Lentils, Mushrooms and Walnuts: A basic multipurpose recipe

LentilMixLentils are one of my most favorite legumes/beans.  Legumes, by the way, are are seeds or beans that grow in pods.  The most common type of legume is peas.  Lentils are very inexpensive. A 16 oz bag only costs about $5.  They don’t have to be soaked overnight.  They only take 20-30 minutes to cook and readily absorb other flavors.  They’re extremely low in dietary fat and at about 30% protein, are an excellent healthy alternative to meat, chicken, fish or cheese.   They’re also rich in soluble fiber, antioxidants and iron. And they deliver long-lasting fullness and energy without big spikes in blood sugar.   I mean, really, how good is that?  All from a tiny little bean.

This is a drop dead delicious lentil mix recipe.  If you’ve never considered cooking and eating lentils, I highly recommend starting with this recipe, which can be adapted to fit multiple purposes.  It’s excellent as a portable one-dish lunch or a light dinner.  It works equally well as a side dish instead of potatoes or pasta.  It’s great as a stuffing for mushrooms/tomatoes/ zucchini or peppers,.  It can be an addition to salads.  If you cook the lentils until they’re mushy and mash them, you can even morph it into a veggie burger.   Use your imagination!

1 cup dry lentils (any kind)
2 cups water
3 tablespoons cider vinegar
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 red onion, minced
4-5 cloves garlic, minced
2 giant portobello mushrooms, minced
(or 8-10 white mushrooms, minced)
1/2 cup walnuts, minced
OPTIONAL: 1-2 cups of baby spinach, cut into thin strips
1 teaspoon coarse salt
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 teaspoon hot dry mustard

Put the lentils and water into a small saucepan.  Bring water to boil, lower to simmer, partially cover and cook until water dissolves.  This takes about 20 minutes.  Put the cooked lentils into a medium-sized mixing bowl.  Add the cider vinegar.  Toss to mix well.  And set aside.

Put 2 tablespoons of olive oil into a non-stick skillet.  Add onions and saute until onions are nicely browned, about 3-5 minutes.  Add all the remaining ingredients.  At this point, you may need to add another tablespoon of olive oil.  Saute for 5-7 minutes or until the veggie mixture is lightly brown and tender.  Add veggie mixture into lentils.

Lentils can be eaten right away or covered and stored in the frige for later use.  They get better tasting and keep well for several days.

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