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Friday, February 21, 2014

Lentils - how do you cook them and why do you eat them?

I love lentils…they’re packed with nutrition and…they’re easy to make. I even have eaten them for breakfast. I’ve even read that lentils are the healthiest food on earth.

My husband was not that thrilled about eating lentils. But I did find a way he will eat them. Actually a couple of ways, but his favorite seems to be spicy lentils with spinach. Not only is this cheap to make, it’s delicious…and to boot – it’s good for you. And easy.
Buy a bag of dried lentils – they’re right in the bean aisle at the grocery store. They’re brown and look a little like split peas and come in a one pound bag. If you prefer, you can buy them in the bulks section, if they carry them.

A pound of lentils makes a lot – you may want to start by measuring out one cup and cooking that first to see if you like them. Make sure to rinse the lentils with cold water. Place them in a colander or mesh strainer and rinse them. Pick through and remove any stones.
Brown lentils are inexpensive, easy to cook and taste delicious
If cooking 1 cup of dried lentils at a time, take a stock pot or Dutch oven and add 3 cups of water. Add the lentils. Bring the water to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low or medium-low to keep the lentils at a simmer. Cook for approximately 30 to 40 minutes, until lentils are cooked. Some people like them mushy, some like them a bit firm. My husband likes them a bit on the al dente side so I don’t cook them too long, maybe only 20 to 30 minutes.

When cooking only 1 cup dried lentils at a time I add only about ¼ of a 10 ounce package of frozen spinach. I thaw the spinach first then squeeze out most of the water. Then I add it to the lentils. This should thicken them up. If there is a lot of water left in the pot I may drain it out before adding the spinach.
At this point I add whatever spices I want. Usually salt, pepper and some Frank’s hot sauce. Other times I’ll use Garam masala, curry powder, paprika, turmeric and salt.
I serve the lentils in a bowl with toasted pita bread and a big leafy green salad with homemade Greek dressing or just olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

©Rachael Monaco All Rights Reserved. No part of this article may be reproduced without prior permissions from the author. Partial reposting is permitted with a link back to the original article.