The Perfect Winter Lentils

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset RED Hearts are guest posts on I Heart Daily from the authors of RED: Teenage girls in America write on what fires up their lives today.

This is a secret weapon for winter in a RED Hearts series of seasonal recipes — things you can cook or bake, usually healthy things, always easy things — for the people you heart! Served up by Erika Kwee, 24, “the baker, photographer and typo-maker” behind vegetarian food blog The Pancake Princess.Lentils may not look like much, the little understated legumes. But as we wait patiently for temperatures to creep back into thawing spring status — hello, bundled-up friends on the east coast! — the lentil can be just the ticket to soul-fulfilling, rib-sticking food. With a whopping 8 grams of protein and 9 grams of fiber in each quarter cup, lentils are a proven best friend of vegetarians and anything but boring for omnivores.Here’s my super-easy new trick to infuse any pot of lentils with incredible flavor: Add a sliced garlic clove and drizzle of olive oil. It’s a forever goodbye to bland and a hearty hello to flavorful and tender, the perfect waiting-for-spring meal.

Uber-Delicious Garlicky Lentils 1 cup brown or green lentils, rinsed 2 cups water 1 tablespoon olive oil ½ teaspoon salt 1-2 fat garlic cloves, sliced

Add all ingredients to a stovetop pot. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium and simmer for 30-35 minutes, until tender.* Cooking time may vary if you use a different type of lentil.

Serve with anything! Try: roasted butternut squash, parsley and feta; sautéed spinach, tomatoes and onions; or artichoke hearts, roasted red peppers and olives.

I like my lentils on the softer side, so I tend to add a little extra water near the end of the cooking time and boil for a few extra minutes. If you prefer firmer lentils, check in on them after 25 minutes of simmering and remove when they’re the right texture for you. 

RED Hearts guest poster Erika Kwee is an author of RED: Teenage girls in America write on what fires up their lives today, which is out in paperback.