In my recent post "Got Beans?" I promoted a more planned approach to beans. However, I sometimes still want a last-minute legume-based meal. That’s where lentils come in. They don’t need to be soaked and typically cook in about 20 minutes. My new favorite varietal is the French or “Puy,” a small blue-green lentil. To brighten up the appearance, I like to add various vegetables like steamed green peas, basil, black or purple olives, or raw red bell pepper. Serve it over rice to soak-up any remaining rich liquid. 2 cups of French lentils (rinsed and sorted for pebbles) a few carrots, chopped a few celery sticks, chopped 1 red onion, chopped 2 cloves garlic, diced olive oil 2 bay leaves red chili flakes 4 cups vegetarian stock, or enough to cover solids by a couple inches salt and pepper to taste
  • Heat oil in a dutch oven over medium heat and then cook onions, carrots, and celery until vegetables are softened, 6 to 8 minutes.
  • Add garlic and chili flakes until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  • Next, add the stock, lentils and bay leaves and bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, until lentils are tender, 20 to 40 minutes.
  • Discard bay leaf, season to taste and serve over rice. Top with vegetables as desired and a drizzle of olive oil.