The Furious Kitchen: La-la-la Lentils

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Yeah, yeah, I know lentils get a lot of shit for being the go-to food that everyone thinks poor people should eat instead of McDonald’s.  But the fact is, lentils are cheap, nutritious and a great replacement for meat.  Lentils have a ton of protein and fiber, they are versatile, and did I mention cheap? Raw lentilsI bought a pound of lentils at my over-priced grocery store for $1.69.  I used half the lentils for lentil tacos and half for lentil loaf.  Both the lentil tacos and lentil loaf were enough for lunch the next day and leftovers on another night.  6 meals for $1.69 (well, plus the other things that go with it.)  I figured that if I used lentils instead of ground turkey (my usual go-to meat) in just one meal a month, I could save $80 a year. I am obsessed with lentils right now and for those of us who are trying to budget wherever we can, checking out lentils is a great place to start.  Also if you’re trying to reduce your meat consumption, I guarantee you won’t miss the meat in any of these recipes.

These are my favorite lentil recipes.

Lentil Tacos (source)

Ingredients

  • 1 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 teaspoon canola oil
  • 1 cup dried lentils, rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup salsa
  • 12 taco shells
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded lettuce
  • 1 cup chopped fresh tomato
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded reduced-fat Cheddar cheese
  • 6 tablespoons fat free sour cream

Directions

  1. In a large nonstick skillet, saute the onion and garlic in oil until tender. Add the lentils, chili powder, cumin and oregano; cook and stir for 1 minute. Add broth; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 25-30 minutes or until the lentils are tender. Uncover; cook for 6-8 minutes or until mixture is thickened. Mash lentils slightly.
  2. Stir in salsa. Spoon about 1/4 cup lentil mixture into each taco shell. Top with lettuce, tomato, cheese and sour cream.
Lentil Sloppy Joes (source)

Ingredients
1 cup uncooked lentils
4 cups water

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, diced small
1 green pepper, diced small (optional)
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 Tablespoons chili powder
1 1/2  teaspoons oregano
1 teaspoon salt
8 oz can tomato sauce
1/4 cup tomato paste
3 tablespoons maple syrup
1-2 tablespoons yellow mustard (wet mustard)

4 to 6 kaiser rolls or sesame buns

Directions
Put the lentils in a small sauce pot and pour in 4 cups water. Cover and bring to a boil. Once boiling, lower heat and simmer for about 20 minutes, until lentils are soft. Drain and set aside.

About 10 minutes before the lentils are done boiling, preheat a medium soup pot over medium heat. Saute the onion and pepper in the oil for about 7 minutes, until softened. Add the garlic and saute a minute more.

Add the cooked lentils, the chili powder, oregano and salt and mix. Add the tomato sauce and tomato paste. Cook for about 10 minutes. Add the maple syrup and mustard and heat through.

Turn the heat off and let sit for about 10 minutes, so that the flavors can meld. I like to serve these open faced, with a scoop of snobby joe on each slice of the bun.

Luci’s Note: I left the maple syrup off in this recipe because it seemed weird, but I may just not have a refined enough palate.  Try it and let me know if it makes me better.

Lentil Loaf (original recipe)

Luci’s Note: I tweaked this recipe a little bit, so this is my variation.  I think this would be really good with some mashed potatoes and gravy, but I haven’t tried it that way yet.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/8 cups lentils
  • 2 1/4 cups water
  • 1 1/2 -2 cups Italian bread crumbs
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 packet dry onion soup mix
  • 1 tablespoon or so of Siracha
  • 1 tablespoon or so of Worcestershire sauce
  • Cheddar cheese

Directions

  1. Combine lentils and water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer until tender, about 40 minutes.
  2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (205 degrees C). Grease a 9×5 inch loaf pan.
  3. In a large bowl, mix together 2 cups cooked lentils, bread crumbs, eggs, broth, ketchup, olive oil, siracha, Worcestershire sauce  and dry soup mix. Spread into prepared pan.
  4. Bake for 40 minutes. Sprinkle top with cheddar, and continue baking another 10 minutes. Let sit for 10 minutes before serving.
Do you have a favorite lentil recipe, I am especially interested in lentil chili, let me know in the comments!
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Luci Furious

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Luci FuriousThe Furious Kitchen: La-la-la Lentils

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