Lentils are an inexpensive way of getting a lot of nutrients. They’re packed with B vitamins, magnesium, zinc and potassium. Chef and cookbook author, Robin Asbell shares some recipes using lentils.
Red Lentil-Carrot Hummus
Makes about 3 cups
1 cup red lentils
2 large carrots, peeled and sliced
6 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 cup tahini
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
extra virgin olive oil
whole wheat pita bread
In a small pot, place the red lentils, carrots and garlic with 2 cups water, and bring to a boil over high heat. Lower the heat to keep the lentils simmering, and cook for 10-20 minutes. The lentils will be very soft and starting to fall apart. Drain in a wire mesh strainer, do not rinse.
Place the cooked lentil mixture in the processor bowl, and process until pureed, scraping down as needed to make a smooth paste. Add the tahini and salt and process until smooth. Add lemon and scrape, process to mix. Transfer to a bowl or storage tub.
Serve drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with paprika.
Makes 6 cups soup, plus pasta
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion
1 large carrot, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 cup lentils
4 cups water, more if needed
1 sprig fresh rosemary
1 15 ounce can diced tomatoes
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
8 ounces curly pasta, cooked
In a large pot, drizzle the olive oil and place the pot over medium-high heat. Add the onions and carrots and stir for about 5 minutes, reducing the heat as they start to sizzle. Saute until golden and soft, if you have time.
Add the garlic and stir for a minute or two, then add the lentils, water and rosemary and increase the heat to bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cover the pot for about an hour. When the lentils are tender, add the canned tomatoes and salt and simmer until thick. Stir in the parsley and serve over cooked pasta.
French Lentil and Asparagus Salad
Makes about 4 cups
1 cup French lentils
1 bunch asparagus
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 clove garlic, pressed
1 teaspoon dried tarragon
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 small shallots, peeled and sliced
1/2 tablespoon parsley, chopped
1 large watermelon radish or 4 red radishes, thinly sliced
Cook the lentils in plenty of water for 10-15 minutes. Drain and lightly rinse. Set up a steamer for the asparagus. Cut the asparagus tips 2 inches long and chop the tender part of the stems, discarding the tough bottoms. Stem the asparagus briefly, just until crisp tender. Drain and rinse with cold water.
In a jar or small bowl, combine the olive oil, vinegar, garlic, tarragon, pepper and salt and mix well.
When the lentils are cool, place them in a bowl and drizzle the dressing over the lentils. Add the steamed asparagus, shallots, parsley and radishes and toss to mix. Serve at room temperature.