Lentils: The Little Bean that Could
Lentils: The Little Bean that Could
February 3, 2010 • Posted by Jennifer Perillo

Unlike most dried beans, lentils are a busy mom’s best friend. They don’t require an overnight soak and they are ready in less than 30 minutes. Another bonus is that they’re packed with protein and fiber to keep your little ones on the move—inside and out. They also keep in the refrigerator for a few days, so make a double batch and you can use them to prepare veggie burgers—a big hit with my sometimes finicky six year old. They also go great with pasta or simply pureed for even the youngest eaters in the family. Come to think of it, lentils are a win-win in my house: quick cooking, delicious and a perfect fit for the whole family.

yields about 24 ounces cooked lentils

1 cup uncooked lentil beans
3 cups vegetable stock
1 bay leaf
1 clove garlic, smashed
1 shallot, sliced
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

  1. Add all ingredients to a 2-quart pot. Bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, and cook for 20 minutes, until lentils are tender (cook a few minutes less if you prefer lentils with a bite).

Lentil Burgers
makes 4 to 6, depending on size

1 1/2 cups cooked lentils (about 10 ounces)
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup plain breadcrumbs
2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil

  1. Place cooked lentils in the workbowl of a food processor. Pulse until mostly pureed, leaving some whole lentil pieces. Turn into a mixing bowl and stir in the egg and 1/4 cup of breadcrumbs. Cover and refrigerate for two hours, or overnight.
  2. Remove lentil mixture from the refrigerator and stir in the remaining breadcrumbs. Shape into 4 to 6 patties. Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add patties and cook until golden brown all over, about 3 to 5 minutes on each side. Serve hot on toasted buns or over mixed greens.
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