In case you haven't discovered the joy of lentils yet, let me just fill you in. These little legumes are incredibly versatile because they absorb flavours so well. They don't require soaking like other legumes, so they're fairly quick and easy to cook. You can store dried lentils for a long time, making them a perfect staple for your pantry. It's great having them on hand to add to soups, stews, dahl, and even salads. Because they're high in protein and have a hearty texture, they make a great substitute for meat in recipes like lentil loaf, lentil burgers, lentil 'meat'balls, or lentil sloppy joes. I've even seen recipes for baked goods like cookies and brownies that use lentils because they can be easily concealed while adding amazing nutritional value. They're packed full of fibre, protein, folate, potassium, and iron, to name a few. So have I sold you on lentils yet? I sound like a lentil spokesperson or something. I'm really not though, I swear, I just happen to love lentils. That's why when I heard about the Recipe Revelations Challenge at Canadian Lentils, I was excited to take it on. I came up with this dip that I'm pretty proud of, if I do say so myself. It has a beautful smoky flavour, thanks to the roasted peppers, smoked paprika and oak smoked sea salt. Regular salt will work too, but if you can get your hands on the smoked kind, you gotta do it! I've been sprinkling it on all sorts of meals lately. Anyway, back to this dip.
Tony and I thought it was awesome. The kids kept coming back to it too, especially with chips. Cole said it was "comme ci comme ca" in his smug little french immersion way, meaning he doesn't hate it or love it. He did eat an awful lot of it though so I think he liked it more than he was letting on.
I'll show you in this recipe how to roast your own red peppers. You can of course use the jarred kind if you want, but once you see how ridiculously simple it is to roast them yourself you probably won't want to go back to the store-bought kind again.
Lentil and Roasted Red Pepper Dip
1 cup red split lentils
3 cups water
1 red pepper
1 clove garlic
Juice from 1 medium lemon
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
Salt, to taste (use oak smoked sea salt if possible)
Combine lentils and water in a saucepan over high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer while covered until tender but not mushy, about 20-25 minutes. Place lentils in a colander to drain any excess water. Allow to cool completely.
Wash and deseed the red pepper. Cut red pepper into thick strips and lay them out on a baking sheet. Place under broiler until skin bubbles and blackens.
While they're still hot, place the pepper strips into an airtight container or bag and let them steam for about 15 minutes (this helps make the skin easier to remove).
Peel off the blackened skin and discard it, then place peppers in a food processor with cooled lentils, garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, cumin and paprika. Blend in the processor until smooth.
Add a little water if you find it too thick. Add salt to taste. Cover and refrigerate until cooled. Pour dip into a serving bowl and sprinkle with more smoked paprika. Can be served with veggies, pita bread, sliced baguette, tortilla chips, regular chips, etc.
Heck, why not just grab a spoon and dig in?
Check out Canadian Lentils facebook page for all the great lentil recipe submissions and 'like' your favourites!