Lentils. A food that is not very common here in the United States, but that recently seems to have gained popularity among the superfood fanatics. However, I’ve been eating these friendly legumes ever since I was a little kid, and not because they are healthy for you (I didn’t care about that stuff when I was little), but because they are delicious. Lentils are a comfort food of sorts for me. They make me think of home and they smell beautifully when they’re cooking.
And if that doesn’t convince you, they’re ridiculously cheap and easy to make. If you make the whole bag, there is a lottt of them. Perfect for college students! You can also eat them on their own because they’re a good source of protein. Just make some rice and a salad to go with them, and you’re set.
Unlike most beans, lentils don’t need soaking before hand to be able to be soft enough to cook, so you don’t have to plan ahead if you want to make them, which is nice! I, however, do soak them just because it reduces their cooking time by a lot.
So one day when you’re wondering what to make for dinner, give these guys a try, you won’t be disappointed (probably).
RECIPE FOR LENTILS
1 pound bag of lentils
1.5 tablespoons of olive oil
2 stalks of celery
One small yellow onion
1 or 2 carrots depending on their size
1.5 teaspoons of cumin
Salt and pepper to taste (start out with a teaspoon, but you will probably need more for this recipe, I’d say between 1.5 and 2 teaspoons depending on how you like it. Remember, you can always add more, but you can’t take any away)
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon garlic powder
about 6.5 cups water
1. Soak your lentils in water for about an hour or less before cooking. This will speed up the cooking process. It is not necessary though, so if you forget to do this, don’t freak out.
2. Chop your onion tomato and celery into small pieces. Set aside. You can either chop or shred your carrots, whatever is easier for you.
3. Heat up your olive oil on medium high heat in a pot that looks like something this http://saflon.com/en/urunler/tencereler/aynali-gri-k.jpg You want it to be big enough to fit all your lentils and the water needed to cover them.
4. Add the onions and sautee for about 3 minutes. Then add the carrots and celery and cook for another 6 minutes. Then finally add the tomato and let it cook for another 5 minutes.
5. Add the spices and the salt and pepper. Mix them into the vegetables and cook them for a few minutes more, until everything has come together.
6. Drain the lentils and then add them to the vegetables. Mix them in so they are covered with the spices.
7. Then, add the water. At this point you can increase the temperature to high so that they reach a boiling point and then lower it to a simmer.
10. Taste the water they are cooking in. Does it need more salt? If so, add it. Repeat if necessary.
11. They are ready when they are soft. How will you know they are soft? Grab a spoon and try some. (If you presoaked them they should simmer for about 30 minutes if not they will take a bit longer then that)
12. Serve and enjoy!