We do love our lentils around here. From soups to sides, there’s always a reason to pull the bag out of the cupboard.

While there are many different varieties of lentils available, we seem to concentrate on three – black beluga lentils, French lentiles du puy, and pardina lentils –  a Spanish lentil we get from Palouse Brands in Washington. I buy the pardina lentils in 5-pound bags, so there’s never a shortage of them around here.

I have a go-to lentil recipe that I got from Bon Appetit 10 or so years ago that I play with all the time. It’s pretty simple – fennel, carrots, and onions – and then your imagination.

Tonight, I added celery, hot peppers, and salsa verde to the mix, along with some cumin – and then, after tasting it and realizing it was really hot – I added a cup of the cooked dried fruit I made up the other day. The sweetness balanced the heat perfectly!

Oh – and while the original recipe calls for cooking the lentils separately and then stirring them in, I cook the veggies off a bit, add the lentils, and 2 cups of broth. One pot – no muss.

Lentils and Fennel

  • 1 cup dried lentils
  • 1 fennel bulb
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 3 carrots, cut into small dice
  • 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • Chopped fresh Italian parsley
  • 1 tbsp sherry vinegar (or other good-quality vinegar)
  • S&P

Cook lentils in broth, uncovered, until lentils are just tender.

While lentils simmer, cut fennel bulb into 1/4-inch dice and chop about 2 tbsp fennel fronds for the finish.

Heat a bit of olive oil in a skillet and add onion, carrot, fennel, and fennel seeds. Cook until vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes.

When vegetables and lentils are cooked, stir lentils into vegetables and cook until heated through. Stir in parsley, vinegar, and fennel fronds. Add S&P, as desired.

Since I had a bit of Mexican flair going on with the lentils, I liberally doused a chicken breast with Penzey’s Arizona Dreaming spice blend and grilled it and then sliced and layered on top of the lentil dish.

Muy buena cena!