Thursday, February 25, 2016

Another Use for Lentils

A week or so ago, I came across a recipe while perusing Facebook. I clicked on the link and found it to sound quite interesting. I love lentils, with their earthy flavor and texture. The fact that the recipe also called for walnuts just made it all that much better. The recipe itself came from Vegetarian Times, and I printed it off to try it out. 
Lentil, Arugula and Walnut Side Dish
Lentil, Arugula and Walnut Side Dish

Baby Arugula
Baby Arugula
We were having pork chops for dinner that day, and since my husband has not seemed to want to eat any dish with lentils as the main ingredient, along with the fact that he hates walnuts made me figure this side would be just for me alone. The recipe as it was written was to be used as a spread, meant for baguette slices, crostini or pita breads. To me, it sounded like those options would be lovely, but I was thinking more on the lines of a side dish. I happened to have lentils, walnuts and even baby arugula, so I went for it.  

Brown Lentils
Brown Lentils
I changed a few things as I went along, mostly in the method. The recipe called for "3 tablespoons vegetable broth", which I found slightly ludicrous. I added a little more salt, instead. My tolerance for cumin is low. While the amounts called for in the recipe were 1/4 teaspoon of ground cumin, and 1/8 teaspoon ground coriander, both of which are quite tiny amounts - still, I switched the amounts, instead using 1/4 teaspoon coriander and 1/8 teaspoon cumin. I always prefer to use whole spices, so this is another place where I changed the instructions. I also added 1/4 teaspoon of Aleppo pepper. I have not had much experience using Aleppo pepper so far, and my knowledge of amounts to use is minimal. I found that 1/4 teaspoon was not even detectable, so next time I will use 1/2 teaspoon. 

In all, I feel I streamlined the recipe quite a bit, using the food processor to do all the work outside of cooking the lentils. I really love the recipe. I love all the ingredients, so that is a plus. If you choose to use this on bread slices as an appetizer portion, please feel free. It was wonderful as a side dish. Obviously, the recipe is vegetarian and gluten free, so it fits with most diets. If you wish to see the original recipe at Vegetarian Times, please click on the link above in the first paragraph. This is what I did:

Lentil, Arugula and Walnut Side Dish

Lentil, Arugula and Walnut Side Dish
Lentil, Arugula and Walnut Side Dish
serves 3 - 4 

3/4 cup lentils
1 1/2 cups water

1/4 cup shelled walnuts 
1 teaspoon Fleur de Sel (or other coarser sea salt)
1/4 teaspoon coriander seed (or ground)
1/4 teaspoon Aleppo pepper, or other pepper
1/8 teaspoon cumin seed (or ground)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small clove garlic
3 cups baby arugula leaves 

In a medium saucepan bring to boil the lentils and water, reduce heat and cover. Cook the lentils for about 35 to 40 minutes, until tender. If a small amount of water remains in the pan, drain and set this cooking liquid aside. 

While the lentils cook, place the walnuts, salt, coriander seeds (or ground), cumin seeds (or ground) and Aleppo pepper in the bowl of a food processor and process until fine. Add in the garlic and olive oil and process until somewhat smooth, scraping sides as necessary. Once the mixture is fine, add in the arugula leaves and pulse to chop finely, but not puree. Add this mixture to the drained lentils in a bowl and toss to mix completely. If the mixture is too dry, add in some of the reserved cooking liquid, or water, if necessary. Serve tepid.

My passion is to teach people how to create a harmony of flavors with their cooking, and help pass along my love and joy of food, both simple and exotic, plain or fancy. I continue my journey in ethnic and domestic cuisines, trying new things weekly. Join me at A Harmony of Flavors Website and Marketplace, Tumblr, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. I am also on a spiritual journey and hope you will join me at my new blog, An Eagle Flies.