Did you know you can cook lentils in a rice cooker? I found out last week thanks to a lovely visit from my friend. It never occurred to me to use anything other than rice in a rice cooker, which by the way are amazing and cheap even if you only use them for rice. But now that I that I’ve found out I can cook lentils (and possibly other beans) in it, I have a newfound appreciate for the simple machine.
Before my discovery I would cook non-split lentils sparingly because they took 40 minutes to cook and I’m just not that patient sometimes (I say this after posting about ricotta and gnocchi). Now I can still follow the recipe with regards to amounts but they cook in nearly half the time, but with plenty of flavor. This lentil and chickpea dish is delicious, but took a little more time than I like for a “simple” salad. Now I’m done in 30 minutes with a great spring salad or, even better, it can become a filling crostini topping.
This recipe also reminded me how much I like “quick pickled” red onions. Tender with just a hint of tang, but not that raw onion taste that lingers in your mouth even after you brush your teeth. Also apparently I really like feta. I save the container for storage and I won’t say how many, but we have quite a few lying around here.
Lentil and Chickpea Salad with Tahini Dressingadapted from Smitten Kitchen Lentils 1 cup dried green lentils, rinsed and picked through 2 large cloves of garlic, halved 2 fresh sage sprigs 2 tablespoons olive oil Dressing and salad 2 teaspoons ground cumin 1 teaspoon ground coriander 1/2 large clove of garlic salt to taste 2 tablespoons well-stirred tahini 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 2-3 lemons) 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons olive oil (split) 1 15-oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed 1/2 a large red onion, thinly sliced a handful of flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped 1/4 cup of feta 1 tablespoon of toasted sesame seeds to garnish
Lentils: Rice Cooker
In a rice cooker add lentils, garlic, sage, olive oil, a pinch of salt (1/4 teaspoon) and 2 cups cold water. Turn on rice cooker and allow to cook. Mine took about 20 minutes, but timing will differ depending on the rice cooker you have. The lentils should be tender, but not mushy. Once done, unplug rice cooker and allow lentils to cool slightly.
Lentils: Stove top
In a small pot add the lentils, garlic, sage, olive oil and 2 cups cold water. Bring the water to a simmer then turn the heat to low and allow the lentils to cook for 30-40 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add water as needed. When tender, but not mushy, remove from heat, drain any excess water, and set aside to cool slightly.
Place onion slices in a medium bowl and break them up with your hands. Sprinkle with two pinches of salt (about 1/2-3/4 teaspoon), two teaspoons of lemon juice, two teaspoons of olive oil and parsley. Toss together and then crumble in feta and gently toss. Set aside and allow to marinate.
Mash the half garlic clove to a paste with salt using the back of your knife or grate the garlic with a microplane grater. Add the garlic, cumin, coriander, tahini, 3 tablespoons of lemon juice, 2 tablespoons of olive oil and 2 tablespoons of water. Whisk together and set aside.
In a large bowl toss the lentils and chickpeas. Pour in the tahini dressing and toss to coat. Gently stir in the onion and feta mixture. Sprinkle with sesame seeds.
Serve with toasted bread and a side salad. This salad is good on its own, but also makes a great crostini. Enjoy!