Lentejas guisadas is our favorite lentils recipe, an amazing flavorful dish that can make up half of the meal on its own. The inexpensive and nutritious lentil is one of the noblest and most versatile legumes, and lends itself to wonderful dishes, simple or complex. Enjoy it.
Why we ❤️ it
Lentils stand out as a very versatile ingredient, and they are also a firm favorite among vegans and vegetarians. For this dish I've prepared in our favorite type of beans/legumes dishes: guisados. But there's more to it than that, I show you how to make it a vegan dish, or include meat in it.
It seems like a very simple dish, but as comfort food goes this cannot get any more complex. There is also some essential information about lentils and everything you need to know about it.
Different types of lentils, which can be yellow, orange (officially known as red lentils), green, brown, and black, are generally considered to be one of the healthiest foods in existence.
Lentils are high in protein, including two essential amino acids, isoleucine and lysine, fiber, folate, B vitamins, and minerals. Lentils are also gluten-free.
How to cook lentils
One of the advantages of lentils compared to other legumes is that they don't need to be soaked overnight. You can soak them for 20 minutes or so prior to cooking, and the cooking time is usually less than half an hour, depending on the variety of lentils. If you cook them in a pressure cooker or an instant pot, it'll be even faster.
Don't salt the lentils until you've finished cooking them; otherwise, they will remain tough in texture.
Another plus is that lentils can add texture to sauces and soups, especially the varieties that disintegrate when cooked, like red lentils.
Lentejas guisadas with rice, concón, fritos maduros and avocado.
In this recipe I've provided the option of adding meat to the lentils, as well as making them into a flavorful, nutritious, filling vegan lentejas recipe.
What to serve with it
As you can see in the pictures, with this lentil dish I served the typical Dominican array that goes with stewed beans: Rice (arroz blanco). Some slices of avocado, and fritos maduros balances greatly the meaty taste of the lentils.
And if you're lucky, you can get some concón with it (as in the pictures).
About this recipe
For this stew, I added thyme. Thyme, uncommon as it is in some regions of our country, it is an essential part of legume and bean dishes in the northwestern region of the country, where it is known as "ditén", a word of Haitian origin. Thyme, to me tastes somewhere between aniseed and mint, a flavor that cannot be found in another herb.
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How to Cook Lentejas Guisadas (Stewed Lentils)
- 2 cups dry brown lentils
- 2 smoked pork chops, cubed (optional)
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 large red onion, cut into eighths
- 2 potatoes, cut into cubes
- ½ pound auyama (kabocha squash), [0.48 kg], cut into cubes
- 1 diced bell peppers
- ½ teaspoon mashed garlic
- 4 sprigs thyme
- 2 tablespoons minced cilantro, (or parsley)
- 1½ teaspoons salt, (or more, to taste)
- Rinse the lentils. Soak the them in abundant water for 20 - 60 minutes in a dutch oven or pot. Boil the lentils for 15 minutes over medium heat. Sieve the lentils until all the water has been drained. Set aside water and lentils.
- In a dutch oven (caldero) heat the oil over medium-high heat. If you are adding pork chops, cook them stirring until they brown, otherwise continue with the instructions below.Add the onion to the pot. Cook and stir until the onion becomes translucent. Add the potatoes, pumpkin, bell pepper, garlic, and thyme. Cook and stir for 2 minutes.
- Add the lentils (without the water) to the pot, and cook and stir for a minute. Add 4 cups of the water you had reserved, stir.
- Cover and simmer over low heat until all the ingredients are cooked through. Add more water as it becomes necessary (use clear water if you run out of the water from boiling the lentils)Remove the thyme sprigs, and stir in the cilantro. Season with salt to taste.
- Remove from the heat and serve per suggestions above the recipe.
Nutritional information is calculated automatically based on ingredients listed. Please consult your doctor if you need precise nutrition information.
History of lentils
This part was written by Aunt Ilana
The unassuming little lentil (lens culinaris) has a long and illustrious pedigree. Humans have been cultivating and eating them for thousands of years, based on archaeological findings in the Middle East, where vessels containing dried lentils dating back 9,500 to 13,000 years have been unearthed.
The name for lentil is of Latin origin, derived from the word lens.
Fun facts about lentils
- Lentils are one of the world's oldest known food crops, cultivated and eaten in Ancient Egypt and across the Middle East.
- Optical lenses get their name from lentils due to their shape.
- Lentils are outstandingly nutritious: high in protein and fiber, low in fat, and cholesterol-free. Populations with high consumption levels of lentils and other pulses tend to have lower rates of cancer and diabetes.
- Lentils are believed to symbolize prosperity in some cultures because they resemble coins.
- Lentils have long been known as a "poor man's meat" and, in more recent times, have become a prominent feature of vegetarian and vegan diets.
- Lentils are also an environmentally friendly food because, as with other legumes, their cultivation improves soil fertility and reduces the need for harmful fertilizers.
- Did we leave anything out? Let us know in the comments.
Combining lentils with rice is said to provide a complete protein dish. Lentil has a moderate amount of carbohydrates as well, so a lentil stew with some vegetables added is a complete meal.
Lentils have an earthy, smoky flavor, although this varies according to the different types. Some are sweeter and nuttier, and all combine beautifully with herbs, spices, and other seasonings like ginger or lemon juice.
It will depend on the type and freshness of the lentils, but typically it can be as low as 20 minutes, generally, never more than two hours would be enough to shorten the time it takes to boil lentils.
- Green beans - why pulses are the eco-friendly option for feeding and saving the world. University of Sheffield
Published Mar 21, 2012, revised