you will not eat lentils only with cotechino on New Year’s Eve? Yes, it’s true, it’s the time of year when the price of precious legumes goes up, but lentils are such a delicious and versatile ingredient that you can eat them year-round and in a thousand different ways. I will not give you thousands of recipes with lentils, but I will refer to an article about different cooking methods for cooking them, which is the basis for an indefinite number of dishes, both simple and more complex.
In addition to the numerous nutritional properties of the oldest cultivated leguminous plant (man was already cultivating and eating lentils by 7000 BC), it is necessary to first tell what proteins, vitamins and mineral salts it does not contain, because the list of nutrients it is long. . and different.
Therefore, it is time to find out how many ways we can use lentils in the kitchen, because they are not only accompanied by zampone and cotechino, but are a versatile dish suitable for everyone. With pasta, stewed, in croutons, in the form of meatballs or burgers, or in the form of a delicious soup or velvet: here 13 recipes with lentils to bring this concentrate of well-being and taste to the table all year round.
Lentil and pork sausage
Lentil cotechino (or zampone), a must at festive tables, is perhaps the dish that best represents the tradition, especially on New Year’s Eve. Let’s face it, we eat them not for the recipe itself, but for the symbolism these two ingredients carry with them. Cotechino, like all fatty foods, is a symbol of wealth, and lentils are considered a bringer of wealth. Also, this year we all need to be a little generous with the portions, in the meantime, here is the recipe. And for an even more delicious and spectacular option, try this basket of cotechino lentils.
Lentils are not only an ideal side dish for cotechino, they accompany any main meat dishes as well as fish. In addition, they are also suitable for a vegan diet as they provide a good supply of protein, fiber and iron. To cook them in a very simple recipe, follow our version by adding tomatoes.
Pasta and lentils
Pasta and lentils remind me of kindergarten, when I think of the first time I ate them. It is one of my favorite traditional firsts today, as it was then. It is no coincidence that it is also one of the favorite foods of children. Everyone has their own recipe, some add different spices, some add pork, lard or fat according to their taste or eating habits. Here is our recipe.
Lentils make delicious soups and stews, and are eaten with croutons or slices of toast on cold evenings. We offer you four lentil soup recipes to change up throughout the winter: from red lentil soup to lentil and pork soup, from lentil and chestnut soup and from barley to lentil and pea soup. If you love soups, try our red lentil soup with coconut milk. To give your dinner an exotic touch, here is a recipe for lentil dhal, a typical Indian soup with lots of spices and an intense aromatic flavor.
Rice and lentils
An alternative to pasta and lentils or soup is lentil rice. Not a real risotto, but a warm and delicious soup to eat on cold winter evenings. Cook the lentils (you can choose to use canned or dry beans) in a frying pan with the onions, carrots and celery. Add vegetable stock and pour the desired amount of rice. Cook to desired consistency and add stock.
We have already said that lentils are a preferred source of protein for vegetarians and vegans because they are low in calories and low in fat. Try making meatballs or lentil burgers as an alternative to meat to change up your diet. Also try our lentil falafel recipe for a delicious Middle Eastern version.
Crostini with lentil cream
A good and quick alternative starter for unexpected guests? For very original vegan croutons, make a lentil and rosemary cream to serve on toast. You can serve the cream separately both hot and cold. Here is the recipe.
Lentil cream with shrimp
In some regions of Italy, fish is compulsorily eaten on Christmas and New Year’s Eve. If you want to keep the tradition but can’t give up an exotic touch, you can make sweet and sour shrimp skewers and accompany it with a lentil cream with coconut milk. Your guests will make reservations for all other holidays! The recipe is ready to be repeated.
Lentils are also perfect as a main ingredient in a special omelette along with many other vegetables. It is very easy and quick to prepare, especially if you use red lentils that do not need to be soaked, as in our recipe.
Lentils with sausage
A traditional peasant recipe that continues to be present on our tables, especially in winter. Ideal as a main course, but also perfect as a single dish given the presence of meat and legumes. The recipe is simple: after cooking the lentils in a pan with herbs and spices, add the previously fried sausage, and if you want a more soupy consistency, continue cooking by adding water, vegetable stock or tomatoes.
Lentils also become a secret ingredient in a delicious burek with potatoes and cheese. After the lentils are cooked, stir a good portion and add to the sieved boiled potatoes. Add eggs, parmesan, salt, pepper and pour everything into a pan or, if you want to make individual portions, into small molds. Bake in the oven at 200° for about twenty minutes, remove from the mold and serve.
Lentils and polenta
We conclude with a dish of another peasant tradition that appears in an elegant dinner. Make sure to make the polenta, let it harden and cool, and cut into slices. Accompany it with stewed lentils (with white or tomato) and a glass of wine, and you won’t need anything else.