Refried Lentils, Inspired by Tom Hirschfeld

March 19, 2017

Test Kitchen-Approved

Serves: 2 to 3


  • 1/2 cup brown lentils, picked over and rinsed
  • 2 garlic cloves, one smashed, one minced
  • 1 onion, one half left whole, one half roughly chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
  • Salt and pepper, for seasoning
  • 1/2 lime
  • Pickled red onions, for garnish
  • Cilantro, for garnish
  • Crumbly goat or feta cheese, for garnish
In This Recipe


  1. Put the lentils in a small pot with 1 1/2 cups of water, the smashed garlic clove, and half the onion. Season with salt, bring to a boil, and then simmer, covered, for 30 minutes, until your lentils are soft.
  2. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the lentils to a food processor, leaving their cooking liquid in the pot (or, drain the lentils and reserve the cooking liquid).
  3. Add a pinch of salt and pulse the lentils until they're as chunky or smooth as you'd like.
  4. Heat the olive oil in a heavy skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until soft, 5 to 7 minutes. Then add the minced garlic clove, cumin, oregano, and red pepper flakes and cook for another minute, until the garlic is golden.
  5. Add the lentils from the food processor and cook, stirring, until warmed through. If they're very dry, add some of the remaining cooking liquid to moisten. Taste and adjust salt and pepper. Squeeze the lime over top. Remove from heat.
  6. Garnish with pickled onions, cilantro, and goat or feta cheese.

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Reviews (2) Questions (0)

2 Reviews

Fran M. April 4, 2017
I made this for dinner. It was wonderful. I only had parmigiana cheese so I used that & served it over pasta. Delicious meal.
Author Comment
Sarah J. April 4, 2017