Lentils are brilliant little legumes. High in protein, folate and iron as well as having high levels of slowly digested starch (low glycemic index), these little powerhouses are not only nutritionally beneficial, but are really, really delicious too.
Lentils come in lots of different guises, from small and dark green varieties used throughout the Mediterranean through to big fat red & yellow types used more generally on the Indian subcontinent.
For this type of dish however, we’re focussing on Mediterranean flavours. I like to use beluga or puy lentils as they have a gorgeous texture that keeps its bite yet is somehow creamy at the same time.
I create this type of ‘bowl’ quite frequently, using varying ingredients depending on what’s in season, the temperature and how hungry I am. It’s quite a simple formula really…..Lentils, An Allium like Shallots or Spring Onions, Tomatoes and/or Peppers, Mediterranean Herbs, a hit of Chilli if you like and some Greens.
It really depends on how busy I am as to whether I cook the lentils from scratch, or use a pre-cooked pack that you can now buy really easily from almost all supermarkets.
If you decide to cook them from scratch, simply simmer the lentils with a bay leaf & some vegetable stock powder until they are tender. Puy lentils will take around 25 mins as they are quite petite, other larger green lentils around 35 mins.
- Lentils:: either 2 cups cooked or 1 pack pre-cooked
- Allium:: either Garlic, Shallots, Chives or Spring Onions
- Tomatoes or Peppers:: Either fresh or roasted.
- Herbs :: such as parsley, oregano, thyme, rosemary, basil. Use dried or fresh.
- Chilli:: either fresh or mild powdered
- Greens:: such as Rocket, Asparagus, Spinach, Broccoli, Watercress
- A little oil such as Olive Oil
- Salt & Pepper
- Optional Extras: a dash of wine- white or red. A sprinkle of feta or halloumi
- Slick a pan with oil & soften the Allium. Add the lentils and fresh chilli if using.
- Add a tiny bit of water, or wine if you are using.
- Cook gently until heated through & add dried herbs if using then add the tomatoes and/or peppers.
- If you are using Broccoli or Asparagus, steam it or stir fry it.
- Otherwise, mix through the spinach, rocket or watercress. If you're using fresh herbs, add them in here too.
- If you want to sprinkle some cheese over, do so now
- Serve with some crusty bread, or just on it's own.