In the winter kitchen, the lowly lentil, in a rainbow of colors, shapes and sizes, provides a huge benefit, especially to our vegetarian friends. These legumes offer as much protein as soybeans, as well as a good hit of the all important B vitamins and zinc, and dietary fiber. The deep, earthy flavor is always a great addition to hearty fare.
Varieties include French Green, small jade beauties that cook up with a firm texture and meaty flavor. These are perfect for salads, or as an addition to meat, grain or vegetable entrees. Black Beluga are dark, shiny jewels that add an elegant touch to any hot or cold dish. Reds, while cooking up a little softer, still retain their shape, and show off as an elemental red rock color in soups and curries. The familiar Brown is a traditional favorite, as it melts its way into soups and stews and serves as the perfect foil for vegetables or meats. Browns can also be cooked in the same pot as any quick cooking rice like Basmati, in place of half the rice, a simple preparation that equals more than the sum of its parts, nutritionally and culinarily. The Dals of India and Pakistan come in a fantastic array of colors and varieties, with delicate and refined qualities, suited especially to fiery, aromatic curries. If you've not yet tried some of the more exotic varieties, winter is the perfect time to check them out, and let some loveliness into your kitchen.
This recipe stuffs avocados with lentils, pepitas, and dusts with sumac.