutes, or until all the water has been absorbed and the rice and lentils are tender. Serve warm.

Crockpot Three Lentil Stew with Barley

Three Lentil Stew with Barley

My mom flew in from Austin today. I was worried she wouldn’t make it. It was 67 degrees here in Columbia SC yesterday, but today we were expecting ice and snow from Storm Leon. It has been predicted that we would get 2 – 4 inches (gasp!) of snow from the storm. The city had shut down in anticipation. If you are from other areas of the country, this is laughable. But, it’s a big deal here because most of the South is not prepared to deal with ice and snow. Most southern cities don’t have plows (and if they do, they only have a couple) and some don’t even have salt to treat the roads. Plus, the people in the South don’t know how to drive in icy conditions. South Carolina has some of the worst drivers in the country on a good day, so when snow and ice are added, the results can’t be good. Fortunately, the ice and snow held off until my mom’s plane landed and she got to our house safely.

I needed something easy to fix for dinner. The comfort and warmth of a soup or stew would be perfect for snowy weather. I decided to throw a lentil and barley stew together in the crockpot. I had several different kinds of lentils in the pantry and decided to use them. You could totally make this recipe with 1 1/2 cups of one type of lentil (although I wouldn’t recommend using red lentils, as they kind of just dissolve in the stew). This recipe makes a nice size batch. There is plenty for leftovers or to freeze for future meals.

Crockpot Three Lentil Stew with Barley

1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup red lentils
1/2 cup brown lentils
1/2 cup black lentils (I used beluga)
1 cup pearl barley
1 carrot, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
4 ounces (half a package) of mushrooms, chopped
1 or 2 zucchini, chopped
8  cups vegetable broth
1 teaspoon ground cumin
salt and pepper, to taste

Add all of the ingredients to the crockpot. Cook on high for 3 to 4 hours on high or for 6 to 8 hours on low. You may need to add more broth, depending on how brothy you want your stew.

Lentil and Cauliflower Soup

Lentil and Cauliflower Soup

This is a simple and nutritious soup I made with a head of cauliflower from my Pinckney’s Produce CSA box. Paired with crusty spelt bread, it made a perfect lunch.

Lentil and Cauliflower Soup

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
1 carrot, peeled and diced
1 clove garlic, minced
6 to 8 cups vegetable broth (depending on how brothy you like your soup)
1 cup brown lentils, picked over and rinsed
1 small head cauliflower (or 1/2 a large head), chopped into small pieces
salt and pepper, to taste

Heat the olive oil in a pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion, celery, carrot, and garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are softened. Add the lentils and broth (I start with 6 cups of broth and add more as needed to suit my tastes); bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until the lentils are tender, about 30 minutes. Stir in cauliflower and simmer until cauliflower is tender, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Black Beluga Lentil and Mushroom Burgers

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These are delicious vegetarian burgers. I found the black Beluga lentils in the bulk bins at Whole Foods. Get creative with your toppings. I topped my burger with spicy mustard and freshly pickled cucumbers and onions. Some crumbled goat cheese would have been nice.

Black Beluga Lentil and Mushroom Burgers

1 cup dried black Beluga lentils, picked over and rinsed
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
8 ounces baby bella mushrooms (or your favorite mushroom), finely chopped
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 teaspoons brown mustard
1/4 to 1/2 cup bread crumbs
salt and pepper, to taste
2 teaspoons olive oil
hamburger buns
desired condiments (cheese, mustard, lettuce, tomato, pickles, onions, etc….)

Place the Beluga lentils and 1 1/2 cups water in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and then reduce to low. Let the lentils simmer on low, stirring occasionally, until tender but not mushy, about 25 – 35 minutes.  You may need to add more water to the lentils as they cook. Once the lentils are cooked, strain in a colander.

In a large skillet heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and garlic ands sauté until the onion is tender. Add the chopped mushrooms and continue to cook another 3 minutes or until the liquid the mushrooms release is cooked away. Turn off the heat.

In a large bowl, combine the cooked and drained lentils,  onion-mushroom mixture, egg, brown mustard, and 1/4 bread crumbs. Add more breadcrumbs as needed if the mixture is too wet. Divide the mixture into 4 portions and form each portion into a patty.

Serve patties on buns with desired condiments.

Heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil in large skillet. Add the patties and cook until browned, about 5 minutes on each side.