Lentil Lovers



Time to cue up Stevie Wonder's, "Part Time Lover." Though this recipe works overtime and off the books, and there's no reason to hide your affection for it. There's nothing naughty here. Though it feels a bit scandalous with its unexpected hit of cinnamon, done in a savory way.Even if you *think* you dislike lentils, give this a try. Red lentils cook down to a slurping situation of yum. What I love most about lentils: they're a whole food that make it down to your colon, where they're recognized by your body as a useful food that helps feed the good gut bacteria. Lentils are the edible seeds of plants in the legume family, and studies have shown that lentils not only help your body when you're eating them, but they positively impact blood sugar in subsequent meals, too!* As for this recipe, leftovers taste even better as the flavors have a chance to sit and further develop. I used one jalapeño with half its seeds. If you don't want spice, use none of the seeds. Or skip the jalapeño. This is great alone in a bowl, with an egg on top, or with a swirl of yogurt and drizzle of good olive oil, or warmed over riced cauliflower, a baked potato, or over rice. It makes a great side dish or lunch, and it's protein and fiber in one. Score.


16 oz Uncooked red lentils (I used a bag of Goya), rinsed
6 cups Water
2 Tbl Olive oil
1 tsp Cumin seeds
2 Cinnamon sticks
2 medium yellow onions, diced
1 Jalapeño, stemmed, seeded, and minced (Optional)
8 cloves Garlic, minced
2 Tbl Ginger, minced
1 tsp Ground turmeric
1 tsp Ground cardamom
1 tsp Paprika
1 pinch Ground cloves (Optional)
2 tsp Kosher salt
1 large Beefsteak tomato, diced
1 Lemon
2 Tbl Cilantro, chopped (Optional)


  • Place the rinsed lentils in a stockpot. Add the water, give it stir, and turn heat to medium low, setting a timer for 20 minutes. Remove from heat after 20 minutes.

  • Meanwhile, heat the oil in a medium skillet set over medium heat. Add the cumin seeds and cinnamon stick; cook for about 2 minutes, until fragrant. The whole house should smell fragrant!

  • Add the onion, jalapeño, garlic, and ginger; cook for 5 minutes, until the onions turn translucent.

  • Add the turmeric, cardamom, paprika, ground cloves, salt, and tomato to the pan. Cook until the tomato begins to collapse, about 3 minutes. Remove the cinnamon stick and save for leftovers container.

  • Stir the spiced onion tomato mixture into the pot of lentils. Add the juice of one whole lemon and stir. Taste and add salt as needed. I add quite a bit more salt to taste. If it is too dry, then add some water. If it is too wet, then cook on low until it thickens to your liking. Garnish with chopped cilantro leaves and enjoy!

Bag of red lentils

* Jenkins DJ, Wolever TM, Taylor RH, et al. Slow release dietary carbohydrate improves second meal tolerance. Am J Clin Nutr. 1982 Jun;35(6):1339-46.

Higgins JA. Whole grains, legumes, and the subsequent meal effect: implications for blood glucose control and the role of fermentation. J Nutr Metab. 2012;2012:829238. Epub 2011 Oct 30. Mollard RC, Zykus A, Luhovy

Lentils aren't just for Lovers... it's in the cards


  1. This is delicious! and so easy. A big hit at the dinner table. Thank you!

  2. OOOOH this recipe is so heart warming….literally! The heat from the jalapeño and ginger warm the soul and the result is feeling beautifully fulfilled! I made a few adjustments based on what I had on hand..no tomatoes that were even close to ripe or flavorful( it’s still winter) so I used tomato paste and a few cherry tomatoes for the color and mouthfeel. I more than doubled the ginger and was generous to a fault with the garlic too. Absolutely delicious! A real keeper! Many thanks Stephanie for sharing!!!!

    1. Author

      I eat it in a big mug when I walk in hungry. I use it as a side dish. Put over rice, over cauliflower rice, over a baked potato, eat it as a soup. It’s so good for you and yum in the tum.

  3. This sounds so good that I may even have to try to make it!!! You know me in the cooking department is truly an adventure for all to enjoy!!!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.