The first time I remember seeing – or tasting – lentils was when my Grandmother stayed with us after having a heart attack – sometime in the mid-to-late ’60s. Her Doctor told her to eat them because they were good for heart health.

And heart-healthy, they are! They’re full of:

  • Molybdenum
  • Fiber
  • Iron
  • Maganese
  • Protein
  • Potassium
  • Folate
  • Phosphorous
  • etc……

They really are one of nature’s perfect foods.

While Grandma was eating hers fairly plain, my Mom made some pretty awesome soups.

The only lentils I remember from my youth were brown. Like so many foods, it took a long time for many of the numerous types and colors to hit the mainstream. Today, you can find any number of varieties at just about any grocery store.

And at any given moment we probably have at least three varieties in the cupboard:

  • Lentilles du Puy –  French Green Lentils. I usually get these at Reading Terminal Market or Atlantic Spice
  • Black Beluga Lentils – also from Atlantic Spice
  • Brown Pardina Lentils – from Palouse Brands in Washington State

The Lentilles du Puy and the Beluga lentils make the best salads and any dish where you really want to keep the integrity of the lentil. The brown lentils work best for soups, stews, and dishes where you want a softer texture.

I just picked up another 3-pound bag of the brown Palouse lentils, so I used them, tonight.

This has some of my more favorite ingredients – andouille sausage and shrimp. They’re a perfect pairing. If you have a good andouille, this won’t need any other spices. If it’s on the tame side, add a bit of cayenne and thyme.

Lentils with Shrimp and Andouille Sausage

  • 1 cup lentils, cooked according to package instructions
  • 2 3 oz links andouille sausage, diced
  • 6 oz peeled shrimp
  • 1 fennel bulb, diced
  • 1 small bell pepper, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup white wine
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Cook lentils, drain, and set aside.

Sauté sausage and fennel together until fennel is almost cooked through. Add bell pepper and cook. Add garlic and quickly sauté.

Add wine, bring to boil, and reduce by half.

Stir in lentils and heat through.

Stir in shrimp and cook through.

Check for seasoning and add salt & pepper, as desired.

It’s really simple to throw together and packs a lot of nutritional wallop.