Kelly Rossiter Photo
Kelly Rossiter

Diffficulty Level Easy

Usually when I cook lentils, I'm making them as part of a recipe where they get cooked with other ingredients that flavour them. When I made Lentil Ricotta Balls last week I just needed two cups of plain lentils to puree. I decided to make a larger pot of them so I could add a spoonful here and there to other dishes for the extra nutrients and fibre. I ended up with quite a lot of plain, cooked lentils, so I thought a fridge clearing salad would be in order.

I love these kinds of dishes, where you put a bunch of ingredients out on the kitchen counter, decide what flavours you feel like having for that particular meal, and then put it together in a matter of minutes. I could have gone in the direction of curry, but I had the ricotta and a bit of uncooked chicken, the end of a jar of my marinated red peppers and some fresh thyme so I made a dish that had more of a Mediterranean flavour.

Part of the fun of cooking is just experimenting with ingredients and flavours and seeing what you come up with. It isn't alway a success, but sometimes I learn as much from something that wasn't as successful as I hoped as I do from something that worked really well. With that in mind, take this recipe as a guide and check out what you have in your own refrigerator to add to plain lentils. I used chicken because I had some, but if you leave it out the dish is vegetarian. Leave out the ricotta cheese as well and it's vegan.

As a complete aside, you may be able to tell from dappled light in the photo that it was taken outside in my garden - in Toronto, in mid-March!

INGREDIENTS

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 small onion, diced
1 garlic clove, minced
2 oz chicken, cut into small pieces
2 sprigs fresh thyme or 1/2 tsp dried thyme
6 mushrooms, quartered
1 1/4 cups cooked green lentils
1/2 roasted red pepper
1 oz fresh ricotta cheese
1/4 cup parsley, chopped
salt and pepper to taste

PREPARATION:

  1. Heat oil in skillet until shimmering and add onion. Cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook until golden, about 2 minutes more.
  2. Add chicken and cook over medium heat until it is no longer pink, about 7 minutes. Add mushrooms and thyme and continue to saute until chicken and mushrooms are cooked, about 10 minutes or so.
  3. Add lentils and roasted red peppers and cook until heated through. Taste for salt and pepper. Top with ricotta and parsley and serve.
This recipe appears in: Salads

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