Quick Lentil Dinner

It’s always a good idea to have a few quick and healthy food items around to whip up when you are short on time.  Being prepared can keep you from dialing up the pizza place or heading for the nearest drive-thru.    
A few weeks ago, I had picked up a package of steamed lentils from Trader Joe’s.  I wasn’t sure what I was going to do with them, but they sounded like something I could keep around for a quick meal in a pinch.  I liked the fact that the only ingredients were lentils, salt and water and that one serving (1/2 cup) included 8 grams of fiber, 9 grams of protein and 20% of my daily iron needs.
They ended up coming in handy one night when I only had to cook dinner for myself and had some vegetables to use up.  I chopped up one eggplant, one red bell pepper, an onion and a clove of garlic.  I sauteed all of the vegetables in olive oil until they were tender and then tossed in a handful of grape tomatoes for the last two minutes of cooking.  The lentils heated in the microwave for three minutes.  I tossed the vegetables on top and added some fresh basil.  Dinner was delicious and ready in less time than it took to write this post.   Jeff and I had the leftovers for lunch the next day and he enjoyed them too (even though he wants to make it perfectly clear to everyone that he is NOT a vegetarian).
What are your favorite homemade “fast-food” meals?  
  • TwinToddlersDad September 9, 2010 at 1:38 am

    Wonderful recipe and so simple. Love it! I like how you have utilized a variety of vegetables.

    How much salt did the package list for each serving? One idea could be to wash the lentils before using.

    We use red lentils to make a quick soup. The twins are developing a good taste for it!

  • Shauna September 9, 2010 at 10:59 am

    Oooooo, that sounds so good. I love lentils! We eat a lot of them here in Kenya, as well as beans and rice. But they are certainly not a quick fix, as it takes a day or so of soaking to be able to cook them. I love the idea of frozen pre-steamed lentils.

  • Elaine September 9, 2010 at 3:40 pm

    I like to take a can of northern beans, add tomatoes, basil, some olive oil, sea salt and a bit of grated parm. I sometimes add a bit of pesto. Works great as a meal or a side dish.

  • Alysa September 9, 2010 at 4:43 pm

    One 1/2 cup serving is only 240mg sodium. Not bad!

    Shauna, you will have to check them out when you get home šŸ™‚

    Elaine, that sounds like a yummy quick dinner, thanks so much for sharing! I will have to try that next time.

  • EA-The Spicy RD June 14, 2011 at 4:55 pm

    Love your idea for a quick lentil meal. I confess to being somewhat of a lentil virgin as far as cooking them. I enjoy eating them and have a couple of bags of dried lentils in my pantry, but have yet to cook them. Thanks for the inspiration to try them out!