Herbed lentils with steamed vegetables and rice

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This is my favourite lentil recipe. Usually I make it with whole red lentils, as in the picture above, and sometimes I use French lentils.

INGREDIENTS

[replace honey with other sweetener to make it vegan]

2 cups dry whole red lentils (the hull is light brown)

1 bay leaf
enough water to cover lentils by 1 inch

1/4 cup olive oil
juice of 1 lemon (about 3 tbsp)
1 tsp dry whole thyme
1 tsp dry whole sage (crumbled)
1 tsp dry rosemary (crumbled)
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp chipotle powder
1/4 tsp cayenne powder
1 1/2 tsp sea salt
2 tsp honey
shoyu (soy sauce) and/or extra salt to taste

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Soak lentils 20-24 hours. Drain and rinse well before cooking.
  2. Put lentils, water and bay leaf in a pot or saucepan. Bring water to a boil. Let it boil vigorously for a few minutes. Bring to gentle boil and cover pot. Check lentils for softness after 30 minutes. Most lentils take 30 minutes to 1 hour to get soft. If you live at high elevation or the lentils are old, they may take longer.
  3. When lentils are cooked, drain the cooking water. Stir in olive oil and lemon juice. Then stir in all the seasonings. Cover and put on low heat for 10 minutes or until there is gentle boiling action. Turn off heat and let lentils hang out in covered pot 10 more minutes.
  4. The lentils are ready to eat! Of course, they will taste better in a few hours or the next day, after the flavors have melded.

The lentils are great with rice and steamed vegetables. In the picture above, I used steamed leeks, carrots and broccoli. I used the following steaming times: leeks (12 minutes), carrots (9 minutes), broccoli (6 minutes). I drizzled the steamed vegetables with shoyu and toasted sesame oil. This really made the flavors pop!

Roasted fennel bulb and some finely chopped raw parsley are also nice. Or arugula, avocado, tomato and a bit of tomato salsa.

I make another version of the lentils with balsamic vinegar instead of lemon juice:

2 tsp balsamic vinegar instead of lemon juice
replace 2 tbsp of olive oil with butter or ghee
mix in finely chopped, sautéed and lightly caramelized onions, celery and mushrooms at end of cooking
omit paprika and chipotle powder
black pepper to taste

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