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Hearty Lentils and Beans

First off, I want to give a heart felt thank you for all the incredible comments and emails that people sent with regards to Alex.  The fact that you took the time to share your experiences, support and love really touched my heart.  I was especially stirred by the tribute that my friend Julie from Willow Bird Baking did over at her site.  If you haven’t had a chance to stop by and check it out, you should definitely do so.  Her class of 7th graders is one amazing clan of kids.  I had a hard time seeing clearly through all my blubbering and tears, but I know it involved teenage boys dressed in pink and a rainbow tribute from the entire class to Alex.  THIS is why the internet is so incredibly amazing.  People you’ve never even met can lift your spirit and make a difference in your life with the single touch of a button.  Thank you so very much.


Now we’ll get back to why we’re all here today – food.  And not just any food.  I’m going veggie.  I know I don’t do it often enough on the blog; I have a meat obsessed loving husband, so it’s a bit of a challenge.  Believe it or not though, there’s talk of dropping meat for the fourty days of Lent.  He did get me to agree that we could still eat seafood.  I think he’s afraid that if he consumes nothing but beans and tofu for the duration, he’ll shrivel up into nothing and be done with it.

If we do manage to carry through with our Lenten challenge, I know that the meat free dishes I concoct will have to be hearty and have a meat “feel” to them for my husband to want to indulge full on.  This dish succeeds in both challenges.  You know you have a winner on your hands when the carnivore in your family not only goes back for seconds, but also takes the leftovers to work for lunch the following day.  Booyah.  I’m going to make a vegetarian out of him yet.

Creating a pot is super simple.  If you don’t have a package of precooked lentils at your disposal, cook up a cup according to bag directions, subbing vegetable broth for water, and set to the side.

Grab up a dutch oven or a large frying pan and heat a tablespoon of oil on medium heat.  Toss in an onion, a couple cloves of garlic and half a jalapeno.

After they have browned up for a minute or two, add in a can of diced tomatoes, a little veggie broth and a couple spices.

Give it a spin or two with your spoon and add in the pinto beans and the cooked lentils.  I’ve successfully made this dish with both green and red lentils, so grab your favorite and run with it.

Stir those in and finish it off with a tablespoon of butter and a couple spoonfuls of cream.  If you’re not thrilled about the added fat, simply leave it out.  I personally think it helps to balance the acidity of the tomatoes as well as add a little extra creaminess to the final product.  But then again, I’m a dairy addicted Wisconsin girl, can you blame me?

Serve it up as is for a delectable side or spoon it over rice and top with a few preferred condiments for an appetizing main dish.  Vegetarian meat lovers satisfaction guaranteed.

Hearty Lentils and Beans

Yield: Approx. 8 One Cup Servings

Total Time: 30 min

Ingredients:

1 Tbsp Canola Oil
1 Onion, Chopped
2 Cloves Garlic, Minced
1/2 Jalapeno, Diced
1 15 Oz. Can Diced Tomatoes
1/2 Cup Vegetable Broth
2 Tbsp Fresh Cilantro
1 Tbsp Cumin
1 tsp Chili Powder
1 tsp Salt
1 15 Oz. Can Pinto Beans, rinsed and drained
2 Cups Cooked Lentils
1 Tbsp Butter
2 Tbsp Heavy Cream

Directions:

Using a dutch oven or large frying pan, heat up the oil on medium heat.

Add in the onion, garlic and jalapeno. Let cook for a minute or two.

Add in the tomatoes, broth, cilantro, cumin, chili powder and salt.

Pour in the can of beans and the cooked lentils.

Add in the butter and heavy cream.

Heat through and serve straight up as a side or as a main dish over rice with a few shreds of cheese, a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkle of cilantro.

*If you're boiling up your own lentils, use 1 cup of dry. Add corresponding liquid and use cooking times according to manufacturers directions. Sub vegetable broth for water to up the flavor levels.