Red lentil dip
December 2, 2010 § 28 Comments
After experiencing some mishaps in the kitchen and with my computer, it’s a relief to finally be able to post, and additionally to post something that’s quick and easy to make. On top of the computer problems that have thankfully now been resolved, it’s finals time. Basically, I want delicious, nutritional food that I can prepare with minimal effort because otherwise I tend to just snack on random things from the kitchen – and that plus a wonky sleep schedule is basically a recipe for crabbiness. So, this red lentil dip I whipped up is great for anyone in search of cheap, filling, and easy dishes because it’s filled with protein, uses ingredients that are easy to find (possibly even as close as the cupboards), and can be made in under twenty-five minutes, with very little hands-on time. Plus, you can make it in advance and stash it in the refrigerator for dipping at your leisure, since it’s great at any temperature.
The taste is vaguely reminiscent of many bean dips, including the famous hummus, but isn’t as rich and heavy on the palate in either taste or texture. To the light earthiness of the legumes, I added some garlic, a splash of red wine vinegar for a hint of sourness, with cumin and paprika contributing subtle smokiness. Since I was feeling fancy I snipped over some chives I found lurking in my produce drawer…though this trick could work for any dip, homemade or not!
For even more gussying up, you could also opt for crusty bread, lavash, pita, or even naan rather than a bag of multigrain chips. Also, this could easily make the transition to a hearty side dish by just mashing the lentils a bit with a fork to thicken them for a more rustic texture, instead of blending to dip consistency, and then serving alongside other dishes like a pilaf or a couscous dish. A swirl of plain yogurt wouldn’t go amiss either (though would then just be vegetarian, not vegan). No matter how you tweak it, enjoy!
Red lentil dip
Makes about a cup and a half of dip
- One cup red lentils, rinsed, any debris removed
- Two cups water
- Approximately one tablespoon red wine vinegar
- Approximately two tablespoons good-quality extra-virgin olive oil
- Two garlic cloves, grated or pressed
- One teaspoon smoky paprika
- One teaspoon ground cumin
- Salt and pepper, freshly ground, to taste
- A few chives, washed, and/or plain (preferably Greek-style) yogurt*, to serve (optional)
1. Rinse the lentils and inspect for any non-lentil stuff, and discard. In a small saucepan, bring lentils and water to a boil, then immediately turn down the heat to a very gentle simmer, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking, for about fifteen more minutes, or until lentils fully cooked and fairly soft.
2. Meanwhile, mix together vinegar, oil, garlic, and spices (you can do this in the serving bowl or just mix in after step three, whichever is easier).
3. Once lentils are soft, remove from heat. With a fork, mash the lentils, or for the more impatient or those after a smoother consistency, blend, either with an immersion blender or a food processor. To the blended lentils, stir in vinegar/garlic/oil/spice mixture and generously season with salt and pepper. You may need to tweak the seasonings depending on your preferences (and remember that if you’re serving it cold the seasonings can be adjusted then or again too) – you want a nice balance between the slight twinge of the red wine vinegar and the garlic, and the smokiness of the spices.
4. Serve hot alongside something dippable, or store in refrigerator for up to three days. Sprinkle with snipped chives and/or plain (Greek-style, preferably) yogurt* before serving, if desired.
*Yogurt (make sure it isn’t vanilla yogurt!) will make this vegetarian, not vegan, beeteedubs.