Seasonal Sundays (Week 5) Leaning into Lentils

Seven recipes leaning on lentils, from suppers to soups to salads. Here's hoping that both lentil lovers and lentil learners will find at least one recipe destined to become a staple in your own kitchens ...

Seasonal Sundays, a weekly newsletter ♥, a seasonal collection of recipes and life ideas in and out of the kitchen.

Welcome to Seasonal Sundays ...

As ever, thank you for welcoming me into your InBox and RSS feed reader. All week long, I think about what you might find appealing, useful, interesting, compelling ...

It was another "Bitter Greens Moment" this week when a friend spied a bag of red lentils on the kitchen counter, purchased for photo updates for the red lentil-shrimp version of Two-Way Lentil Skillet.

"What are those?" she asked of the pretty little pulses.

She'd never heard of lentils!

And man-oh-man, is she missing out.

So it got me to thinking about the many go-to recipes I have for lentils, and not just lentil soup and the lentil salad that makes such a great make-ahead side dish but also serves as the base of so many impromptu supper salads.

Lentils are budget friendly, quick to cook, surprisingly meaty in texture, imminently variable ... all that for a healthy plant-based ingredient. Maybe my friend is really missing out?

But hmmm, this week I found only red lentils at the grocery. No black lentils, no green lentils, not even any usually ubiquitous brown lentils. Maybe I'm not the only one for whom red lentils are the least favorite, despite their pretty color?

Are lentils in your recipe repertoire? Do you have a favorite? Have you been leaning on lentils as grocery prices have gone up? Pray tell!

PS Here's a good guide to pulses, including lentils, dried beans, dried peas, dried chickpeas and more, Visual Guide to Pulses.

A QUICK HEADS UP I'm writing this on Friday morning, before the release of what's being described by those who have already seen it as "heinous" video of five police officers beating Tyre Nichols in Memphis. As the country braces itself for the response, I remember George Floyd and pray that this similar needless, senseless death continues the march toward law enforcement reform (definitely not de-funding). How Saturday ... and Sunday ... and Monday ... and ... shall look, we do not know.

About the Photo By Popular Request, a Little Insight into the Top Image: That silly snowman grin makes me grin right back! No wonder he (and he is a he, right?) makes a home on the kitchen table after Christmas every year ...

In Praise Of ...

  • ... wakening Dark Early to the silence of falling snow: yes, silence is its own sound, albeit the absence of sound, like black is the absence of light
  • ... returning to a years-back ophthalmologist (whew! hard to spell!) who keeps records from way back that show eye changes/stability over many years ... and offered a heads up that supply-chain issues are affecting contact lens manufacturers so much that they're not providing samples and orders are being filled much more slowly ... don't let yourself run low, order sooner than later, she advised
  • ... the Adventure Challenge, 30 "date night" let's-cook-together recipes with surprise twists, we're doing one every few weeks, it's fun, it's interesting, it gets us out of our everyday dinner groove. Heads up, the recipes are good and very do-able but terribly written, be sure to re-write so that you can actually follow them. Jeez. Still, recommended! And there's a Valentine's coupon for 20% off! There are kids and family Adventure Challenges too ...

Made Me Think ...

SEASONAL INSPIRATION: Leaning into Lentils

Lentil, Pepper & Spinach Supper with Crispy Tofu & Indian Spices, another healthy one-pot supper ♥, lentils with bright bell pepper and dark spinach, topped with tofu cooked with Indian spices. Weight Watchers Friendly. Perfect for MeatlessMonday. Vegan, filling and satisfying. Adaptable too!

Veggie-Lentil Burritos with Cilantro Sauce ♥, a vegetarian concept recipe for what's on hand, gorgeous sauce. Very adaptable. Rave reviews.

Simple Lentil Salad with Seasonal Vegetables ♥, a concept recipe, a supper salad that starts with meaty lentils and whatever vegetables are on hand or appeal.

Falafel Burgers (Lentil Burgers), another Meatless Monday recipe ♥ Naturally Gluten Free. Low Cal.

Slow Cooker Vegetarian Lentil Sloppy Joes, more easy meal prep ♥ A Veggie Venture, just sloppy joes made with lentils instead of hamburger, full of spices and flavor. Weight Watchers Friendly. Vegan.

Homemade Lentil Soup ♥, a classic homemade lentil soup, just inexpensive wholesome lentils, spices and vegetables plus a special touch, a splash of sherry. Vegetarian or easily vegan. Weight Watchers Friendly.

Best-Ever Lentil Salad with an unusual cooking technique ♥ A Veggie Venture
  • THE RECIPE Best-Ever Lentil Salad An unusual cooking technique, great for meal prep.
  • ANOTHER TAKE Summer Lentils aka the "Great Big Vegetable Salad with a Few Lentils Thrown In Just for Fun".

A collection of Lentil Recipes & Ideas ♥ Tips, nutrition & Weight Watchers points included.

What's New?!

Wondering about a recipe from the last while? Check Recent Recipes from Kitchen Parade and Recent Vegetable Recipes from A Veggie Venture.

Oven-Baked Brown Rice ♥, one to make again and again, even brown rice turns out moist and almost nutty. Totally easy! Rave reviews!

Looking Ahead ...
February 12 - Superbowl
February 14 - Valentines's
February 20 - President's Day
February 21 - Fat Tuesday / Shrove Tuesday / Pancake Night
February 22 - Ash Wednesday / Beginning of Lent

Football Fever! ♥, a fun, football-friendly collection of game-changing recipes for Superbowl parties. Party on!
Friday Fish ♥, a collection of simple fish recipes for easy dinners.
  • THE COLLECTION Kitchen Parade's Fish Recipes, many Quick Suppers, many healthy meals.
  • AND ANOTHER Kitchen Parade's Seafood Recipes including shrimp, oysters, lobster, crab.

How to plant Lenten Grass, an old Finnish tradition ♥, helping children mark the season of Lent.

A Quick Peek Into a Real-Life Kitchen

Just so you know, everything's not all pretty pictures around here, in the background is a pile of dirty dishes. And just like many (all?) of us, come five o'clock, I too draw a blank about what to make for supper, despite so many recipes I so dearly love. Here's a quick peek from the last week.

Mini Porcupine Meatballs, another Quick Supper ♥, a retro recipe updated for contemporary tastes. Low Carb. High Protein. Cheap Eats.
  • THIS WEEK By Wednesday, it was already feeling like a loooooong week. If there hadn't been a pound of hamburger already thawed in the fridge, I might've, I dunno ... punted. Instead, I remembered a few cans of tomato soup in the pantry leftover from when my dad lived with us, um, more than four years ago now. I checked the expiration dates, yep outdated. But I opened a can and it seemed fine. And it was! And dinner was even finer! Meatballs always "sound" fussy to me but these went together in a flash. And because they're baked, well, no splatters, no greasy smell. These tasted so-so-so good! I played up the tomato soup "sauce" (so retro, right? usually I use spaghetti sauce, it's wonderful too) with the last of some salsa and a glop of bbq sauce. We both l-o-v-e-d this supper. Later it occurred to me how the sauce is really variable, any kind of canned soup, any bottle of green chile sauce, Thai peanut sauce, etc. I predict lots more meatballs in our life!
  • THE RECIPE Mini Porcupine Meatballs A retro recipe updated for contemporary tastes.

Just Updated!

Chicken Sybil ♥, the 'multiple personality' chicken, just pan-cooked chicken in a creamy-mustard sauce with on-hand ingredients.

Chicken & Veggies Baked in Foil, another Quick Supper ♥ Weeknight Easy. Weight Watchers Friendly. Low Carb. Gluten Free. High Protein. Easy Cleanup. Rave Reviews.

Karelian Borscht (Russian Beet Borscht Soup) ♥, extra hearty with sausage and a swirl of sour cream but also especially earthy and delicious as a vegetarian borscht.

Finnish Whole-Wheat Flatbread ♥, hot bread on the table in minutes.

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Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Quick Suppers are Kitchen Parade favorites and feature recipes easy on the budget, the clock, the waistline and the dishwasher. Do you have a favorite recipe that other Kitchen Parade readers might like? Just send me a quick e-mail, you'll find my current address in the FAQs. How to print a Kitchen Parade recipe. Never miss a recipe! If you like this recipe, sign up for a free e-mail subscription. If you like Kitchen Parade, you're sure to like my food blog about vegetable recipes, too, A Veggie Venture. When you make my recipes, I'd love to know your results! Just leave a comment below or better still, on the specific recipe's page.

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Alanna Kellogg
Alanna Kellogg

A Veggie Venture is home of "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.