What’s tasty and vegetarian today? Why, lentils. Of course.
I once saw a weight-loss article that began with one word: “Lentils.” I had to smile, but must say I agree. At 230 calories (cooked) per cup, full of protein and dietary fiber, they’re a natural for weight watchers. But for anyone who likes to eat well and inexpensively, lentils fit the daily bill and satisfy the daily hunger.
They cook up quickly. You can eat them hot, you can serve them cold. Mild or spicy. Yellow, brown, green or black. Main dish, side dish, stewed, souped, or salad.
How do I love lentils? Let me count the ways:
1. Curry lentils up in a classic Indian dal – thick, stewed lentils with plenty of spices.
2. Pair them with sweet potatoes as a cold salad (recipe below).
3. Bake a quarter-cup of cooked lentils into your next loaf of bread.
4. Get Middle-Eastern and cook Majadra (recipe here on Green Prophet), a lentil-rice peasant dish.
5. Lentil soup. Onions, celery, a tomato, some greens like Swiss chard or kale, plus lentils. Add a chunk of meat, or not. Cook till soft – blend if you please, and season.
6. Empower your pasta. Try our noodles with lentils recipe.
7. Mix some firm, cooked lentils into your next tabbouleh. Not traditional, but tasty.
8. Stuff vegetables with cooked lentils and rice; stew in a rich tomato sauce.
9. Add cooked seasoned lentils to stir-fry.
10. Make a dip using our choumous recipe, but substitute cooked yellow lentils for the chickpeas.
Sweet Potato and Lentil Salad
3 cups of washed, but not peeled, sweet potatoes sliced in bite-sized circles
1/4 cup black or green lentils
1/2 cup of salted water for cooking the lentils
1 medium onion
Juice of 1/2 lemon, or more if liked
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons of maple or silan date syrup
salt and pepper
3 large scallions, green parts only
In a small pot, cook the lentils, covered, in the salted 1/2 cup of water. Cook over low heat for 10 minutes, then taste to make sure the lentils are tender. If they look like they’re drying out but still not tender, add a tablespoon or two of water.
Meantime, cook the sweet potato slices in plenty of lightly salted water till tender; about 10 minutes. Keep a sharp eye on them because they should not cook till mushy. Once mushy, they won’t serve for salad.
Slice the onion thinly.
In a small bowl, make a dressing of the lemon juice, olive oil, syrup, and a little salt and pepper.
While the vegetables are still hot, put them in a bowl with the sliced onions and pour the dressing over all. Stir gently, with a wooden spoon.
Allow the salad to cool, covered. Taste it and add more of the dressing ingredients if wished. Slice up the scallions and scatter them over the salad, mixing gently once more.
Chill the salad, covered, and serve cold or at room temperature.
More good, solid, vegetarian fare on Green Prophet: