Do you like lentils? I love lentils! If you’ve never tried them, you need to. I’ll never forget the first time cooking them after reading about the health benefits of lentils, I wasn’t too impressed because the recipe listed was basically just boiling them. I wish I would have known a little more about them then because if I had, I would have tried them again sooner.
I started cooking lentils again last year and was determined I was going to find a way to cook them where we all would enjoy them. I even like to take a spoonful or two of cooked, cooled lentils and add them to a fresh garden salad to get the extra fiber and all the goodness. Lentils are easy to cook and they are so good you won’t even realize you’ve had seconds or thirds before it’s too late.
Would you believe they are one of the world’s healthiest foods? They are packed with folate, fiber, protein, and many more important vitamins and nutrients. While lentils are tiny legumes they do big, powerful jobs within our body – lower cholesterol, give you energy while stabilizing blood sugar, and decrease digestive issues.
There are two kinds of lentils found in the local stores here – brown and green. They both taste the same, the green ones do hold up in shape more than the brown while cooking, but they are both just as tasty.
The following recipe is what I cook for my family so we can enjoy leftovers for several days, but it can definitely be cut down. I found the recipe HERE, but worked a few things differently for my family's tastes, they had rather have grated carrots instead of big pieces, I like bigger pieces so sometimes I’ll add larger pieces for me.
With our limited selection of certain things in the stores, I ended up using red pepper flakes. The flakes when heated give off a more intense heat, you can add them to the pot after you’ve added the liquid to help keep the heat down a little. If you’d rather leave out the pepper flakes for a non-spicy dish, you can and the lentils will still be yummy!
The BEST thing about this recipe ONE POT is all it takes to cook in!
1 pound of lentils, rinsed
5-6 strips of bacon, chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
1 large carrot, grated
4-5 cloves of garlic, minced
2 bay leaves
½ teaspoon of dried pepper flakes
4 cups beef broth
water (if needed)
1 Tablespoon bacon grease or your favorite oil
salt and pepper, to taste at the end of cooking
In a large pot, heat the bacon grease, cook bacon until crisp and remove from grease. Add onion and sauté until it is soft and translucent. Add shredded carrot and garlic to the pot and sauté for about two minutes. Next, add the bay leaves and dried pepper flakes and cook for about a minute, adding the bacon, lentils, and broth to the pot. Cover the pot and let the lentils simmer until they have softened. You will probably need to add a little water to the pot while simmering. When the lentils are softened to your liking, test for salt and pepper flavoring.