Lentils

red and green lentils

Here’s a true story: my mother refused to eat legumes of any kind. She grew up on a farm during the Depression, daughter of a preacher in rural west Tennessee. They ate beans and drank milk and wouldn’t have dared eat a laying hen or allow any of the chicks to hatch.

When I came home from college, The Enchanted Broccoli Forest in hand, and told my mother I was making lentils for dinner, she turned up her nose and said she’d be having something else. I never did persuade her otherwise. That my mother loved eggs (and chicken) but despised milk and every kind of legume is just funny to me, still.

My children, conveniently, love lentils. Since they cook quickly compared to other types of legumes, are great for a weeknight dinner. Even better, they are very versatile.There isn’t a season or type of weather that isn’t right for lentils.

Chilly outside? Lentil soup or stew to the rescue.

Sunny and in the mid-60s? A composed salad makes for a lovely evening meal.

Racing home to make dinner in less than 30 minutes? Use canned lentil soup as a base, adding fresh spinach and topping with crème fraîche (or, if it’s what you’ve got on hand, sour cream).

Confused about different types of lentils? Link at the end of the recipes should help.


Food Ideas

Love to Cook: Try French Lentil Salad with Goat Cheese & Walnuts (David Lebovitz via The Splendid Table) or perhaps Lentil, Cabbage & Bacon Salad (Gourmandistan, adapted from Jacques Pépin)

Weeknight Reality: Quick Red Lentils & Spinach in Tikka Masala Sauce (NOTE: ignore the cooking time printed on the recipe; it reads 1 hr. 20 min., but actual cooking time is under 30 minutes, using prepared Tikka Masala sauce, whether it’s Saffron Road brand or something else) or perhaps Red Lentil Soup with Spicy Crème fraîche (Eating from the Ground Up)

Need a Miracle: Canned lentil soup with added fresh spinach and crème fraîche


Additional Info: Comprehensive Guide to Lentils – Oh My Veggies


Parting Thought

The philosopher Diogenes was eating bread and lentils for supper. He was seen by the philosopher Aristippus, who lived comfortably by flattering the king. Said Aristippus, ‘If you would learn to be subservient to the king you would not have to live on lentils.’ Said Diogenes, ‘ Learn to live on lentils and you will not have to be subservient to the king.’

Anthony de Mello, via goodreads

 

Prompt Recap: March 22, 2015

Missed a day or want a full set of ideas in one place? Here are six prompts to help you make it through the week, whether you have plenty of time to cook or need a miracle nightly. Click the one word prompt to go to the full set of ideas and recipe links.

Want a daily nudge in your inbox? Click the Follow button on the right.


Artichoke3 artichokes 2015

  • Love to Cook: Stuffed artichokes with a simple green salad (watercress, arugula or baby kale)
  • Weeknight Reality: Quick braised artichokes, pan-braised chicken cutlets, Israeli couscous
  • Need a Miracle: Salad with marinated artichoke hearts, olives, sweet peppers & rotisserie chicken over greens

 


Lentilsred and green lentils

  • Love to Cook: Composed lentil salad with fresh sourdough bread
  • Weeknight Reality: Lentil-sweet potato (or spinach) curry with jasmine rice & cilantro
  • Need a Miracle: Canned lentil soup with added fresh spinach and crème fraîche

 


Softcream cheese and banana bread

  • Love to Cook: Risotto (or pappardelle) with mascarpone cheese & herbs; butter lettuce salad
  • Weeknight Reality: Scrambled eggs with cream cheese and chives; fresh croissants & jam
  • Need a Miracle: Whipped cream cheese on toasted, store-bought banana (or zucchini) bread; butter lettuce salad with fruit

 


Tartlemons and cilantro

  • Love to Cook: Vinegar-braised pork chops (or chicken thighs); Napa cabbage slaw with ginger dressing
  • Weeknight Reality: Tequila-lime fish tacos or lemon chicken breasts with rice and spinach/sorrel salad
  • Need a Miracle: Salad from the salad bar with homemade lemon/olive oil dressing; lemon-berry tarts from the bakery

Fragrantfragrant

  • Love to Cook: Curry (beef, chicken or sweet potato) with basmati rice
  • Weeknight Reality: Same as above, just use a recipe with shorter cooking time
  • Need a Miracle: Quick Pho Ga, using prepared chicken stock, rotisserie chicken and rice noodles (with cilantro, lemons, sprouts, onions, peppers, etc.)

 


ChilePoblano

  • Love to Cook: Classic green chile pork stew with fresh tortillas
  • Weeknight Reality: Mushroom & poblano tacos with corn & cilantro
  • Need a Miracle: Quick bean burritos with green chile salsa and fresh jalapenos

 


Parting Thought

It is spring again. The earth is like a child that knows poems by heart.

Rainer Maria Rilke, via goodreads