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Sunday Supper & More

Plenty of protein in two meatless meals

Lentils with fried eggs, and served in curried cakes

Braised lentils (Catherine Smart for the Boston Globe)
Start with Braised lentils with fried eggs
Lentil cakes (Catherine Smart for the Boston Globe)
End with Curried lentil cakes with cucumber raita
By Catherine Smart
Globe Correspondent / March 30, 2011

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Lentils were once hippie food, then chefs decided they were elegant enough to serve as a bed under rosy lamb or roast salmon, as an accompaniment to poultry, or in hearty bowls flavored with bacon. These little legumes, which are packed with protein and sophisticated flavor, can also be a vegetarian entree. The best ones are the small, dark green French lentils (sometimes labeled le Puy), which have a cleaner flavor and a more toothsome texture than their larger, light green counterparts. Many people say the advantage to making lentils instead of another legume is that lentils don’t need soaking. But soak them for 15 minutes in boiling water and they will cook more quickly and retain their plump shape. Simmer with sauteed root vegetables, tomato paste, Dijon mustard, and vegetable stock. Finish the dish with a splash of red wine vinegar and parsley, and top with a fried egg.

The next day, combine leftover lentils with curry powder, bread crumbs, and beaten egg to make cakes that cook up crisp and delicious after a few minutes in a skillet. Serve over a bed of steamed spinach and top with a cooling cucumber raita. Your two-day vegetarian lentil fest will leave you feeling light and satisfied.

Catherine Smart can be reached at cathjsmart@gmail.com.

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