Thursday, February 12, 2015

Garlicky Red Lentil Puree

I hated lentils growing up. Not sure my parents even knew that, but I really did hate them. My mom would often make green lentils with sausages, and a sprinkle of vinegar over them to perk them up, and I thought this was horrible. Surprising, really, because now I like them and make that very same dish fairly frequently. 

They are so versatile - you can do so much with them. Lentils can be cooked into soups, made into hearty stews with a plethora of vegetables, cooked and then eaten cold in salads, or even whirled into purees.

Lentils are eaten the world over, so there must be something to them! For one thing, they are really packed with nutrients and fiber.

There are French green, puy, black, yellow and red lentils.
The one type I never could really get into was the red one. I found it often too mushy and shapeless to do anything with, so for a long while, I never bought them. Red lentils are used frequently in Indian cuisine, and are typically made into soup because they do cook fast and tend to be a little soft. And I have found, for this reason they make a great dip!

Garlicky Red Lentil Puree is such a dip.

Red lentils take on a deep garlic flavor and are punched up with a puckery dose of lemon juice, a subtle infusion of cumin, and a blast of chili powder and red pepper sauce. For an all-around garlic fest, serve this dip with garlic bagel chips. If you don't like things as garlicky as this, tone it down by using regular extra virgin olive oil and fewer garlic cloves. But come on - live a little! Garlic purifies the blood. Go for it!

1 cup red lentils
1 1/2 cups water
6 large garlic cloves, preferably roasted (this will soften the impact)
1/4 cup roasted garlic olive oil
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. hot red pepper sauce (like Tabasco) (optional)

Place lentils and water in a small saucepan and bring the water to a boil over high heat. Boil for 3 minutes and then remove the pan from the heat. Cover and let stand for 12 minutes. The lentils will have absorbed almost all of the water.

In the work bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade, process the lentils, roasted garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, salt, cumin, chili powder and hot pepper sauce until pureed and smooth. Taste and add more salt, if desired. Transfer to a serving bowl and serve with crudités, pita chips, bagel chips, your favorite gluten-free cracker or chip, or some blanched vegetables.

This dip can be prepared up to 3 days in advance. Cover and refrigerate. Remove from fridge 20 minutes before serving. It tastes better at room temperature.

1 comment :

  1. Thanks for this post. I love lentils! FraaaaaffffTttTTttttt!


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