Lentil Stew Has Ancient Biblical Roots

image.pngToday Matt Swaim of the Sonrise Morning Show and I chatted about lentils.

LENTILS: Ezek. 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 are gaining more popularity every day. 

Man has been eating lentils for more than 8,000 years! It’s actually the dried, shelled out seed of a bushy plant. Lentils are cheap and plentiful. Ancient recipes call for roasted, ground lentils honey and olive oil made into a type of dough.

Are there different varieties of lentils?

There sure are. Brown and green are the most common. I use the green French lentils in lentil salads because they don’t get quite as mushy as the common 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.

Good meat substitute

In fact, lentils used to be called “Poor Man’s Meat”. Now they’re real trendy at fancy restaurants. They’re second only to soybeans in the amount of protein they have. They’re also a great source of fiber, complex carbs, zinc, potassium, folate and iron.

Lentils are easy to cook. No soaking required.

Just rinse and pick over the lentils to remove any stones or debris. Cover with liquid and simmer until tender.

Rita’s Mujaddarah/Lentils with rice and yogurt

Now if all you have are just salt and pepper, it still will be yummy.

Go to taste on seasonings.


2 large yellow onions

1/3 cup olive oil

1 generous cup whole brown lentils (don’t use green; they cook up too firm)

1 cup long grain rice (more if you like it)

5 cups water

1 to 2 teaspoons cumin

Salt and pepper to taste

1 bay leaf (optional but nice)

Cumin to taste – start with 2 teaspoons

Allspice – I added a good couple pinches, probably close to 1/4 teaspoon or so – go to taste and add more if you want

Plain yogurt or Tzatziki (cucumber & yogurt salad)

Chopped green onions (opt)

Sprinkle of cayenne pepper (opt)


Slice onions and cook, covered, over medium heat, in oil until caramelized/dark brown. You’ll start out with a lot but they will cook down considerably.

Combine lentils, seasonings in water in pan. Cover, bring to gentle boil and cook,, covered, until lentils are half cooked, about 10 minutes. Add rice and simmer, covered, until rice is cooked, about 20 minutes. Water should be absorbed but, if not, drain off. Adjust seasonings. To serve, put onions over Mujadarah and garnish with yogurt and onions.

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