Ah, good old lentils. How can you not love this little morsel of deliciousness? I’ve been loving sprouted lentils lately. Supposedly the nutrients are easier for your body to use when you sprout grains, nuts or legumes. Even if you don’t want to take the time to sprout your lentils, this can be made with regular dry lentils.
Sprouting may seem like extra, unnecessary work but it’s actually very simple. I have a hemp sprouting bag that is worth it’s weight in gold. I use it for nut milks, sprouting and straining juices. You could sprout in a wire mesh strainer or in a glass jar also. It takes about 4 days in total until the lentils are sufficiently sprouted. You only have to tend to them for a few minutes twice a day. I like to wait until their little tails look like this:
Here is a step by step (with pictures) on how to sprout lentils: The Lean Green Bean
This recipe was inspired by food52 and my dear friend Solveig who loves lentils just as much as I do. 🙂
1 c dry lentils OR 2c sprouted lentils steamed for 10 minutes until tender
1/2 c chopped white or yellow onion
1/4 c carrots, chopped small
2 ribs celery, chopped small – amounting to 1/2 c (onions, carrots, celery all chopped the same size)
1 c mushroom, chopped – I use crimini, portobello, button or oyster for this recipe
3 cloves garlic, minced (you can use more if you love garlic! I usually use 3-4 cloves)
1 – 28oz can of diced or crushed tomatoes
3 T tomato paste
1/2 c red wine
3/4 c veggie broth
2 t fresh or dried thyme
2 t fresh or dried oregano
1/2 t red pepper flakes (optional)
1/2 t salt
fresh basil, a handful or about 1/2 c packed
pasta of your choice! I like to use rigatoni, penne rigate or any tube-like shape for this to hold the sauce well.
edit: I loved this 10x more with rice!! I sauteed some zucchini from my garden with some garlic, then added a few scoops of sauce and a big scoop of cooked brown rice to the pan. It was delectable! I assume it would be great with quinoa too…
• • • • • •
Heat 1 teaspoon of oil in a large, heavy bottomed saucepan over medium heat.
Add chopped onions, carrots and celery and cook for 5-8 minutes, just until the onions are clear in color and softened.
Add mushrooms and garlic.
Cook for 5-10 minutes, stirring frequently, until you begin to smell the garlic and the mushrooms are beginning to brown.
Add the can of crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, red wine, broth, thyme, oregano, red pepper flakes and salt to the pot.
If you are using dry lentils, add them now as well. Do not add your sprouted lentils now!
Bring to a gentle boil and then reduce to low, cover it and let simmer.
Simmer for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. If the mixture reduces too much and gets too thick, add a little more broth (1/4 c at a time) to loosen it up.
get your pasta started now so that it’s ready in time for the sauce! If you’re going to eat this with rice you can use leftover rice, otherwise you can start the rice at the same time as your sauce. Short grain brown rice cooks to perfection in 30 minutes.
Taste and add more salt if necessary.
When the sauce is thickened to your liking, add the sprouted lentils and the fresh basil.
Don’t forget to gently steam your sprouted lentils for ~10 minutes before adding them to the pot. This will soften them so that they are more palatable. Taste them to make sure they have softened enough before using them. They will not take more than 10 minutes, otherwise they will start to get mushy.
Stir to combine everything. Keep the heat on low to keep the sauce warm until your pasta/rice is ready.
I always add an extra pinch of red pepper flakes when serving for those that like some added heat.
I serve this with my nutty parmesan “cheese” –
1 c raw nuts – almond, cashews, walnuts all work best, although the walnut are my favorite
2/3 c nutritional yeast
few pinches of salt
Process in a food processor or blender just until nuts become fine grained, like a grated parmesan cheese. Do not over process or you will get an oily mess! Taste and add more nutritional yeast (nooch) and/or another pinch of salt if it’s not “cheesy” enough.