Beans and Lentils: Recipes, tips and information

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Beans and Lentils: Recipes, tips and information

This topic contains 144 replies, has 34 voices, and was last updated by  William__ 2 months, 1 week ago.

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  • Thanks LJ,

    Another recipe on the must try list………

    I saw a paella being made with pearl barley on a cookery show and they soaked the grains for 30 minutes before cooking them.
    Soaking them in stock would be a good idea as they would still take up a lot of flavour but take less time to cook.

    This is adapted from

    I think of dahl as a quintessentially Indian dish, but this version has south-east asian flavours.

    This will make 2 litres (8 cups) of dahl and takes about 20 minutes to cook.

    approx 4 cups vegetable stock
    1 tblsp oil
    1 onion, finely chopped
    1 stick of celery, finely chopped
    2 tsp crushed garlic
    2 tsp fresh grated ginger
    2 tsp finely grated turmeric (or 1tsp powdered tumeric)
    1 tsp garam masala
    2 cups (400g) red lentils
    400ml lite coconut milk
    salt, to taste
    a generous handful of shaved coconut (I used dried , but fresh would be fine)
    2 kefir lime leaves

    Heat 1tbls oil in a large saucepan over high heat. Add onion and celery and cook, stirring, for 4-5 minutes or until soft. Add garlic, ginger, turmeric and garam masala. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute or until combined. Add the lentils, shaved coconut and the lime leaves.
    Add half the stock and the coconut milk. (At this stage it looks more like a buttermilk sambar than dahl.)
    Simmer gently, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid is absorbed. Add another cup of stock and simmer until absorbed. At this stage taste the dahl and add salt if required. Check the lentils for tenderness and add as much of the remaining stock as required. Once the lentils are cooked, put the lid on and leave off the heat until required. Remove the lime leaves before use.

    The original recipe suggested serving this warm with slices of roasted pumpkin and a green snake bean salad.
    I plan to serve it with roasted pumpkin slices and a cucumber and yoghurt raita.

    The cooked dahl can be frozen once it has cooled completely.

    Due to a request on another discussion thread I have worked out the calorie count for the dahl recipe above.

    The Lentil Coconut dahl is 235 calories (989kj)per cup.
    It might vary a little depending on the stock and coconut milk that you use.
    I counted a handful of shaved coconut as 15 grams because that’s how much fits into my hand.

    If you want a lower calorie count I would suggest:
    – leave out the shaved coconut
    – use half a tin of coconut milk and replace with extra stock.
    – reduce the oil to 1tsp.
    – reduce the lentils by 100g (you would need less stock also), replace the volume with 2 cups of grated or minced vegetables such as carrot, sweet potato, zucchini, squash, green beans, cauliflower.

    I didn’t make this for fast days. But 1 cup teamed with veg or salad would work as a FD meal.

    A chickpea shortage means hummus prices are set to rise

    Eeep! But whew! Australians will be okay.

    Indonesian Grain and Legume salad
    This is adapted from Mollie Katzen’s “Moosewood” cookbook. In its original form it’s a brown rice salad, but I normally use alternate grains with a higher fibre content. I also removed a lot of the oil and the honey and most of the fruit.
    I find it useful as it works hot or cold and it’s about texture and flavour balance so a lot of substitutions work well.

    Ingredients – Part 1
    1 cup dry grains (freeka, kasha buckwheat, spelt couscous, pearl barley or brown rice)
    1 tblsp sesame oil
    1 orange, juice only (or use 1/3 cup bottled orange juice)
    2 tsp apple cider vinegar (or more if you prefer)
    1 tblsp tamari (low sodium Japanese soy)
    1 tsp minced garlic
    Optional – a finely minced fresh chilli

    Ingredients – Part 2
    ½ cup roasted chopped nuts (pine nuts, peanut, cashews or almonds)
    1 tblsp sesame seeds
    1/3 cup dried currants or sultanas or a grated apple
    2-3 cups finely chopped “crunchy” raw vegetables – eg spring onion, celery, capsicum, snow peas, water chestnuts, grated carrot etc
    250g fresh sprouted mung beans or brown lentils – these are not the long bean sprouts used in Chinese cooking, they are sprouted beans with a very short tail (see below). Alternatively you can use 1 ½ cups cooked drained puy lentils, brown lentils, chickpeas or mung beans.

    Cook or soak your grains as appropriate. The methods vary wildy depending on which grain you choose. If you want this salad fast, choose couscous as you just pour boiling water over the top and leave it for 20 minutes.
    As soon as the grains are cooked, drained and very hot, add all the remaining ingredients from part one so they soak into the grains and flavour them.
    If you are having this as a warm salad, add all the ingredients from part 2, mix well and serve immediately. If you want a cold salad, allow the grains to cool completely before adding the ingredients from part 2 – they stay crisper this way.

    This makes 7-8 cups of salad. It is a very filling salad and I find can be a complete meal in itself or used in small portions as a side salad.
    I have not worked out calories and don’t intend to as there are too many variables depending on chosen grains, legumes, nuts and vegetables.

    Note: If you are still confused about the sprouted beans, this picture shows what I mean. I find that both greengrocers and larger supermarkets sell these in plastic tubs, usually located next to the alfalfa sprouts.

    The BBC recipe site had a link to chickpea recipes today. Some look very good.

    A nice read about the intricacies of dal making, and a recipe I am keen to try

    Poritha Kootu
    Mung Dal

    One with wow factor. Red Kidney bean Chocolate Cake.

    This “Syrian Brunch” from the BBC website takes one pot of soaked dry chick peas and then turns them into multiple dishes. That’s exactly the way I tend to treat soaked legumes – I like to get a lot of mileage from the effort. This felafel recipe sounds almost exactly like the one I normally make, with exactly the same spices.

    Really enjoyed reading lots of these recipes- thank you all for posting!
    If you’re after something really quick on a FD, I use a weightwatchers recipe I found for chickpea salsa. Basically mix a tin of drained chickpeas with chopped red onion, halved cherry tomatoes, chopped chilli to taste, then pour over a dressing of a little sweet chilli dipping sauce mixed with lime juice. Scatter over chopped coriander, & serve either cold or warmed through.

    Since peanuts are technically legumes….

    10 recipes

    I was looking for some new ideas to use the collection of pulses/legumes in my pantry. I came across this and a few of the recipes look tempting enough to try.

    Hi there everyone, my husband and I are just about to start our fast journey, problem is he can’t stand chickpeas (I love them) and as lot’s if recipes use them, I was wondering what could I substitute them with that have roughly the same calorific values etc? Thank you 😁 x

    Hi Layne,
    Hopefully someone who knows more about calorie counts will come along to help you. But my suggestions re substitutes for chickpeas would depend on the particular recipe. I presume a different bean to substitute isn’t going to work? So I’d suggest small cubes of sweet potato, pumpkin or parsnip could be considered. Small cubes of tofu or tempe. Quartered water chestnuts would work in some recipes. Cubes of beef or lamb. And some recipes could work fine with the chickpeas left out all together.
    btw your husband is crazy 😉

    Hi Cinque
    Thanks for your super quick reply.
    Oddly enough he does like all other beans and pulses and yes he is crazy 😂, so perhaps I shall just have to experiment with what to you said depending on the recipe type/style. I love the sound of your suggestions too and will happily give them a try. Again thank you 😁 x

    Good luck. 🙂 If he eats other beans, that is what I would substitute. Slightly different texture and taste, but should still work well. Maybe black-eyed beans would be a close substitute.

    Here’s a link to the red lentil and tomato soup I’ve been eating for over 15 years and on 5:2 fast days
    Calorie calculations included.

    Mexican Bean Salad

    This salad is a family favorite during the warm months of the year. I rarely measure ingredients and just add them to taste. If I’ve planned ahead I cook my own beans, but more often I end up using beans from a can, 2 or 3 tins of each.

    It has black, pinto, kidney, chick peas, and some cut sweet corn, red capsicum, chopped fresh cilantro, chopped celery, chopped sweet onions, small black olives. and chopped jalapeños. Dressing is mostly lime juice with a little balsamic, cumin, a little chili powder and garlic, and salt.

    I usually make about 3 day’s worth at a time. It gets better after it sits overnight.

    Thanks Cali 🙂

    And Lemonstar 🙂

    For those of you who love beans and also love a beautiful piece of writing, here is a treat for you:

    Makes 2.5-3 litres, depending on how much water you add.

    1 cup puy, brown or blue lentils
    ¼ cup split mung beans (or use extra lentils)
    1-2 tbsp vegetable oil
    1 large onion, peeled and coarsely chopped
    2 tsp chopped garlic
    4 tsp peeled and finely chopped fresh ginger
    2 tsp ground cumin
    1 tsp ground coriander
    2 tsp madras curry powder
    ½ tsp turmeric
    ¼ tsp black pepper
    1 litre water, or more as needed
    2 potatoes, scrubbed and finely diced
    2 carrots, scrubbed and finely diced
    2 celery sticks, chopped
    12 fresh curry leaves
    2 tblsp lime juice
    3-4 tsp chicken stock powder (I used Massel low sodium)
    salt to taste
    natural yogurt or kefir, to serve

    Place the lentils and split mung beans in a bowl and cover with plenty of water for several hours or overnight.

    Heat oil in a large heavy-based saucepan over a medium-low heat.
    Add onion, garlic and ginger, cook for 10 mins, stirring frequently. Add the ground cumin, coriander, madras powder, turmeric and pepper. Cook for a further 4-5 minutes, stirring to stop it sticking.

    Add 1 litre water, potatoes, carrots, celery, curry leaves and the drained lentils to the onion mixture and bring to the boil. Reduce heat and simmer for an hour. Check it as it cooks and add water if needed.

    Add the stock powder and lime juice and stir well. Add salt if it’s needed.

    Using a stick blender, pulse to puree some of the soup, leaving some of it chunky. Add more water if it’s too thick.

    To serve, ladle soup into bowls and add yogurt or kefir. Stir this through. Don’t be tempted to omit this, I think it turn a nice soup into a delicious one.

    Note: You can use stock instead of the water and stock powder but it should be salt free stock as salt tends to make the skins on legumes tough – best to add any ingredients that contain salt after the legumes are tender.

    Sorry, forgot to mention that I also added a heaped teaspoon of fenugreek to the Mulligatawny with the other spices.

    dinners up to 500 kcal 🙂

    Pasta with zucchini
    Ingredients for 1 servings:

    double-split pasta-50g,
    tomato – big,
    extra-tart butter,
    Whole wheat flour – spoon.

    Ingredients for 1 serving
    chicken breast – 100g
    garlic – 1 clove
    olive oil – spoon
    parsley, leaves – half a bunch
    natural yogurt-spoon
    brown rice – a half pouch
    a pinch of salt, pepper
    Garlic sauce:
    natural yogurt-75g
    pepper, a pinch of salt

    Ingredients for 1 person:
    buckwheat -50g of dry product,
    white skinny-50g cheese,
    egg yolk,
    onion-half-average art,
    rye bran – 2 tablespoons,
    pepper, a pinch of salt.
    tomatoes – 2 medium pieces,
    half-average onion,
    olive oil / rapeseed oil-spoon,
    oregano, basil

    I just found a recipe for hummus soup. I make hummus frequently but had never considered turning it into a soup. Sounds filling, tasty and creamy.

    Pakoras (baked not fried)

    I measured nothing when concocting these, so my measurements should be used as a guide only. It’s really about getting the texture right.

    2 cups vegetables chopped or sliced into small pieces (matchstick shapes seem to tangle together better, which helps)- I recommend including some onion in the mix
    1/2 cup besan (chickpea) flour
    2 tablespoons SR flour
    1/4 tsp garlic salt (or use salt and garlic)
    2 tsp cumin powder
    1 tsp coriander powder
    1/2 tsp turmeric powder
    optional – chilli powder ( I didn’t use it but regretted not putting a pinch in)
    1 tablespoon peanut oil (or similar)
    oil spray
    yoghurt-mint raita to serve

    Put the vegetables into a bowl and mix 1 tsp of the cumin powder through the veg. Set aside.

    Make the batter by mixing the flours with the remaining spices. Gradually add water until you have a very thick batter, it should not be runny. (Thick cake batter consistency – one that has to be scraped rather than poured into the tin.) It needs to bind the vegetables together and not run off and form a puddle!

    Add the oil to the batter and beat it in well.
    Then add the vegetables and gently stir until the veggies are well coated.

    Take an enamel baking tray and line with baking paper. They spray lightly with oil. Put mounds of the mixture on the tray. I made 6 generous sized mounds, but the mixture would have made 10-12 smaller bite-sized pakoras. See the first picture below.

    Bake at 180C for 30 minutes – this is just long enough to cook the vegetables and set the batter so it holds the pakora together. See picture 2 below.

    Pakoras are normally deep fried. This makes them crunchy on the outside and soft in the middle. To replicate this without oil you need a high heat for a short time. I used an air fryer at 200C to achieve this, but if you the put the tray under a grill (broiler) it should give you a similar result. The only difference with a grill is that you will need to turn them over to crisp both sides. In the airfryer it too 8 minutes. If you use the grill check after 5 minutes and they should be ready to turn over. Just keep a close eye on them as they go from brown to burned quickly.

    Serve immediately with raita – see picture 3 below.
    The pictures are – before baking, after baking, after grilling or airfrying

    If you wanted to make these without the small amount of wheat flour I would suggest replacing it with the same amount of besan flour and a generous pinch of baking powder.

    Lots of lovely Dal variations:
    Some are thick others are soupy and they use quite a variety of different legumes.

    Thank you so much for this link! I love pulses and this website is fabulous. Great thread and awesome recipes, thanks everyone

    Thanks to PerthGirl, a link to a delicious Kidney bean curry

    This one looks SO delicious:

    Aracena chicken with chickpeas

    A favourite chicken dish at Finca Buenvino in Andalucia, Spain. Chickpeas are used in myriad dishes in Spanish cuisine.

    Red Lentils paste recipe 🙂

    what you need?
    1 cup of red lentils
    1 small onion
    2 garlic cloves
    15-20 g of rapeseed oil
    30 g of tomato paste
    30 g of freshly ground sesame
    30 g of freshly ground sunflower seeds
    20 g of freshly ground linseed
    a pinch of pepper, sweet pepper, salt

    How to prepare?
    Rinse the lentils several times until the water is clear. Cook red lentils about 10 minutes longer than the information on the package.
    In a separate pot, fry chopped onion and garlic with all spices in rapeseed oil. When the onion is fried, add the concentrate and fry for about 2 minutes.

    Remove the rest of the water from the cooked lentils.
    And combine lentils with onions and ground sesame, flax, and sunflower.

    Sometimes I add more garlic just before I eat the paste. But it is your decision. It taste good with raw veggies and bread

    Gigantes plaki is roughly a greek version of baked beans. As I didn’t want to turn the oven on tonight I made a stove top version. Useful for summer when you don’t want to heat up the house – and a bit faster than the baked version.

    1-2 tbsp olive oil
    1-2 onions, chopped
    1 carrot, peeled and finely sliced
    2 cloves garlic, sliced
    1 tsp paprika
    1 tsp cinnamon
    salt and pepper
    3 cups cooked, gigantes, (or other white bean eg cannellini)
    400 g tin chopped tomatoes
    500ml tomato puree (not paste)
    1 tsp sugar or stevia
    2 tsp dried oregano (or 2 tblsp fresh, chopped)
    50g baby spinach
    Large handful fresh parsley
    8-10 fresh mint leaves
    1 tblsp extra virgin olive oil

    Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Add the onion and carrot, along with the garlic, cinnamon, paprika, cracked pepper and a pinch of salt. Cook over a low heat for 5 minutes until onion has softened. Don’t let it brown.
    Drain and rinse the beans and add to the pan, then add the tinned tomatoes, ½ tin water and the puree, oregano and sugar. Bring to the boil, then reduce to a gentle simmer, cover and cook for 20 minutes.
    Taste and adjust seasoning if required. Simmer without the lid until very thick – check often so it doesn’t stick.
    Roughly chop the baby spinach, then add to the pan and cook uncovered for 2 minutes.
    Roughly chop the parsley and mint and stir through the stew just before serving.
    Once you’ve put it into the serving bowls drizzle a little extra virgin olive oil over the top. You can use an infused oil of you prefer (I used lemon infused EVO)

    Can be eaten as a vegan main or a veggie side dish.
    Nice also with crumbled feta on top.

    The iced water trick for hummus

    It is just about March and I am nominating turtle beans (black beans) as bean of the month!

    Here is some wonderful info about black beans

    Everything you need to know about black beans

    Why You Should Always Have Black Beans on Your Grocery List

    What’s New and Beneficial About Black Beans

    What is your favourite black bean recipe?

    I’ve gone back through the posts here to see what black bean recipes I could find.

    There are three I posted, but shame, I hadn’t tried them, and I still haven’t! Just in case I (or anyone else) might want to this month, here they are again:

    Black bean veggie burgers:

    Spicy Mexican Black bean soup:

    Black bean brownies:

    But lets get to the real gold, recipes that have been tried and tested by the people who posted:

    Chubster’s Cuban-style black bean soup

    Cali’s Mexican bean salad: (with a mix of beans):

    Thanks to Cali for this one


    Serves 10

    8 ounces black beans
    1 teaspoon oregano
    1 teaspoon garlic powder
    1 teaspoon black pepper
    1 tablespoon ham base
    3 quarts, 6 ounces water
    2 1/2 ounces sherry
    6 ounces flour
    6 ounces oil
    1 teaspoon thyme
    1/2 teaspoon celery salt
    2 bay leaves
    1 tablespoon grated egg
    Lemon slice

    1. Place black beans into a 4-quart cooking pot. Add spices, ham base and water.
    Bring to a boil and simmer for 2 hours.
    2. Add sherry. Prepare roux by mixing oil and flour in a small bowl. Mix thoroughly
    and add to the pot, stirring constantly.
    3. Set fire below simmering point and cook for 15 more minutes. Garnish with a
    lemon slice and grated egg.

    — Recipe from “Solomon Grundy’s Cookbook.”


    Salsa Style

    Ingredients chopped in whatever quantities you like

    black beans,
    fresh pineapple,
    avocado (preferably firm enough to keep its shape),
    red onion (or shallots).

    Add in some sliced red chilli (sometimes hot, sometimes mild) and fresh coriander or flat leaf parsley.

    Dress this with olive oil and lime juice, salt and pepper.

    It is yummy on it’s own or with a bit of chicken or steak. I think it would be nice with mango also if it’s not too ripe.

    Looks like a lovely recipe. Thanks Cinque.

    Lentil Shepherd’s Pie

    6-8 serves, depending on how many side vegetables you serve it with.

    4 cups cooked brown lentils, drained
    1 tblsp oil
    1-2 chopped onions
    2 cloves garlic, crushed
    4 cups any minced, grated or finely chopped vegetables (eg mushrooms, carrots, sweet potato, celery, eggplant/aubergine, zucchini/courgette, capsicum/peppers – just use what you have)
    400g tin crushed tomatoes or similar amount of tomato pasta sauce or passata
    1 tsp beef flavoured stock powder or a tsp of vegemite
    2 tsp dry mixed herbs
    1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
    2 tblsp tomato paste
    For the topping:
    3 large potatoes plus an equivalent amount of other suitable mashing veg (carrots, sweet potato, pumpkin, turnip, parsnip, celeriac, cauliflower etc)
    salt & pepper
    butter and a little milk
    a handful of grated parmesan (optional)

    Peel the root veg and cut into large chunks. Simmer in salted water until just tender and then drain well. Add some pepper and butter and mash. If the mixture is dry add a little milk (this will depend on which veg you’ve used). Add the parmesan and stir through.

    Heat the oil in a large saucepan or stockpot and soften the onions. Add the minced vegetables, garlic and herbs and stir for a couple of minutes. Add the tomatoes, worchestershire sauce and stock powder and simmer for 30 minutes.
    Remove from the heat and add the lentils and tomato paste and stir through.

    Heat the oven to 180C.
    Pour the lentil mixture into a large rectangular casserole or roasting pan. Top with the mash and bake for 45 minutes, or until the top is nicely browned.

    A nice find today: Frida Kahlo’s black bean soup

    I have been using the same trusted roti flatbread recipie for years but today decided to experiment. The result was, that I now know it’s ok to replace up to half of the atta flour with a legume flour. Today I used soy four, nut I think besan (chickpea) or lentil flours would be even better. I though the reduction in gluten may mean the little flatbreads wouldn’t hold together, but I noticed no difference from using all wheat flour.

    Roti (makes 8 large roti)

    3 cups atta or plain flour* (you can replace up to half with a legume flour)
    ¼ – ½ tsp salt
    250ml buttermilk (or mix 100ml yoghurt with 150ml water)
    20-40g butter
    Ghee or vegetable oil
    Optional – sesame or cumin seeds

    *Note – I always use atta flour for these, which is a very finely ground wholemeal, if you use white plain flour you may need slightly less liquid as it is less absorbent than wholemeal flour.

    Place the flours and salt into a bowl. Rub in the butter. Add the buttermilk to make a dough. Add the seeds if desired.
    Knead until smooth. Add a little extra flour during kneading if necessary.
    Oil the surface of the dough and place in a covered clean bowl for at least 30 minutes – preferably longer (it will keep for days in the fridge at this stage, just bring it to room temperature before using).
    Divide the dough into 8 portions. Roll out to a 20-25cm diameter adding as little extra flour as you can manage.
    (If you roll them larger, the thin dough will cook flat like a chapatti, but the thicker dough will puff up to form a pocket like pita bread.)
    Heat a heavy based pan over medium-high heat. (I always use a cast iron skillet.)
    Working one at a time, brush the bread lightly with oil or melted ghee on one side and place oiled side down in the pan. Cook for about 2 minutes on each side, or until the surface develops dark spots. You don’t need to oil the second side as enough will remain on the cooking surface.
    Repeat with the remaining flatbread.

    Serve them hot, with curries, yoghurt, hummus, raita, salad, felafel, grilled paneer or haloumi, legumes… the options are endless

    Today I made them to go with a bowl of curry, but some of the remaining roti will be used to make wraps with a felafel, hummus, yoghurt and salad filling. A very versatile bread.


    I started with this recipe, which uses just a few pantry items and would have the soup on the table in 5 minutes. This recipie is really no more complicated than making tinned soup would be – and considering the legumes it would be much healthier than most.

    However the lack of fresh vegetables was an issue for me (especially as I had some I wanted to use) and I had the time to make a soup from scratch. So I adapted the recipie, still using only things I had in the pantry or fridge.

    1 3/4 cups dried black beans (kidney, borlotti or adzuki would also work well)
    a little olive oil
    1 large onion, finely chopped
    1 heaped tsp crushed garlic
    salt & pepper
    chilli to taste (fresh, sauce, powdered, dried, crushed…)
    2 tsp chicken stock powder (I used Massel vegan stock powder)
    2 carrots, topped, tailed, scrubbed and finely chopped
    1 zucchini, topped, tailed and finely chopped
    1 red capsicum, deseeded and chopped
    approx 250g button mushrooms, wiped clean and finely chopped.
    2 x 400g tins of crushed tomatoes
    1 cup tomato puree/passata

    Soak the black beans in plenty of water for at least 4 hours. I changed the water half way through to remove the inky black water. Once they have finished soaking, replace the water with lots of fresh water and simmer until just tender (this took 60 minutes). Remove from the heat and drain most of the water off – I left about a cup of water in the pot.

    In a large saucepan or stockpot, heat a little olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions, capsicum and garlic and a small pinch of salt and ground pepper to taste. Stir until the onions have softened. The onions should soften rather than brown, so turn down the heat if necessary (the pinch of salt helps release water from the onions which helps them to soften rather than brown).
    If using fresh chilli or chilli powder add it to the onions and stir for a minute to release the fragrance.
    Add the chopped vegetables and stir to combine, stirring for a couple of minutes.
    Add the tinned tomatoes and puree (and chilli sauce if you are using that).
    Add the stock powder and enough water to cover (I added about 750ml).
    Simmer uncovered until the vegetables are tender – check the water levels and stir occasionally to avoid sticking.
    Then add the beans and reserved liquid, stir through and bring it back to a simmer. (The bean cooking liquid that you kept will help thicken the soup.)
    If the soup is too thick add a little more fresh water. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary. I am usually miserly with chilli initially as I can always add more at this stage, but can’t remove it.

    Serve with whatever accompaniments you fancy. On a low cal day I just had it with 20g of low fat grated cheddar but on a NFD I had a more generous amount of normal cheddar, a big dollop of greek yoghurt and some toasted rye sourdough.

    It’s a delicious and substantial soup, that tastes just like vegetarian chilli and is almost as thick. Very filling and full of healthy veg.

    I found this on a favourite recipie site of mine:

    It’s a simple chickpea, red lentil and spinach curry. Given that the only fresh vegetable required is onions, it’s also a good option for using pantry and freezer items.

    Given the cooler summer days I have made two extremely different lentil soups today and am sharing both.

    The main flavourings are vinegar, EVO, cinnamon and bay leaves – I know it sounds like an odd combination, but I promise it’s wonderful.

    4 cups cooked (or 2 cups dry) brown lentils.
    2 onions
    2-3 carrots
    2 zucchini
    2 tsp crushed garlic
    2-3 tsp olive oil
    1-2 tblsp extra virgin olive oil
    1-3 tsp apple cider vinegar (you can use other vinegars too)
    3-4 bay leaves
    1 heaped tsp beef stock powder
    2 tsp dry oregano
    1/2 tsp cinnamon
    400g tin of crushed tomatoes (or 1 1/2 cups fresh skinned chopped tomatoes)
    1 cup tomato passata
    salt and pepper to taste
    Note: this recipe can be made with cooked or dry lentils – you just add them to the pot at a different stage in the cooking.

    Finely chop or mince all of the vegetables.
    Heat the ordinary olive oil (not the EVO) in a large saucepan or stockpot.
    Add the onion and cook over a gentle heat, stirring occasionally until they start to soften. Add the garlic, carrot, zucchini and cinnamon and stir for a minute or two.
    If you are using the dry brown lentils add them at this point and stir for a minute.
    Add the tinned tomatoes and passata and 3 cups water – if you have added dry lentils add an extra 2 cups water.
    Add the bay leaves, oregano, stock powder and 1 tsp apple cider vinegar and stir.
    Simmer gently for 20 minutes.
    If you are using cooked lentils add them now and return the soup to a simmer. Simmer for a further 20 minutes, or until the brown lentils are very tender and the soup is thick.
    Remove the soup from the heat and taste. Add more vinegar if necessary – I always want more, but it’s definitely a matter of personal taste. Add salt and pepper to taste.
    Remove the bay leaves (if you can find them all).
    You can either add the extra virgin olive oil at this stage and stir it through, or serve the soup in bowls and drizzle 1-2 tsp of EVO onto each serve.

    There are many versions of the above soup, but I make the one taught to me by a school friend’s Greek mother.

    By contrast to the above soup the following is a creamy dairy laden lentil soup.

    25g butter
    2-3 carrots, peeled and diced
    1 onion, peeled and chopped (you can use french shallots or leek instead)
    2 potatoes, peeled and diced
    a large handful of green beans, sliced
    1-2 zucchini, diced
    1 red capsicum diced
    50g split red lentils
    2 bay leaves
    1 tsp chicken stock powder
    Salt and pepper
    40g flour
    100g cheddar cheese, grated
    450ml milk

    Melt the butter and gently fry the vegetables until softened.
    Add 500ml water, stock powder, lentils, bay leaves and seasonings. Simmer for 30 minutes.
    Remove the 2 bay leaves.
    Mix the flour with a little of the milk and blend until smooth, then blend into the rest of the milk.
    Add the milk to the soup and stir until the soup thickens. Simmer for 5 minutes.
    Add the cheese and stir through.
    This is a rich, creamy and filling soup. I find I need a smaller serve than I would with other veggie soups that contain less dairy.

    I love such dishes after they’ve been reheated and the flavours have really developed, so it is done and ready for reheating later.

    Flatbreads made from legumes

    On the BBC site today, I found this recipe for a pancake made from soaked red lentils and chickpea flour. I haven’t tried it yet, but I will. I love most Indian flatbreads and any that increase my legume intake are an added bonus.

    I also have an even simpler red lentil bread:

    Red Lentil Tortilla (makes 8)
    1 cup split red lentils, rinsed and drained
    2 cups water
    1/4 teaspoon salt

    Combine the rinsed lentils and 2 cups water in a medium bowl; loosely cover. Let stand, at room temperature, for at least 6 hours or up to 12 hours.
    Do not drain the lentils.
    Add the entire contents of bowl (soaked lentils and remaining water) and salt to a blender or food processor, Blend on HIGH speed until completely smooth (no tiny bumps) stopping once or twice to scrape down the sides of container. The batter should look somewhat fluffy. Scrape into a bowl or measuring jug.
    Heat a nonstick skillet (cast iron is ideal), or a nonstick griddle, to medium heat.
    Once warm, add 1/4 cup of batter to the centre of the pan (the recipe yields 2 cups of batter). Using the back of a metal spoon, spread the batter into a 12-15cm circle.
    Cook for 60-90 seconds until surface of tortilla appears dry. Slide a spatula underneath and flip. Cook about 1 minute longer to brown other side. Transfer to cooling rack and repeat with the remaining batter.

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