1 ½ cups dry brown lentils
1 teaspoon olive oil
½ cup onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
¼ teaspoon turmeric
3 cups boiling water, divided
½ teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon Italian seasoning
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
fresh cilantro, chopped (optional, for serving)
• Add lentils to a large mixing bowl and sort out any debris, then rinse and drain. Pour in some boiling water on top, enough to cover the lentils, and let it sit for 10 minutes. Set aside.
• Meanwhile, in a large pot or 4 quart Dutch oven, heat oil over medium heat. Add onions, garlic, and turmeric. Sauté until the onions are soft and translucent, about 2-3 minutes. Pour in 1 cup of boiling water into the pot and stir together.
• Drain the lentils that have been soaking in water, then rinse and drain again. Stir the lentils into the pot along with the remaining 2 cups boiling water, cumin, Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper. Turn the heat up to high and bring to a boil. Then, turn to low and simmer covered for 15 minutes.
• Season with more salt and pepper to taste. Serve over brown or white rice, coconut rice, or a rice pilaf with a sprinkle of fresh cilantro on top. You can also serve on its own with a naan bread, pita bread, biscuits or dinner rolls for dipping.
Soak the lentils: The secret to preparing the best lentils, and one that I learned from my mother, lies in the way that you prepare the lentils before cooking. Most lentil recipes call for a quick rinse and draining of dry lentils before placing into the cooking pot. But to get the best results, the key is to soak the lentils for about 10-15 minutes in hot water. This not only cleans the lentils (you will notice the dark brown coloured-water when you drain the soaked lentils), but it actually removes the gassiness from them. Meaning, they will be easier to digest and will cause less gas issues once you have at them. You could call it an old wives’ tale, but it works.