Some of you must have been very worried about me.
It’s been ages since I posted a lentil recipe, so some of you MUST have thought I was sick or something. I’m here to tell you that you can sleep easy tonight knowing that all is well. Lentils still are, and always will be, one of my favorite legumes.
Phew! I know it must have been a stressful couple of months. My sincerest apologies for causing any unnecessary stress in your life.
Why I Love Lentils
For those of you new to this blog, lentils are one of my favorite real foods. Not only do they pack a nutritional punch, but they are fast. With 29 grams of protein per 100 gram serving and very inexpensive to buy, there’s enough incentive for me to include it in our meals. Who doesn’t like budget friendly after all? No one!
The thing about legumes is that they can take a long time to prepare. Time is the number one reason people say they don’t eat whole foods. Luckily if meat and veggies are a regular part of your diet, you’re already eating whole foods (breaded chicken fingers aside of course). Legumes are just a small part and can be added incrementally into your diet. Start with once a week.
I know the story. It happens to me. I didn’t soak the beans the night before! I don’t have an hour to wait for beans to cook!
Here’s the great thing about lentils. They require no soaking and cook in 25 minutes or less, depending on the variety you’re using. If you own a pressure cooker this can happen in under 10 minutes. A pressure cooker might be worth looking into if time is a large factor for not eating real foods.
If you think you don’t like lentils but have only had them from the can, you are in for a big surprise. The ones made from scratch taste nothing like their bland, mushy counterpart and there’s no metal taste.
There are also different varieties of lentils meant for different things. Red ones are small and cook up quick. They are great for soups and daals. The green ones are also good for soup, daal and stew. These do tend to be mushier, so if that’s a texture you’re trying to avoid, use Puy (aka French lentils), Beluga, or Black lentils. They hold their shape and have a nice texture. The biggest reason people don’t like certain foods is because of texture. Good thing you have options!
I made this over the weekend and ate it for lunch and dinner and even froze some for an emergency dinner. I try to freeze leftovers any chance I get so I have my “lean cuisines” always on hand. Not that you’ll find low fat food here (sorry to disappoint, I know how flavorful low fat high sodium and sugar foods can be), but you get the drift. I had a bunch of tomatoes going bad on the counter. This made a quick job of using up a bunch of the different tomato varieties I had on hand.
30 minute Tunisian Tomato Lentil Stew
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion, diced
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 5 Tomatoes or 4 cups chopped
- 2 cups of vegetable stock (or chicken stock if vegetarian is not a concern)
- 1 tsp each ground cumin, chili powder, ground coriander, turmeric
- 1/2 cup french or puy lentils
- 2 Tbsp honey
- 1 wedge preserved lemon
- garnish with fresh cilantro
Heat a skillet that has a lid over medium high heat. Add 1 Tbsp oil and a roughly diced onion, cook them until onions start to soften. Meanwhile, dice the tomatoes and prepare the lemon. Using a sharp knife remove the pulp and pith (the white part), from the lemon. Finely dice the remaining rind and set aside. Add the garlic to the onions and cook for another 30 seconds. Add the remaining ingredients, including the lemon and stir until combined. Cover the pan with a lid and simmer for 25 minutes. Remove the lid and cook for another 5 minutes or until the lentils are tender but not mushy. During the last 5 minutes, any extra stock will reduce leaving a nice stew consistency.
Note: Other types of lentils can be substituted in as well. The flavor will still be amazing, but the texture will change. As long as you’re okay with that, substitute away.
Take it to a whole new level by using whole cumin and coriander seeds. Crush them using a mortar and pestle or spice grinder. In a small frying pan toast the crushed seeds for 1 minute or until they become fragrant. Use these in place of ground cumin and ground coriander.
I’m sharing this with Mangia Mondays, Monday Mania, and Meatless Mondays, Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays, Tasty Tuesday, A Little Birdie Told Me, Fat Tuesday, Whole New Mom, This Chick Cooks, Cast Party Wednesday, Allergy Free Wednesdays, The Tasty Alternative, What’s Cooking Wednesday, Real Food Wednesday, Pennywise Platter Thursday, Simple Lives Thursday, and Full Plate Thursday.