Spicy Lentils With Peppers And Tomatoes

Course : Beans
Serves: 6
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3/4 pound brown or green lentils -- washed -- and picked over
6 cups water
1 piece bay leaf
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion -- chopped
2 cloves garlic -- minced or put a garlic press
1 medium green pepper -- seeded and
2 medium hot chili peppers -- seeded finely chopped
1 1/2 pounds fresh tomatoes -- seeded and chopped or
1 1/2 pounds canned tomatoes -- drain juice
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
3 tablespoons to 4 T cilantro -- chopped
1/2 medium lemon -- optional , juice of

Preparation / Directions:

Combine the lentils, water, and bay leaf in a large heavy-bottomed saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer 30 to 40 minutes, until the lentils are tender. Add salt to taste. Drain and retain some of the cooking liquid. Heat the oil in a large heavy-bottomed skillet or casserole and add the onion and garlic. Sauté over medium-low heat until the onion is tender and beginning to color. Add the green pepper and chili peppers and sauté another 5-10 minutes until the pepper is tender and add the tomatoes and drained lentils. Add a little bit of cooking liquid from the lentils if the mixture seems dry. Simmer over medium-low heat for 15 minutes. Season to taste with more salt and pepper, stir in the cilantro and lemon juice if desired, and serve, or allow to cool and serve chilled. This dish will keep for 3-5 days in the refrigerator. Source: Mediterranean Light by Martha Rose Shulman.

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