Lentils & Rice

Upon a rainy and thundery Wednesday morning, I thought the coziest thing I could plate up for dinner would be lentils and rice.

I don’t remember the last time I indulged in this humble, comforting dish, so I thought it was the perfect time to make some. To my surprise, Husband had never had lentils. Lentils are an odd thing – the best description I could come up with was a cross between a split pea and a bean.

A bag of lentils could easily serve 6-8 people, and a one lb bag usually costs less than $2. Lentils are good for diabetics because they lower blood sugar levels and have been found to lower the risk of death from heart disease by 82%. They also have a lot of iron and 2 B vitamins, both of which help fight fatigue, plus a quarter of the calories in lentils come from protein.

There are many ways you can cook lentils; stove top, crock pot – but I had so longed to use my dutch oven for the past several months. Making lentils and rice couldn’t be easier. In the dutch oven, I sauteed up a half an onion, roughly chopped, and then dumped a package of lentils in {after rinsing} with 10 cups of water {I used extra water on purpose so the lentils could cook all day}, 1/2 TSP of cayenne, 2 TSP of salt, a TSP of black pepper and 2 TSP of Italian Seasoning {or equal parts Oregano, Basil and Parsley}. Bring the pot to a boil, cover and then turn the pot on low. I let it simmer like that for about 6 hours {they only actually need to cook for about an hour, but I love the depth of flavor that slow cooking adds}. If you do this, you need to make sure you are occasionally stirring throughout the cooking process, otherwise the lentils will settle at the bottom of the dutch oven and burn.

An hour before the lentils have finished cooking, you can start the rice. I did a mixture of 1 part brown Jasmine rice and 1 part wild black rice. Follow the cooking instructions – it should take about 50 minutes.

When everything is finished, plate up a serving of rice, and spoon the lentils over the top. We served ours with a side of roasted butternut squash.

Enjoy!

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