Lentils are one of my favorite pulses. They cook fast without soaking and are versatile for so many culinary creations from soups to salads to tacos just to name a few uses. This week I have chosen lentils as a "batch cooking" ingredient.
Batch cooking refers to a) cooking dishes in big batches and freezing for many meals or b) cooking many meals at the beginning of the week. What I did was to cook a lot of one ingredient, lentils, and then I prepared them into many meals to use all week. By cooking just one or two ingredients, like beans or grains, you can lower your food cost because you are not buying so many ingredients. My grocery bill was $63 at Trader Joes and it included the three meals below plus ravioli and some fresh fruit for dessert.
I have a few meals socked away so I don't have to make another mess in the kitchen and can have a home-made meal without any effort.
To make these meals, cook a one-pound bag of lentils following the package directions. Green lentils are the most common and the ones I am using here.
Here is what I made with the cooked lentils:
- Vegetarian lentil soup
- Lentil burrito with a mixed green salad
- Mediterranean cold salad plate with lentils, greens, hummus, orzo, and falafel
The lentil mushroom soup is easy to make! You can make this soup on the stove or in a glass pan in the microwave.
- 2 cups mirepoix: chopped onions, celery, and carrots
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 2 cups cooked lentils
- 1 cup sliced mushrooms
- vegetable broth
- 2 tsp Italian seasoning
Saute the mirepoix with the olive oil for 3-4 minutes or until the onions are translucent.
Add the lentils and mushrooms and continue cooking for a few minutes. Add the broth and the Italian seasoning. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook for 8 minutes. Serve hot.
I made the vegetable broth using low-sodium bouillon cubes that are available in the soup aisle of the grocery store. They are inexpensive, don't take up a lot of space, and the broth never disappoints when used in soups and other dishes.
Soup always looks more appetizing in a colorful bowl!
- flour corn tortillas
- fresh salsa
- mixed greens
Place the lentils and other ingredients on the tortilla then roll it up! Serve with a green salad, tomatoes, and your favorite dressing.
Mediterranean Cold Salad Plate
- goat cheese
- mixed greens
- your favorite salad dressing
Arrange all ingredients on a large plate. I added a warmed flour tortilla on the side. Most of these items were already prepared from Trader Joe's. But you can find them in your grocery store. Orzo is a pasta that is shaped like rice.
Here are more ideas with lentils:
- chili (use them in place of beans cup for cup)
- serve as a side dish with baked chicken or fish
- in lettuce wraps
- bolognese sauce
- vegetarian fajitas
- vegetarian Nicoise salad using them in place of the tuna
They are also very popular in many Indian dishes so you can google Indian and lentil.
Judy’s passion for cooking began with helping her grandmother make raisin oatmeal for breakfast. From there she earned her first food service job at 15, was accepted to the world-famous Culinary Institute of America at 18 (where she graduated second in her class), and went on to the Fachschule Richemont in Switzerland where she focused on pastry arts and baking. After a decade in food service for Hyatt Hotels, Judy launched Food and Health Communications to focus on flavor and health. She graduated with Summa Cum Laude distinction from Johnson and Wales University with a BS in Culinary Art, holds a master’s degree in Food Business from the Culinary Institute of America, 2 art certificates from UC Berkeley Extension, and runs a food photography studio where her love is creating fun recipes.
Judy received The Culinary Institute of America’s Pro Chef II certification, the American Culinary Federation Bronze Medal, Gold Medal, and ACF Chef of the Year. Her enthusiasm for eating nutritiously and deliciously leads her to constantly innovate and use the latest in nutritional science and Dietary Guidelines to guide her creativity, from putting new twists on fajitas to adapting Italian brownies to include ingredients like toasted nuts and cooked honey. Judy’s publishing company, Food and Health Communications, is dedicated to her vision that everyone can make food that tastes as good as it is for you.