There are some recipes that have true staying power. They’re the ones you reach for in a pinch or when company is coming, when you’re celebrating a special occasion or picking yourself up after a long week.
It may be a sheet cake that always turns out and works equally well for birthday celebrations and potlucks. Or an appetizer that both impresses and relaxes your guests. No matter what the dish is, these types of go-to tried and true recipes are the backbone of any home cook.
And today, I’m sharing one from my kitchen. A recipe for lentils that is so sturdy and well worn that I’m confident you can take it any direction, add or subtract any number of ingredients, and it will still be reassuring to your spirit and hunger.
There is a rhythm to this recipe; one thing cooks while the other waits, then they trade places so you’re never overwhelmed by timing or tasks.
I deeply appreciate that the first step of the recipe is boiling water. It’s the recipe’s way of saying, “I know you’re tired, but you can do this”. And while you’re at it, put on a bit of music and pour yourself some tea or wine or whatever floats your boat because this cooking experience is all about enjoyment.
If I’m feeling decadent and I have access, I’ll pair the lentils with really high quality Italian sausage. It makes a perfect Sunday dinner and the actual cooking process is quick enough to leave you ample time with your love ones. I always add a simple green salad; something with strong flavor like arugula, escarole or radicchio to stand up to the richness of the lentils and sausage.
But please feel free to mix the pairings. These lentils are delicious with baked salmon, seared cod, or some simply grilled vegetables.
Enjoy the recipe, the process and most of all, enjoy with your loved ones!