I was working an etiquette dinner for college girls last year, and the soup du jour was lentil. Inwardly, I clapped my hands with glee. Lentils, yay! When I tucked in, the soup was hearty, comforting, thick with lentils and minced veggies. I glanced around the table and found the five college girls pushing the lentils around with their spoons, noses crinkled. They saw me looking at them questioningly. Silence. Then, "....What IS this?"
"Lentil soup!" I said, cheerily, hoping I would encourage them to taste it.
They hesitated, dipped a small amount on to their spoons and sipped at it like birds.
Silence from me. Then, "....What?! How is it gross? They're LENTILS. And VEGETABLES. They don't even have a strong flavor! Eat it!" If you can't tell, I don't have much tolerance for picky eaters.
Anyway, I don't remember, but I probably went into some rambling diatribe about how lentils are so good for you, as they're packed with protein, iron, and fiber. I also probably mildly scolded them about how they weren't being very polite at an etiquette dinner. But that's neither here nor there.
Lentil Dal (from Cooking Light)
-1 cup chopped onion
-1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger
-1 teaspoon cumin
-1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
-1 teaspoon turmeric
-4 garlic cloves, minced
-2 cups chopped cauliflower florets
-Optional: 1-2 peeled, chopped carrots
-2 cups chopped tomato
-2 1/2 cups water
-1 cup dried lentils
-2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
-1 tablespoon minced fresh cilantro
-3/4-1 teaspoon salt
-4-6 cups Hot cooked basmati or long grain rice
1. Heat a dutch oven (nonstick or with Pam or broth) over medium-high heat. Add onion and next 5 ingredients (onion through garlic); saute 2 minutes. Add cauliflower and tomato; saute 1 minute. Stir in water and lentils; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat and simmer 35 minutes or until lentils are tender.
2. Stir in lime juice, cilantro, and salt. Serve over rice.
Verdict: A-OK. Not the most impressively flavored thing I've ever eaten, but hearty, simple fare all the same. I have a feeling that it will be even better as leftovers, once the flavors have gotten a chance to meld for 24 hours.