Italian Lentils

November 05, 2010 16:32

I was talking to a friend yesterday, and he was telling me how much his fiance likes lentils.  Me too.  In fact, lentils have become a staple in my diet, and I prepare them several times a week.

They are a great source of fiber and protein, and the add a meaty texture to most dishes. They are also very low on the glycemic index, which means that your blood sugar will not spike after eating them.  Instead, they provide more balanced source of energy.

I like to prepare lentils in many different ways, but my favorite is to make a soup/stew with them.  You can check out a couple of recipes by hitting the main course tab to the right.

No matter how you prepare them, I think you'll enjoy the meatiness of these members of the legume family.  They are also very inexpensive.

Humans have been eating them since the Neolithic Age (9,500 b.c.), so let's just say that they have a healthy track record.  This recipe comes from the Moosewood Cafe.

Italian Lentils


serves six


1 1/2 cups dried brown lentils


5 garlic cloves (2 whole, 3 minced)


1 bay leaf


5 cups water


1 red bell pepper, diced


1 medium fennel bulb, diced


2 tb olive oil


2 cups chopped onion


1/2 tsp ground fennel seeds


1/2 tsp salt


1/2 tsp ground black pepper


1 tb soy sauce


1 tb red wine vinegar


8-10 ozs Morningstar sausage-style crumbles


In a covered saucepan, bring lentils, 2 of the garlic cloves, the bay leaf and the water to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer for about 30 minutes, until lentils are tender.  Drain, remove the bay leaf, and set aside.


In a soup pot on medium heat, warm 1 tb of the olive oil and cook onions, stirring frequently, until soft, about 10 minutes.  Add bell pepper, diced fennel, garlic, ground fennel, salt and pepper.  Cook covered on low until vegetables are tender, about 7 minutes.  Add soy sauce, vinegar, and cooked lentils. Cook, stirring often, for a few minutes, until hot.


Meanwhile, in a skillet, warm remaining olive oil.  Add sausage crumbles and saute for about five minutes, until browned.


Add sausage crumbles to lentil mixture and serve.  If you like, you could drizzle extra-virgin olive oil over the lentils, along with some chopped fresh parsley.


Have a great weekend!

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