Lentils vary in size, colour, and come in various forms, with or without the skins, whole or split.
Red lentil soup
Rinse 1 cup red lentils and to it add 1 large onion, 2 cloves garlic, 1 cup celery, 2 carrots, 2 tomatoes. Chop them all and put in a pot. Also add 1 can chicken stock and 3 cups water. Cook for one hour. Puree 1/2 of the soup and add to the remaining soup. Season with 1/2 cup picante sauce.
Red lentil stew
Soak 450g dry lentils in water overnight. Rinse well and set aside. Chop 2 large onions coarsely and sauté in 4 tablespoons butter for 10 minutes. Cut 4 red bell peppers into large chunks and sauté for 5 more minutes. Add 2 tablespoons paprika to it. Add lentils and mix well with the onions and peppers for about 2 minutes. Add 4 cups chicken broth and 4 tablespoons tomato paste. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Bring to a boil. Lower heat, cover, and simmer for 1 hour. Serves 10 to 12. You can also freeze it.
Red lentil casserole
Preheat oven to 200°C. In a large skillet, take 2 tablespoons oil and add 1/4 teaspoon crushed red chilli flakes, 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder and 1 pinch asafoetida (optional) and sauté for 2 minutes. Add 1 cup sliced scallions, 1/2 cup chopped bell pepper, 3 garlic cloves, minced and 2 cups shredded cabbage and sauté for 5 minutes. Combine 2 cups cooked brown rice, 3 cups cooked red lentils, 1 cup vegetable stock, and 1 cup frozen peas, thawed, in a baking dish and bake for 20 minutes. Serve warm.
Curried red lentil salad
For dressing take 3/4 cup oil, 1/2 cup vinegar, 2 tablespoons sugar, 1 1/2 teaspoon salt, 2 teaspoons pepper, 1 teaspoon ground cumin, 1 teaspoon dry mustard, 1/2 teaspoon turmeric, 1/2 teaspoon mace, 1/2 teaspoon coriander, 1/2 teaspoon cardamom, 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves, 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, and 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon. Whisk all these together and set aside. Now wash 450g dried red lentils and cook in boiling water until just tender. Rinse in cold water and drain well. Add the dressing while lentils are still warm. Let set overnight. The next day add 1 cup currants, 1/3 cup capers and 1 1/2 cups finely chopped red onion. Let it marinate for several hours. Serve chilled.
Red lentil roll with puff pastry
Defrost 365g packet frozen puff pastry. Roll it out on a lightly floured surface and shape into a large rectangle. To prepare the filling, heat 2 tablespoons oil and fry chopped 1 large onion, and 1 large celery stick, for 10 minutes. Add 1 cup red lentils, washed and drained, 1 cup vegetable stock, 1/2 teaspoon each of thyme, oregano, parsley, and seasoning to taste. Cover and cook until lentils are soft. Drain off any excess liquid and coarsely mash the lentil mixture. Stir in the drained 1/4 cup cooked sweet corn. Spread the mixture over the prepared pastry. Fold and press the dampened edges together to seal. Cut any extra pastry. Transfer to a greased baking tray and bake at 250 degrees C for about 30 minutes. Serve hot, cut into slices.