Until a few years ago, lentils were pretty much an unheard of food for me. My foray into veganism, as well as eating more of a variety of ethnic foods and eating a healthier diet, generally, changed that. Even still, I found myself ordering lentils at restaurants but not cooking with them at home because of my lack of familiarity. I wondered if it was possible that I could get those tiny dried little things to turn into the pillowy-textured, flavorful, hearty dishes that I was having when we went out to eat, but right in the comfort of my own home??! Answer: yes! I have found that lentils aren’t something to be afraid to cook. In fact, they’re super easy to cook. And they’re nutrient powerhouses too! And Marcel the Shell wears a lentil for a hat. So, enough said. (If you didn’t see that video you can watch it on youtube. Its weird but I like it).
Think of lentils pretty much like you would a grain. Add a liquid (I usually go two times as much liquid as lentils), bring to a boil, and then let ‘em simmer until the lentils are soft and the liquid is absorbed. You can play around with adding different vegetables, using different spices, and cooking them in different liquids. The possibilities are endless, but I’m rather partial to the version below
Garlicky Tomatoey Lentils
- 1 cup red lentils
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup canned pure tomato puree
- 1 large carrot sliced into thin rounds and then halve the bigger pieces
- six campari tomatoes (these are smaller than romas but larger than cherries)
- 1 t salt
- 1/2 t garlic powder
- 1/2 t oregano
- 1/4 t pepper
- 6 cloves garlic
1. Preheat oven to 400 and line a baking sheet with foil and spray it.
2. In a large pot, combine lentils, water, and tomato puree and bring to a boil.
3. Add carrots.
4. Turn heat to low and let simmer approximately 30 minutes.
5. After about 20 minutes, add the spices.
6. While lentils cook, place the campari tomatoes on the baking sheet.
7. Wrap the garlic cloves in tin foil, drizzling some olive oil on top, and closing up tin foil in a ball around the garlic. Add garlic/foil ball to the tomatoes on the baking sheet.
8. Let roast in oven for 15 minutes until tomatoes are starting to burst.
9. Take tomatoes out of oven, but return garlic for 10 more minutes to roast until it becomes soft.
10. Use a fork to mash the garlic so it is paste-like.
11. Stir the garlic into the soup.
12. Fold in the tomatoes whole.