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Recipe for Spiced Lemony Lentils

In this dish, lentils absorb the complex flavors of the seasonings, giving them a pleasantly spiced taste. This dish can be served as a main dish or as a side dish. You can also serve it cold or at room temperature as a legume salad on a bed of baby lettuce or frisee and garnished with chopped tomatoes.

[Credit: ©iStockphoto.com/travellinglight]
Credit: ©iStockphoto.com/travellinglight

Yield: 4 servings

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 20 to 25 minutes

Spice meter: Mildly to moderately spiced

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 medium onion, finely chopped

1 cinnamon stick

1 bay leaf

2 plump cloves garlic, minced

1-inch piece fresh ginger, minced

3/4 teaspoon ground coriander

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

3-1/2 to 4 cups water, vegetable broth, or chicken broth

2 cups brown lentils, picked over, rinsed, and drained

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoon freshly grated lemon zest

1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste

3 tablespoons minced fresh parsley or cilantro

  1. In a large saucepan over medium heat, heat the vegetable oil. Add the onion, cinnamon, and bay leaf and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are translucent, about 5 minutes.

    Add the garlic and ginger and cook, stirring often, for 1 minute. Add the coriander and cumin and cook, stirring constantly, for 30 to 45 seconds.

  2. Add the water and lentils, bay leaf, and lemon juice. Bring the water to boil. Cover partially and reduce the heat to medium-low.

    Simmer until the lentils are tender but not mushy, about 15 to 20 minutes. Do not overcook. The liquid should mostly be evaporated.

  3. Stir in the lemon zest, salt, and parsley.

If too much water boils out before the lentils have finished cooking, add a small amount of water or broth. For this dish, the liquid should be nearly evaporated by the end of the cooking time.

To serve this recipe as a salad, toss the cooled cooked lentils in a little prepared vinaigrette or in an oil and vinegar salad dressing. Make your own dressing by mixing 2 tablespoons of white wine vinegar with 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and then whisking this mixture together with 5 to 6 tablespoons of olive oil. Refrigerate any leftover dressing.

Per serving: Calories 367 (From Fat 72); Fat 8g (Saturated 1g); Cholesterol 0mg; Sodium 299mg; Carbohydrate 54g (Dietary Fiber 21g); Protein 23g.

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