"I love lentils: They're packed with protein, very filling and a good source of iron," says Jill Donenfeld. Eat these stewy lentils as a light lunch or serve alongside Donenfeld's roasted cauliflower with raisins.
SoupCycle in Portland, Oregon, offers soups with wacky names ranging from Flemish Farm (a vegan take on French onion soup) to Who Framed Ginger Rabbit (carrot soup with ginger). Owners Jed Lazar and Shauna Lambert call this lentil soup Pot of For Goodness Sake! because the ingredients are so healthy.
Jerry Traunfeld uses French-style lentils grown in eastern Washington and Idaho. Sometimes he likes to use Moroccan mint, which is like spearmint but a little bit more spicy and savory. Home cooks can use any good French green lentils and regular mint for this hearty main-course salad.
As they cook, the lentils and linguine slurp up much of the vegetable-flavored broth, leaving a thick and hearty soup. Of course, if the soup is too thick for your taste, just stir in a little extra water.
Many of Madhur Jaffrey's books have an Indian slant, but she's most famous for her 1999 tome Madhur Jaffrey's World Vegetarian. While she often follows the Indian tradition of serving several small dishes together, the lentil-vegetable curry here is a Western-style main course. Eaten over rice with yogurt, it's a very satisfying meal.
Sophie Dahl fondly refers to this dish as Paris Mash because she used to make it in Paris while visiting an artist friend, Annie Morris. With herbs and a scattering of mâche (a sweet and tender green), the stewy lentils become a perfect combination of soup and salad. French green lentils work best here, because they hold their shape when cooked.
One of Defne Koryürek's favorite homemade sausages includes beef, lamb, red peppers and garlic; she loves eating it alongside a creamy salad of lentils, roasted peppers and sautéed pears. The recipe is also delicious when prepared with spicy, rich merguez sausage.
Spinach serves two purposes here: Half of the leaves are shredded and wilted with the warm lentils, while the rest is dressed and makes a base for the salad. For the cheese, choose a good-quality aged white or yellow cheddar; its sharp flavor will perfectly contrast the lentils' earthiness.
Cook the broccoli rabe in a separate pan, not in the soup pot. That way, any excess bitterness from the vegetable goes down the drain with the cooking water rather than into the soup. You'll find, though, that a bit of bite enlivens the lentils.
A center-cut salmon fillet is best for roasting because it is uniform in shape and thickness and cooks more evenly than an end piece. Served on a bed of lentils that have been simmered with vegetables and bits of bacon, it's to die for.
The inspiration for chef Tom Fundaro's garlicky lentil soup is the traditional cotechino pork sausage from the Italian region of Emilia-Romagna, where it's cooked slowly until moist and almost sticky, then served over creamy lentils. Fundaro's recipe skews pan-European, with French lentils, Manchego cheese and any really good garlic sausage.
During her stay in Bangladesh, Naomi Duguid fell in love with dals (soupy lentil dishes) known as tok dal, or tart dal. "They all have an intriguing balance of tartness from tamarind and lime, and sweetness from slow-cooked onions." While asparagu isn't a traditional ingredient, Duguid was inspired to add it because Bangladesh is so fertile, and many green vegetables grow there.
This hearty soup, with its lentils and sausage, seems made for savory. For a special version, use imported Vertes du Puy lentils, which have a rich, earthy flavor. A firm whole-grain bread would be ideal alongside.
A dinner of Brussels sprouts, turnips, carrots, and lentils may sound more like a punishment than a treat, but believe us—the combination is delicious. In fact, the general effect is actually rather delicate.