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Lentils Folded Into Yogurt, Spinach, and Basil


Peter Miller’s Lunch at the Shop: The Art and Practice of the Midday Meal is a favorite book of mine. Peter has a famous architectural bookstore in Seattle and he knows the value of a good meal. A typical workday is no excuse to eat poorly. Peter is also “bean people” and has many recipes taking advantage of good legumes. He was quick to say yes when I asked him if he would share his lentil recipe from his book. His new title is Five Ways to Cook Asparagus (And Other Recipes)(Abrams, 2018), and my copy is already splattered and worn, a good indication of its value.

  • ½ cup pine nuts or chopped walnuts
  • 2 cups baby spinach
  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 1 cup cooked Rancho Gordo Black Caviar Lentils or Rancho Gordo French-style Green Lentils
  • 2 tablespoons fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 ½ lemons
  • 1 cup Greek yogurt
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ cup Parmesan cheese, sliced

Serves 4

  1. Heat a small sauté pan over medium heat. Add the pine nuts or walnuts and cook until lightly toasted, 5 to 7 minutes. Lay them out on a wooden cutting board to cool, then chop them roughly to the size of the lentils.
  2. If your knife is sharp enough to slice the spinach and basil leaves without bruising them, gently cut them into bite-size pieces. Otherwise, tear them by hand.
  3. Place the lentils in a bowl and mix in the spinach, basil, parsley,and garlic. Squeeze the juice of one lemon into the lentils, mix, and then fold in the yogurt. Mix again, then slowly pour in the oil, stirring, as you do, to combine. At this point, taste the mixture, and season with salt and 2 good grindings of pepper. Finally, fold the roasted nuts into the dish, and finish with a drizzle of oil. The dish is now ready to serve.
  4. The lentils and greens will keep in an airtight jar or container in the refrigerator for at least 3 days. Before serving, bring the lentils and greens close to room temperature. They can go on a slice of buttered (and perhaps grilled) bread, or on a lettuce leaf as a salad. Top the lentils with a squeeze of lemon juice, some Parmesan, and a final grind of fresh pepper.


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