Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Spicy Lentils: Quick Comfort Food

Lentils are our friend.  They’re versatile, tasty, and nutritious.  They’re low maintenance, easy going, fast cooking and don’t require any pre-soaking.  Most lentils are ready in just about 30 minutes, while the red variety can be ready in 20.  For busy lives, they are great to have on hand when looking for a healthy meal that is full of protein.  One 1/2 cup cooked lentils has about 12 grams of protein. 

Lentils are full of both soluble and insoluble fiber.  The soluble fiber in lentils helps to lower cholesterol and since it is a complex carbohydrate it also helps balance blood glucose levels.  Insoluble fiber encourages regular, healthy digestion.   

Lentils have significant levels of folic acid and magnesium.  Both nutrients are good for the heart and help promote a healthy cardiovascular system.   They support our arteries while also allowing blood to flow freely, while bringing nutrients throughout the body. 

Lentils can be added to just about anything…  They can top salads, baked potatoes, mixed in with quinoa, rice, roasted veggies, added to wraps and even coleslaw (why not?) ….

The first recipe is a delicious, hearty no fail lentil soup topped with a little Parmesan cheese.  Accompanied with a baked potato, salad, roasted vegetables, or with a bit of gluten free corn bread and you've got an amazing meal on your hands…….!!!

The other recipe is one of my favorites and for me, is major comfort food.  I don’t know that there is a “true” name for it, so let’s call it Spicy Lentil Pasta Sauce.  In this recipe, we add our lentils to our favorite red sauce and serve over pasta.   Oh gosh, this is so satisfying and not too heavy.  It’s an easy recipe that everyone loves.  
I believe a little comfort food goes a long way for our emotional and mental health, what do you think??

Delicious Lentil Soup
8 Cups Water
16 oz. Uncooked Green Lentils 
4 Medium Carrots Chopped
3 - 4 Large Celery Stalks Chopped
½ Small to Medium Onion Diced
4 Garlic Cloves Chopped or Sliced.  Use more or less depending on your taste….
3/4 Cup Tomato Sauce / 1 Cup Tomato Juice or 2 Cups Diced Fresh Tomatoes
2 – 3 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
½ Teaspoon Salt  or To Taste
Pepper To Taste
½ cup Parmesan or Romano Cheese to Garnish

This recipe works great in a food processor.  Just add the fresh ingredients: carrots, celery, onion and garlic and let it do the work for you.  Add the olive oil to a saute pan and lightly cook until vegetables are tender.  In a separate kettle, bring liquid to a boil and add your lentils.  Cook for 25 minutes or until desired, when lentils are done, add the vegetable mixture and tomato sauce to the lentils and cook for another 15 minutes or until all the spices and lentils are combined.  Adjust spices and water as needed.  *If using fresh tomatoes vs. tomato sauce, more onion and garlic may be needed.  1 Tablespoon fresh herbs such as parsley and basil go nicely with this soup too....

Spicy Lentil Pasta Sauce
1 Cup Uncooked Green Lentils 
2 Cups Water
2 Cups of Your Favorite Recipe or Ready Made Red Pasta Sauce 
Hot Pepper Flakes and Parmesan Cheese to garnish
Brown Rice Pasta
3 – 4 Servings

Cook lentils in 2 cups water until tender about 25 - 30 minutes. Drain any excess water.  Add 2 cups red sauce and combine thoroughly.  Serve over pasta and garnish with hot pepper flakes and Parmesan....

To Your Health,


  1. I do love lentils because you don't have to soak them. I don't eat them very often but I do have a bag of red lentils in my cabinet just incase I am inspired. I think you might just have inspired me. Thank you for the blog post!

    1. Thanks for commenting, Mary! Red lentils are great for breakfast too...They cook up like a porridge...Sometimes we make them savory or sometimes with apples and cinnamon....mmmm