I had originally intended this recipe to be a one pot meal, but the first time I made it that way it took so much longer than I wanted and I didn’t really want to put you through that. So this is a short cut version to save time, though this uses 1 more pot. *Shrug*
The key to making this chili a bit faster is cooking the pasta separately. The first time I boiled it all together and it took close to an hour. So first step is starting a pot of boiling water and adding 1 cup of small pasta. Cook according to package instructions and drain when finished cooking. In a separate large pot, add 1 cup of water and 1/3 cup of brown lentils. Bring this to a boil and let it cook for about 20 minutes or until water is absorbed.
Meanwhile, dice 1 bell pepper and 1/2 an onion. Once the lentils are done, add a bit of oil, diced bell pepper, and onion in with the lentils. Saute for about 5-10 minutes until pepper and onion has softened.
Add 1 1/2 tbsp chili powder to the veggies and lentils. Combine until the veggies are coated. Drain and rinse a 15 oz can of hominy. Add the cooked pasta, drained and rinsed hominy, 15 oz diced tomatoes, 15 oz tomato sauce, and 1 tbsp tomato paste. Stir well to combine. Set temperature to medium/high and allow this to heat for about 5-10 minutes until simmering. Then add 1 cup of frozen chopped spinach, stirring occasionally until the spinach defrosts and starts to break down. Last, add 1 cup of cheese of choice and salt and pepper to taste. We used fiesta blend, but cheddar, monterey jack, colby jack, or gouda would also be fine.
Lentil Pasta Chili
1 cup cooked small pasta (we used elbow)
1 cup cooked lentils (1 cup water : 1/3 cup brown lentils)
1 diced bell pepper
1/2 diced onion
1 1/2 tbsp chili powder
15 oz canned diced tomatoes
15 oz tomato sauce
15 oz hominy
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 cup frozen chopped spinach
1 cup cheese (cheddar, monterey jack, colby jack, etc)
Cook 1 cup of dry pasta according to package instructions, then set aside. In a separate large pot, add 1 cup of water and 1/3 cup of rinsed brown lentils. Bring to a boil and cook for about 20 minutes, until all liquid is absorbed.
Once lentils are cooked, add a bit of oil, 1 diced bell pepper, and 1/2 an onion. Saute for about 5-10 minutes until the pepper and onion have softened. Add 1 1/2 tbsp chili powder and stir to coat the veggies and lentils.
Add the cooked pasta, 15 oz diced tomatoes, 15 oz drained and rinsed hominy, 15 oz tomato sauce, and 1 tbsp tomato paste. Bring this to simmer then add 1 cup of frozen chopped spinach. Let this simmer for 5-10 minutes until the spinach has defrosted and combined.
Add 1 cup of cheese stirring occasionally until fully melted. Add salt and pepper to taste and serve!
My 3 year old has strange tastes. Not like a “he eats watermelon with ketchup” weird (though he does that too) but like, he doesn’t like buttered noodles. What child doesn’t like buttered noodles?? I swear he doesn’t like them just to be contrary because what’s simpler than buttered noodles when you are in a hurry for a meal. Anyways, one type of noodle that he does love is noodles that have been cooked in curry and turmeric, which is how I came upon this soup.
That said, the noodles are totally optional. I think they add a nice balance to make this soup a bit thicker and less broth-y, but if the potatoes are plenty for you that’s great and saves you a few minutes on cook time.
Start by dicing 1/2 an onion, 1 cup of celery (2-3 stalks), and 1 cup of carrots (~2 carrots). Place these in a soup pot with a bit of oil and saute for about 5 minutes. Add 1 tsp turmeric and 1 tsp curry powder. Cook until fragrant, about another 5 minutes.
Add 8 cups of broth, 2/3 cup of rinsed lentils, and the diced potatoes. In regards to the potatoes, I used 2 russet potatoes this time but I’ve made it with 4 little red potatoes before. Either works. Bring the soup to a boil and allow it to simmer for 15 minutes. After the 15 minutes, add 1 cup of small pasta (I used elbows) and cook for another 10 minutes before serving.
Curried Lentil Potato Soup
1/2 an onion
1 cup diced carrots
1 cup diced celery
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp curry powder
8 cups vegetable broth
2/3 cup brown lentils
2 russet potatoes (or 4 red potatoes)
1 cup of small pasta (I used elbows)
Dice onion, celery and carrots. Place these in a large soup pot with a bit of oil and saute for about 5 minutes.
Add 1 tsp turmeric and 1 tsp curry powder and allow this to cook with the veggies for another 5 minutes or so.
Add 8 cups vegetable broth, 2/3 cup lentils, and diced potatoes. Bring broth to a boil. Once boiling drop the temperature to medium to allow it to simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add 1 cup of pasta, cook for another 10 minutes, or until the pasta is fully cooked.
I would never have considered myself a go getter. I’m more of a “is that within arm’s reach?” kind of person. I generally like to find the easy way to do things successfully. So when I am now telling to that these are easy to make, you should take my word for it because I had to make them FOUR TIMES to get them right. If I am willing to retry the same recipe FOUR FRIGGIN’ TIMES, you should assume it wasn’t that much effort.
Now, I have zero plans to eat these again in the next couple weeks because I’ve had to try them a lot, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t. You totally should. They are flavorful, fast, and save well! They are very similar in flavor to my Lentil Oat Burgers.
Two recommendations: 1) Pre-make your lentils and rice earlier in the day. That way they are done and ready to go which makes this a super fast dinner. 2) Use a large food processor. If you have a smaller cup food processor, you can cut the recipe in half and it will make about 6 muffins.
So assuming you’ve pre-made your lentils (3 cups water, 1 cup brown lentils for ~20 minutes) and 2 cups rice (2 cups water, 1 cup rice for ~15 minutes), place those in a food processor and slightly blend. Add 1 1/2 tsp onion powder, 1 tsp poultry seasoning, 1 tsp garlic, 1/2 tsp salt, 2 eggs, 1/4 cup bread crumbs, and a bit of pepper. Blend well. It’s fine if you see a few bits of whole rice or lentils but most of it should be “mush” for lack of a better term.
Prepare a muffin tin with cooking spray and preheat oven to 375. Spoon lentil/rice mixture into each cup, filling to the top. Place in the oven and bake for 25 minutes until cooked through. Let them sit for 5-10 minutes before removing. If you remove right away, they will likely fall apart a bit. Giving them time lets them set. Serve with BBQ sauce, ketchup or dip of choice.
Lentil “Meat”Loaf Muffins
3 cups of cooked brown lentils
2 cups of cooked rice
1 1/2 tsp onion powder
1 tsp poultry seasoning
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup bread crumbs
a little pepper
Place cooked lentils and rice in food processor and pulse to combine a few times. Then add the rest of the ingredients, blend well.
Preheat oven to 375 and prepare a muffin tin with cooking spray. Fill each tin to the top with the lentil/rice mixture.
Place in the oven for 25 minutes until cooked through. Let sit for 5-10 min before eating to give it the chance to set. Serve with BBQ sauce, ketchup or condiment of choice.
It’s a shame there’s no stock in lentils, or like a lentil sponsor. I’d be a great lentil spokesperson. We literally use them every week in at least one way. They make excellent food for new eaters (aka my 7 month old), great in baked goods, soups, puff pastry fillings, as a meat alternative. Lentil Taco Salad is my go-to for lunch, but the recipe is for the taco flavored lentils in general. They are perfect for tacos, burritos, lentil taco salad, on a bun like a sloppy joe, serve your favorite way! .
You’re basically just making lentils, but it’s the seasonings that do all the heavy lifting. Rinse 2/3 cup of brown lentils and place it in a medium pot with 2 cups of water. Add 1 1/2 tsp cumin, 1/2 tsp paprika, 1 1/2 tsp chili powder, 1 tsp onion powder, 1/4 tsp garlic powder, a pinch of red pepper flakes and 1/2 tsp of cayenne. Bring this all to a boil. Once boiling, drop the temp to medium so it simmers for about 20 minutes or until all water is absorbed. Voila! That’s it, now serve how you see fit!
Note to those who didn’t read the above: While this is titled Lentil Taco Salad, the recipe is only for the ingredients for the seasoned lentils as these can be used for many meals.
Lentil Taco Salad
2 cups water
2/3 cups brown lentils (rinsed)
1 1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp paprika
1 1/2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp garlic powder
pinch of red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp cayenne
Greens, taco shells, burrito, or burger bun depending on how you plan to eat it!
Rinse the lentils, then combine in a medium pot with 2 cups of water and all other ingredients.
Bring to a boil. Once boiling drop the temp to medium and allow to simmer for 20 minutes or until all water is absorbed.
Serve in your preferred way: tacos, burritos, sloppy joe’s, lentil taco salad, etc.
I’ve already talked about my dislike of jarred pasta sauce in Veggie Loaded Pasta Sauce recipe, but I’ll admit some nights even cutting vegetables is more work than I really want to put into dinner and “from scratch” is loosely used in this recipe. This spaghetti hits the spot. I feel silly even writing this recipe because it’s spaghetti…like not complicated, nothing overly exciting, but it was delicious enough that it was a GOOD dinner with great nutritional benefits, thanks to the lentils and cauliflower, and not half assed which is how I feel with most spaghetti nights.
Again, I feel silly writing this recipe but here we go. First start your lentils, add 1 cup of water and a rinsed 1/3 cup of red lentils to a small sauce pot. Bring this to boil. Once it’s boiling, drop the temp to medium for 15 minutes. Meanwhile boil a large pot of water, once this starts boiling, add 1/2 a box of spaghetti and 16 oz of frozen cauliflower. Boil for 10-12 minutes. Drain when it’s done and move the spaghetti and cauliflower back to the same pot and add in the cooked lentils.
Add 28 oz crushed tomatoes, 1 tsp Italian seasonings, 1/2 tsp garlic powder, 1 tbsp onion powder, 1 tbsp parmesan, 1 tbsp nutritional yeast, a bit of salt and pepper and a pinch of red pepper flakes. Stir well and serve! Seriously so basic, but so good. Doctoring up your own pasta sauce it a great way to increase the nutritional benefits with minimal effort. Note about the lentils: you can totally use green or brown lentils instead. However, the red lentils break down much more which is what I like about adding them to spaghetti. They are barely noticeable but are such a great nutritional powerhouse.
Best Ever “From Scratch” Spaghetti
1/2 box of spaghetti
1 cup water
1/3 cup red lentils (rinsed)
28 oz crushed tomatoes
16 oz bag of frozen cauliflower
1 tsp Italian seasonings
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tbsp onion powder
1 tbsp parmesan
1 tbsp nutritional yeast
salt and pepper to taste
pinch of red pepper flakes
In a small sauce pot, boil 1 cup of water with 1/3 cup of rinsed red lentils. Once this is boiling, bring the temp down to medium and simmer for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to boiling, then add spaghetti and frozen cauliflower. Let this boil for 10-12 minutes.
When done, drain the cauliflower and spaghetti. Add the spaghetti, cauliflower, and lentils into the large pot. Add all the remaining ingredients and stir to combine. Let this simmer on medium low heat for 5-10 min to heat through.
Considering my website is new, and I already have the Berry Puff Pastry recipe and now I have another for lentils, you can generally assume I like puff pastry. You aren’t wrong. It’s such a simple ingredient that can be used for sweet or savory. I love that my son will try anything if its inside a puff pastry. However, I don’t enjoy the process, rolling it out, waiting on defrost, filling, waiting on the refrigerating, etc. All that to explain that these beauties did NOT start out well and I envisioned the end result to be terrible.
It was an overly warm Sunday and I was working through my weekly meal prep. Creating the filling was fine. That went great, tasted great, had the texture I was hoping for. Went through the bother of defrost, rolling out the dough, cutting, filling, sealing, refrigerating, egg wash…allllllll the steps. Cool. This batch didn’t even overfill and fall out the sides. It was a miracle.
Then I put it in the preheated oven. I must of dropped something in the oven and not realized. About half way through cooking, it started to smell like something was burning. I’ve made puff pastry dozens of times so I couldn’t imagine that I had burned them that quickly. So I open the oven and this big waft of black smoke comes out.
Well, shit. So I turn the oven off and call my husband in. He opens the oven and more smoke. Smoke detectors blaring, children yelling and crying, dog freaking the hell out. Awesome. We decide to just leave it closed and I’m out 12/18 puff pastries. At least I assumed.
I waited about 20 minutes and checked on them and they were cooked to perfection! Perfectly golden brown. I assumed they’d have a nasty taste from sitting in the smoke, but nope, they were perfect. There was some massively burned (berry, maybe??) something on the bottom of the oven that seemed like an overkill amount of smoke, but it all ended well! Cleaned the oven, made the last tray and here we are.
Remove the puff pastry from the freezer and the box. It takes longer if you leave the sheets in the box. Once removed let the sheets defrost for about 30-40 minutes.
While waiting, begin working on the lentil broccoli filling. I recommend red lentils for this because they break down more. Green or brown will work but need 18 minutes (vs 15) and will maintain their texture more, which wasn’t what I was going for with these.
Boil 2 cups of water with 2/3 cups of (rinsed) red lentils. Also boil about 1/2 a bag of frozen broccoli florets. You want the broccoli to really fall apart, so they can both be on heat for 15 minutes. Lentils should be brought down to simmering, broccoli at a low boil.
Once the broccoli and lentils are done, dice up the broccoli very fine. I only used the florets and cut off the bottoms because I don’t like the bottoms. As long as you dice them up, you can use them if you prefer.
Put the broccoli in with the cooked lentils. Add 1/2 tbsp onion powder, 1/4 tsp garlic powder, 1/4 tsp salt, pepper, and 1/2 cup of cheddar cheese. Stir well until all combined.
If you are still waiting on the puff pastry, let the lentil mixture just sit and cool a bit. It’ll thicken up which helps with filling. Once the puff pastry is defrosted, MAKE SURE YOUR OVEN IS TOTALLY CLEAN. Haha. Kay, now preheat your oven to 400.
Meanwhile, you can roll out your dough. Sprinkle a little flour on your work surface. It doesn’t need to be overly thin, just spread out the thick spots from the sheets. These will likely be in the center of the 3 sections as the outside edges each section defrost first.
Cut your first sheet into 9 semi-square pieces (3×3). Move the 9 squares to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silpat mat. You should be able to fit 6 per tray if using a standard sized cookie sheet. Repeat with your second sheet.
Now you can begin filling your puff pastry. Take a small spoonful of the filling and place it in the middle for all 18 pieces. Get a small bowl of water and, using a finger tip, line the corner edges with water. Seal the puff pastry but folding one edge to the other and pressing with your finger tips or you can use a fork. I know puff pastry is often triangular but I find it so much easier (and less messy) to make rectangles. Frankly, they taste just fine as rectangles too so why make more mess?
Place the baking sheets into the refrigerator for 10 minutes. As I mentioned in the Berry Puff Pastry recipe, this doesn’t have to be done if you are in a time crunch or don’t have that sort of fridge space. It just gives more “puff” to the puff pastry.
While waiting on the refrigeration, crack an egg into a small bowl and lightly beat the egg. Remove the baking sheets after 10 minutes and give each pastry an egg wash using a basting brush.
Now they are ready to go in the oven for 17 minutes or until golden brown on top. Let them sit for 10 minutes before serving as the center is very hot. They are best fresh but still good reheated! I microwave a couple for 30-40 second and again just be careful as the center will be hotter than the outside. They make a wonderful appetizer or light lunch!
After all this you may have some left over lentil filling. You can either make a half batch or use the filling for other things. It makes a wonderful sauce over pasta or eaten by itself.
Cheesy Lentil and Broccoli Puff Pastry
Makes 18 puff pastry
1 box (2 sheets) of frozen puff pastry (I use Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry)
2 cups water
2/3 cups red lentils (rinsed)
6 oz (about 12) frozen broccoli florets
1/2 tbsp onion powder
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp salt
Pepper (to taste)
1/2 cup cheddar cheese
1. Remove frozen puff pastry from the box to defrost for 30-40 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, boil 2 cups of water with 2/3 cups of rinsed red lentils. Once boiling, drop the temperature to low. In a separate pot, boil about 12 broccoli florets. Once boiling, drop the temperature to medium. Both can cook for about 15 minutes.
3. Once the broccoli and lentils are done cooking, finely dice up the broccoli florets. They should be pretty mushy, so everything should break down easily. Place diced broccoli in the lentil pot.
4. Add 1/2 tbsp onion powder, 1/4 tsp garlic powder, 1/4 tsp salt, pepper to taste and 1/2 cup of cheese. Stir together until combined. The lentil filling can then sit and cool until the pastry is defrosted.
5. Once the pastry is defrosted, sprinkle a little flour on your work surface and begin rolling out the first sheet. It doesn’t need much rolling, just enough to make the sheets flexible throughout.
6. Cut the first sheet into 9 pieces (3×3). Move the 9 squares to a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper or a silpat mat. You should be able to fit 6 per sheet. Repeat step 5 & 6 with your second sheet.
7. Place a small spoonful of lentil filling on each of the 18 squares. Grab a small bowl of water and, using your finger tip, line the corner edge of the puff pastry with a bit of water to help seal.
8. Fold one edge over to the other creating a rectangle. Seal the edges using your finger tips or a fork. Place your baking sheets in the refrigerator for 10 minutes and preheat your oven to 400.
9. After 10 minutes, crack an egg into a small bowl and lightly beat it. Using a basting brush, brush the egg wash on top of each puff pastry rectangle. Place your baking sheets in the oven for 17 minutes until golden brown. Wait about 10 minutes before serving as the centers will be very hot.
Note: If you have three baking sheets, cook two in the first round and leave the third in the fridge. Once the first two are almost done, do an egg wash on the third then put it in the oven for 17 minutes.
For years, I’ve wanted to start a food blog. Something that didn’t occur to me until posting on Instagram was that you have to toot your own horn. You have to be willing to say, “I made this and they are great. You will want these.” That’s not something that comes easy to me. However, I made these, these are great. You will want these. Haha.
Seriously, the Lentil Zucchini Burgers are the exact type of veggie burger I have been looking for. Moist and dense, in a good way. Super flavorful, with ingredients you likely have on hand at all times. They don’t crumble and have a texture similar to a meat burger. Truly wonderful. *Toot, toot*
If you don’t want to take my word for it, my mom, love her to pieces, but she scoffs at almost all my vegetarian adaptations and even she said “Mmm, these are really good”. If she says that it has to be true.
Start by making 1 cup of cooked lentils. Lentils are a 3:1 ratio. Place 1 cup of vegetable broth (or water) in a sauce pan. Rinse 1/3 cup of green lentils in a mesh strainer then put the lentils in the sauce pan with the water. Turn the heat on high until the water and lentils begin boiling, then turn the temperature to medium. Boil lentils for 18 minutes.
While waiting on the lentils, grate 1 small zucchini and squeeze to remove any excess water. The best way to do this is to lay a clean hand towel over a bowl. Grate the zucchini over the towel/bowl. Gather up the ends of the towel and squeeze the zucchini “ball” until most of the moisture is removed.
Once the lentils have finished cooking, preheat oven to 350. Pour the lentils into the food processor. There may be a small amount of liquid left with the lentils, that’s okay. Add grated zucchini, 1 cup of oats, 1 egg, 1 tsp garlic, 1 tsp onion powder, 1/2 tsp salt, 1 1/2 tsp poultry seasoning into the food processor. Pulse until well combined.
Create 5 burger shaped patties. Place each patty on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silpat mat. Place in the oven for 25 minutes, flipping half way.
Lentil Zucchini Burgers
1 cup vegetable broth (or water)
1/3 cup dry green lentils (rinsed)
1 cup oats
1 tsp garlic
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp poultry seasoning
1 medium zucchini
Toppings of your choice
Rinse 1/3 cup of dry green lentils in a mesh strainer. Boil 1 cup vegetable broth (or water) with 1/3 cup of the rinsed lentils. Once at boiling, drop temperature to medium for 18 minutes.
While waiting for lentils, grate a zucchini and preheat oven to 350. To get excess moisture out, place a clean dish towel in a bowl. Grate zucchini over the dish towel/bowl. Gather the dish towel and squeeze out excess moisture.
Once lentils are cooked and most of the liquid has been absorbed, put all ingredients into a food processor. Pulse until all ingredients are combined.
Remove the blade from the bowl of the food processor. Using medium handfuls, form 5 burger patties and place each on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or silpat mat.
Place baking sheet in the oven for 30 minutes, flipping half way through.