GENTLE LENTILS + BASIL IS THE BOMBE SAUCE
POSTED ON February 5, 2017
The reason this title doesn’t seem like something I would name one of my recipes is because it isn’t mine—I’m celebrating the release of a friend’s book: The Perfect Blend: 100 Blender Recipes to Energize and Revitalize by Tess Masters. The book sounds as if it would be full of smoothies and blended juices but it’s not. Instead it invites you into the world of all the other things you can do with a blender: make delicious dressings, dips, and sauces like this one; there are also recipes for crepes, coconut yogurt and French toast. Instead of your usual breakfast, soups, mains etc., Tess’ book is divided into chapters like energy, anti-inflammatory, alkaline forming and detox. This soup is from the protein chapter and, not only is it a true one pot meal, it’s also super simple to make with ingredients I’m sure you have on hand, right now.
I’ve come across methods like this a quite a bit lately — after the onion is sautéed, you add vegetables and soaked beans and simmer everything together. I love this idea that you don’t need to cook the beans or lentils separately, but I find the vegetables get over cooked. For this recipe I soaked the lentils overnight and cut the carrots in 1-inch pieces so they wouldn’t disappear by the time the lentils were cooked. They still got very soft (as I found my lentils took longer to cook) but it really didn’t matter as the bright basil sauce enlivens the whole dish (next time I’ll try making it with French lentils, since they cook faster, especially after an overnight soak). These kinds of vibrant, tangy sauces are often used in restaurants to add zest to soups, stews, risottos and frittatas. This one is like a pistou—pesto without the nuts or cheese. I added the optional capers and loved the briny flavor with the earthy lentils. I had some left over and have been enjoying it drizzled over whole baked Japanese sweet potato, grains and added to dressings.
Check out this link for an excerpt.
Have a great week!
Ps. If you’re in New York, there are still some tickets left for the upcoming Winter Dinner Celebration I’m hosting with Sarah Britton at the Finch. Hope to see you there!
I left the recipe mostly as Tess has it in her book. The only changes I made where what I mentioned above and I also added a iece of kombu when adding the lentils.
Serves 8 as a start/6 as a main course
never miss a recipe!
Mmm, lentils make the best soups! that basil sauce sounds so nourishig!
Made this for dinner tonight. It was excellent. Left out the capers as I’m not a fan. This fed 3 people as a main course. Sauteed the onion/veggies & then removed them from the pot before cooking lentils. Added them back in during the last 5 minutes (hate mushy veggies or lentils).The green sauce was also perfect for this – although we spooned 3 Tablespoons into each bowl! Will definitely make again. Thank you. By the way, nice last name. LOL!
Its not everyday that you meet another Chaplin! Awesome that you made it right away!
Thanks so much for sharing what you did.
looks divine! would it still taste good with spanish pardina lentils? i ive in spain and that’s whats more readily available. and if so, i am not sure about soaking them -have never done that before. would it be necessary or advised? thanks!
I’m sure any lentil as long as its quick cooking will work well here. Soaking is a good practice because it removes phytic acid–a nutrient blocker found in whole grains, beans, nuts and seeds. Soak in plenty of water overnight, drain, rinse and use fresh water to cook. Let me know how you like it!
This reminds me of Indian dal…mmmm….
Hi Amy, Every time I cook a soup or strew I struggle with layering flavors. No matter how long my pot is slow cooking or how many spices I use, it seems as though I can never develop deep flavor. You know, flavor that is equally embedded and dispersed into each bite. I’m thinking maybe I am not adding the ingredients/spices in the right order. Do you have any suggestions for helping me build deep flavor into my dishes?
My first question would be; are you using organic seasonal vegetables? Any fresh locally grown vegetable tastes so much more flavorful when used within a few days of picking and most of what we find in supermarkets has been picked long before we cook it. I am sometimes amazed by the flavor of simmering plain vegetables from the farmer’s market as the flavors are so sweet and intense that you don’t need spices. I also wonder if you are cooking them well enough. Onions always taste deeper, richer and sweeter after being cooked until silky and soft. Also if you are simmering root vegetables they need to cook long enough to release their sweetness. Filtered water is also a big part of good, clean flavor. I find using tap water disrupts the taste of the vegetables. Adding a squeeze of lemon and a handful of chopped fresh parsley or other herbs after cooking stews is a great way to brighten and add another layer of flavor. Hope this helps, let me know how you go!
Really helpful suggestions! I do think my problem is not cooking the vegetables long enough-I become too impatient! Definitely going to try adding fresh herbs and lemon at the end. Also going to try using filtered water. I hope my Brita counts! Thank you!!