All lentils are very healthy and should be part of your weekly eating plan. I’m partial to French and black lentils because they don’t get mushy even if they’re overcooked a bit. I also prefer their flavor profile. Yellow, red and regular green lentils cook fast, but they tend to get very soft – suitable for some dishes such as soups and stews, but less so when you want them to stand out on their own and be the star of the dish.
For perfectly cooked lentils I like to boil them separately. Add salt only at the very end, when the lentils are already tender and just a minute or so before you remove them from heat. Cook more than you need for the recipe and keep cooked lentils in the fridge, so you can add them to salads, soups and grain bowls.
Serve this dish with a grain, such as rice or quinoa, or with a nice whole wheat bread – great for wiping the plate clean and enjoying every last drop of the sauce.
- 2 cups dried lentils (preferably French or black lentils)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tablespoon peeled and grated ginger root
- 5 celery ribs, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
- 4 carrots, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
- 2 tablespoons Dr. Ayala’s Magic Spice
- 2 teaspoons curry powder
- 1 red pepper, cut into thin slices
- ½ cup chopped parsley or cilantro
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1-2 tablespoons red wine or rice vinegar
- Garnish: sliced almonds, chopped cilantro or scallions, a dash of olive oil (optional)
- Rinse sorted lentils, transfer to a large pot and cover with plenty of cold water. Bring the pot to a boil, and then lower to a simmer, and cook for about 30 minutes, until the lentils tender. Add some salt to the lentils a few minutes before cooking is complete. Remove from heat and drain the lentils in a sieve.
- In a medium pot, on medium–high heat, sauté onion in olive oil for about 10 minutes, adding a bit of water if needed. Add the garlic and the ginger, and saute for one more minute. Add the carrots and the celery and sauté for another 5 minutes.
- Add the lentils, Dr. Ayala’s Magic Spice, curry and some salt to the pot, add about ½ cup of water and simmer for a few minutes. The dish should be saucy but not watery – if all the water’s absorbed add some more, if there’s too much liquid remove the lid and let simmer for a bit until reduced.
- Remove from heat, add the red pepper slices, chopped herbs and vinegar, mix and correct taste with salt and pepper.
- Garnish with almonds, chopped cilantro or scallions, or a dash of olive oil if you so desire.
Enjoy! Dr. Ayala
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