Using dried legumes is an easy and healthy way of stretching your weekly food budget.
The larger beans, red and white kidney beans, for example, take a bit of planning as they need to be soaked for a few hours, then cooked for an hour or two (or three). Even small pinto beans need soaking before being cooked for an hour.
Lentils are easy.
They don’t need to be soaked and are done in 30 minutes or less, making them an easy component of a weekday dinner.
Lentils come in a variety of colors and sizes. I use the tiny, green ‘Lentils de Puy’ for this, but you can use the larger brown or tan lentils.
Don’t use the red or coral lentils. They are normally used to make dal (an Indian dish). They don’t hold their shape when cooked…. Which means they are great to have on hand to use to thicken soups and stews..
With the shallots, garlic, black olives and mustard this is reminiscent of long, slow lunches in Provence.
Preparation and cooking time: 45 minutes
- 1/3 cup dried lentils
- 1 cup stock or water
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 shallots
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 tsp olive oil
- 9 – 12 Greek olives
- 1 tbs fresh parsley
- 1 tbs Dijon-style Mustard
- Briefly inspect the lentils in case someone missed the odd stone. Rinse and drain.
- Cook the lentils in water and/or stock, with the bay leaf, about 30 minutes / according to package directions or until done.
- When done, remove from heat and drain if needed. Remove the bay leaf.
- Finely chop shallots and mince garlic.
- Heat oil in medium skillet over medium heat. When hot add shallots and garlic, sauté until tender, about 10 minutes.
- Pit the olives if needed. (I place them on a board, lay the blade of a heave knife flat on top and smack the knife with my hand, smashing the olive. This cracks them and the pits can easily be picked out. You could use a meat pounder, too.)
- Roughly chop olives and add to shallots along with the parsley and lentils. Heat through.
- Stir in the mustard and serve.
This dish is part of the Weekly Menu for July 27. Twice the needed lentils are cooked; half for this recipe, the other half to be used in a pasta dish later in the week. Another advantage to legumes – they can be cooked ahead and keep well in the fridge or freezer.