This morning I chatted with Anna Mitchell on the Sonrise Morning Show/Sacred Heart Radio about lentils and where they’re found in the Bible, how the ancients used them and how we incorporate lentils into our diets today.
LENTILS: Ezekiel 4:9
“During the first 390 days eat bread made of flour mixed from wheat, barley, beans, lentils and spelt…..”
There’s also a passage in Genesis 25: 25-34 where Jacob traded his bread and lentil soup for Esau’s birthright.
Dried beans and peas were a mainstay of the Biblical people’s diet. Lentils were (and are) cheap and plentiful. Ancient recipes call for roasted, ground lentils honey and olive oil made into a type of dough. That makes me think of Ezekiel bread!
Brown and green are the most common. I use the green French lentils in lentil salads like the one I’m sharing today because they don’t get quite as mushy as the common gray brown lentil, which is what I grew up with. Brown lentils are delicious in lentil soups, since they lend a creaminess to the soup after they’re cooked.
Now there’s a reddish orange or red lentil that’s smaller and more round. When you cook them, they get real creamy and turn yellow. There’s also yellow lentils. So there’s a nice variety to choose from.
LENTIL SALAD WITH GRAPES AND FETA
This is good stuffed into pita halves, as well as eaten as a side dish. Now go to taste on the dressing – I always add a little more vinegar after I mix it up.
4 cups water
1 cup French or brown lentils
3 tablespoons red-wine vinegar
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon honey
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup walnuts, toasted and roughly chopped
2 cups seedless red grapes, halved
1-2 ribs celery, chopped or sliced thin
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
Up to 1 cup (4 oz.) crumbled Feta
Handful fresh greens, chopped (optional but good – I used spinach)
Salt and ground pepper
In a small saucepan, bring water to a boil. Add lentils, reduce to a simmer, and cover; cook until lentils are tender, about 20-30 minutes. Drain and rinse under cool water.
Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk together red-wine vinegar, lemon juice, and honey. Whisk in olive oil. Stir in lentils, walnuts, grapes, celery, and thyme. Add feta. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Adapted from Julie Sun.