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tomato and garlic lentils

After a fabulous weekend with my girls, I came home on Monday knowing that I had to return to my normal diet.  A life eating only cheese and bread can not sustain my body’s need for vegetables and non-dairy products.  One of my favorite pantry staples is the lowly lentil.  I make sure to always keep a stash of the French green variety in my pantry at all times.

So lentils – let’s dive a little deeper shall we?

Lentils are a member of the legume family – like peanuts or beans.  Boy do I love a legume. :)  Lentils come in various sizes and colors. They cook quickly in water and stand up to lots of bold flavor.  I love to add lots of vinegar to mine – love that acid. The older your lentils are the longer they take to cook – any where from 20 minutes to an hour.  I like to cook mine just until they are tender – not crunchy but not complete mush.

Because lentils have a mild-ish earthy flavor – they can be used hundreds of different ways with different flavor combinations.  This is my new favorite way to cook lentils – quick, easy, and pretty healthy.

Lentils with Tomatoes and Garlic

4 cups of lentils, cooked and drained
1 small onion, chopped
2 medium tomatoes, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 cup chicken stock
salt and pepper
3-4 tbsp balsamic vinegar, to taste

To cook your lentils, start with a 2-1 ratio of liquid to dried lentils.  For this recipe I started with two cups of lentils and 4 cups of water.  Bring to a boil, then reduce to simmer and cook until the lentils are tender.  Do not add any salt or acid to the cooking process – it will take longer for the lentils to cook.  Once tender, drain and set aside.

In a skillet, heat the oil and and add the onion and saute until translucent.  Add the garlic and cook until the garlic is fragrant.  Add the dried herbs and tomatoes, and saute for 1 minute.  Then add the drained lentils, chicken stock and salt and pepper.  Cook down until most of the stock is reduced.  Add the vinegar.  I like a lot of vinegar – but add for your taste.  Cook 1 more minute.

Serve hot or room temperature.