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.