KITCHEN SCOOP: Lentils with Sautéed Veggies

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Brown lentils are humble little legumes that often get overlooked for a desperate dinner. While it’s true you don’t have to soak them as you do other dried beans, brown lentils still take an hour to cook. That might rule out most of the possibilities they could offer a desperate cook. But what if the lentils were cooked already?

I used to cook the whole one-pound bag of brown lentils and freeze the extras in 1-cup increments for future use. But my most recent find in the grocery is plain already-cooked brown lentils. They come in a package with about three cups of lentils ready to stir into any of your favorite lentil recipes.

I have seen these ready-to-use lentils at various Trader Joe’s stores and am waiting for them to appear in my local grocery chains, too. If you’re fortunate enough to have a Trader Joe’s, then by all means pick up a pack to enjoy. But if you’re still waiting for the store to come near you, cook up a full bag of brown lentils one day when you have an hour, and freeze them for later.

Either way, today’s recipe for Brown Lentils with Sautéed Veggies is equally delicious hot, served over rice, or cold or room temperature, served over salad. Top with plain Greek yogurt for a healthy, wonderful dinner that flies together in just 15 minutes.

Lentils with Sautéed Veggies

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/2 cup sliced carrots
1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
1/2 cup chopped red, yellow or orange bell pepper
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped green onions
1 tablespoon bottled minced ginger
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 cups already-cooked brown lentils
2 tablespoons plain Greek yogurt
Chopped green salad, optional for serving

1. In an 8-inch skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add all vegetables. Stir and cook for 5 minutes, or until veggies are crisp-tender. Stir in ginger and red pepper flakes.
2. If serving lentils hot, add lentils to the pan, and stir and toss until lentils are mixed in and heated through, about 3 minutes. Serve over rice. If serving lentils cold, remove veggies from stove and toss with lentils in a medium bowl. Serve over salad. Top each serving, (whether hot or cold), with 1 tablespoon yogurt.

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