Cumin Lentils with Onions

swiss chard

Do you like my chard?

It’s in one of our greenhouses – we call it Papa Bear.  Baby Bear houses lettuce, bok choy and red komatsuna.  Mama Bear is home to arugula, kale(s),  and a dozen varieties of fresh herbs.

If I catch anyone in my cilantro stash I may have to  dig out my slingshot and peg them with a dry pinto bean.  Beware the wrath… LOL

So, I bought myself a new pot: Lodge 6-qt enamel dutch oven.  It’s red and I ADORE  IT!  I find myself using it for everything.  Perhaps that’s because I have absolutely no more storage space and it has taken up permanent residence on my back burner.

In any case, I made these heavenly caramelized onions.

onions 1

No doubt I could devour a bowlful of these beauties as is – trust me, it’s tough to stop once you’ve sampled – but I really wanted to make up something nutritious that I could heat up for lunch last week.  You see, we had our last CSA distributions on Tuesday and Saturday and there was much farm work to be done.

Enter Cumin Lentils with Onions.

cumin lentils w onions 4

These cumin-and-garlic-heavy lentils are not mushy like you’d expect.  They are completely cooked but still have some bite to them.   I’ll never understand the smoothie as meal replacement thing, either, despite the real possibility that a smoothie may be more balanced health-wise. Texture is good.  Besides, I like to chew my meals.  I think it aids in satisfaction.

I spiced up these lovelies with red pepper flakes, but if you have some whole dried Thai or Cayenne chiles, add them to the mixture and toast them with the cumin, then allow the whole thing to simmer away while the flavors meld.

cumin lentils w onions

Cumin Lentils with Onions
2 med-lg yellow onions, sliced 1/4-inch thick
2 T + 2 t extra virgin olive oil, divided
1/4 t + 1/2 t kosher salt, divided
Ground black pepper, to taste
2 cloves fresh garlic, peeled and minced
1-2 t red pepper flakes or a few dried chiles
1 t cumin
1 cup dried green or brown lentils, picked over and rinsed
2 1/2 – 3 cups water
Greek or plain yogurt, lemon wedges

In a heavy-bottomed pot (like the above-mentioned dutch oven), place 2 T oil, onions, and 1/4 t salt.  Cook over low-medium heat, stirring occasionally and more frequently toward the end of cooking,  until onions are very soft and deep golden, about 30-35 minutes.  Remove onions from pot and set aside, then place pot back over heat.

Add remaining 2 t oil and minced garlic to pot.  Cook for one minute, stirring constantly.  Sprinkle in red pepper flakes and cumin; stir and cook another 30 seconds.  Add lentils and 2 1/2 cups water.  Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce to simmer and cook, partially covered for about 30-35 minutes.  Stir in an additional 1/2 cup water if needed after about 25 minutes and  season with 1/2 t kosher salt and black pepper to taste.  You want the lentils to be tender but al dente and they will not be saucy.

Serve lentils on a bed of brown basmati rice.  Top with a generous spoonful of caramelized onions, a dollop of plain yogurt and squeeze a lemon wedge over all.

*You can mix the lentils and onions together for longer storage, and even put them atop the rice in individual containers so they’re ready to grab and go.  Lemon can be added anytime, but I would carry the yogurt in a separate container and add after reheating.

cumin lentils w onions 2

4 thoughts on “Cumin Lentils with Onions

  1. Kasha – Have you ever roasted cumin seeds in the oven until they are a roasty brown? You still don’t need to grind them if you use them in a wet, cooked dish like this, but if you are going to use them in soft dishes like egg salad, I’d grind them first. Have you ever used the black cumin that they sell in the Indian grocery in Middletown? I’ve tried them twice. They are smaller and not as hard as supemarket cumin seed, but to me they are bitter. Any suggestions?

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