Lentil-vegetable medley is one of those go-to healthy, satisfying meals. I won’t say it’s my favorite recipe (though it certainly tastes great), and I won’t say it’s my fanciest. But it feels wholesome. It feels…good. And there’s a lot to be said for food that feels good. (Potatoes, for example, sadly do not fit in this category. I love them and yes, I do cook with them, but I can’t say they make me feel good.)
The directions for this recipe call for using a food processor, but don’t shy away if you haven’t got one. I made this at least half a dozen times before we bought ours. Yes, it is quicker with the processor, but it’s totally doable even without.
I like to serve this for dinner with rice and a salad on the side. When I do, I often think of what my husband told me about his lentil-eating days as a single guy. Because they’re cheap and a source of protein, he took to buying them by the kilo and eating them plain. No vegetables, no seasoning, no sauce. When his stove top stopped working, he made them (more or less successfully) in the toaster oven.
That, my friends, is what I call “bachelor lentils.” And my lentil-vegetable medley? Married lentils.
What do you like doing with lentils?
Adapted slightly from Norene’s Healthy Kitchen
- 3 cloves garlic
- 2 medium onions, cut in chunks
- 4 medium carrots, cut in chunks
- 2 stalks celery, cut in chunks
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 (28-oz.) can tomatoes, not drained, or 4 peeled tomatoes, cut in chunks*
- 2 cups water**
- 2 cups brown or green lentils, drained and rinsed
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tsp Italian seasoning
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 2 Tbsp maple syrup or honey
- ½ cup fresh parsley, chopped (optional)
*No canned or fresh tomatoes on hand? A couple heaping spoonfuls of tomato paste is great, too.
**The water should just cover the lentils. Add more as necessary.
1. In a food processor fitted with the steel blade, process the garlic, onions, and celery until chopped, using quick on/off pulses. Transfer the chopped mixture to a bowl. Add the carrots to the processor and chop with quick on/off pulses, adding to vegetable mixture when finished.
2. In a large pot, heat the oil on medium heat. Add the chopped vegetables and saute for about 6-8 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally.
3. Add the tomatoes, water, lentils, bay leaf, and Italian seasoning; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover partially, and simmer for about 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
4. Add the salt, pepper, lemon juice, and maple syrup. Simmer for 10 minutes longer. Remove the bay leaf, add the parsley (if using), and serve.
Streamlined version: I’ve taken to making this dish with a couple of shortcuts. In a large pot, combine 3 cubes caramelized onions, 4 sliced carrots, 2 cups lentils, 2 tsp Italian seasoning, 1 tsp salt, sprinkle of black pepper, a couple spoonfuls of tomato paste, and water to cover. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer 1 hour, checking once or twice in the middle to add water if needed. Throw in chopped parsley at the end if you have it on hand and serve hot over rice.