The ickle red lentil. So cute, so quick to cook, so affordable, so nutritious. Once we were at my friends for lunch and she served wholewheat pasta topped with a red lentil/onion/pepper combination mixed with some tomato sauce. I think Amelia was close to tears looking at it. She doesn’t realise she eats red lentils plenty, but I always blend them in root vegetable soups. She knew the score though, and I was watching her face which went from “HOW am I going to get this down my throat, I know I won’t like it” to “mmmmmm….quite nice actually!” She afterwards confided “I was really upset when I saw what was on my pasta but I really liked it after all!”
I had forgotten about this incident, until last night my friend recommended doing a “chilli con carne” sauce with red lentils. I knew the girls wouldn’t eat spicey but I thought I would try it out with tomatoes as a pasta sauce. It was so delicious. I love that something so simple tasted so good.
(By the way I can testify to how much liquid red lentils need, they are notorious for sticking. I have burnt them more times than I can count. Be warned)
A very rough idea of what you can do. (For more precise quantities look up a recipe online)
- Gently saute a large white onion in extra virgin olive oil, finely chopped.Garlic optional-( I didn’t this time)
- Add a large punnet of fresh cherry tomatoes or one tin of tomatoes (nothing added)
- Add a pinch or two of sea salt, and a tiny bit of sugar or honey if you want.
- When the onion is soft, add a few handfuls of red lentils and some water or vegetable stock (Of course I used my home-made stock 🙂 )
- Stir very frequently, keep heat on low to medium and do not leave it to it’s own naughty devices.
- When the lentils are nice and soft, taste and re-season as you like it.
- I gave it a quick whizz in the mini chopper, keeping some texture. Ellie is not yet ready to know she is eating onion 🙂
- We had some red roasted peppers which I also blended in, which is generally never a mistake in my opinion.
- Serve over wholewheat/alternative pasta
God bless the humble red lentil. I was all enthused and have stocked up on plenty more.