Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Mexican Lentils

 I have been living in a lentil desert, dear readers, and I didn't even realize it. I'm tempted to claim some kind of temporary insanity for completely forgetting--for months (MONTHS!) on end--how much I love them. Now, on the heels of this relentless pining for foods flavored with chili powder, a malady from which I've suffered ever since I returned from the wilds of Eastern Europe (pics are coming! I swear.), I've rediscovered them. The following recipe is simple, hearty, and delicious, if mildly unsurprising. Oh, and healthy! And relatively cheap! It has many good qualities. Basically, this came about because I wanted taco salad. C and I try to avoid eating lots of chips--not because we don't love them, but because we do...too much, so I have long had my own spin on this familiar dish. My version involves one or two types of smokey protein, like refried or stewed beans and taco-seasoned veggie crumbles, layered on a bed of blanched kale and topped with tomatoes, raw onions, cheese, avocado, sour cream, salsa, etc. Somewhere in this planning phase, I remembered our friend, the humble, hard-working lentil, and I realized that some nicely-seasoned lentils would be a perfect stand-in for our usual bean and tvp combo. And I was so right. Have these like we did in a taco salad, using whatever configuration you prefer. Or you could eat them on tostadas. Or even as a hearty dip. Or in burritos. Or even by themselves.

Mexican Lentils

1 1/2 c uncooked brown lentils
3 c water
1 cube veggie broth
1 medium sweet onion, diced
1 red pepper, diced
1 T garlic powder
3 T chili powder
1 T basil
1 T marjoram
olive oil

In a medium saucepot, saute pepper and onion just until a bit translucent. Add the lentils and spices, and cook one minute more. Add the water and broth cube. Bring to a low boil, then reduce heat and cover. Cook for about 30 minutes, until lentils are soft. Adjust seasonings as necessary. You may find as the lentils are cooking that they need a bit more water. This is mostly a function of how hot your stove is. Fear not. Just add a bit more water to keep them from burning. 

Up next: Chili Dogs. Holy shit.

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