Make Ahead

Lentils Once, Twice, and Thrice: Lentils Once with Brown Rice, Lentils Twice in Soup, and Lentils Thrice as Lentil Cakes

December 30, 2010
4 Ratings
  • Serves 4, with enough left over for 4 bowls of soup and 4 large lentil cakes
Author Notes

These cozy lentils you prepare once for Lentils with Rice, and then you can easily recast them as Lentil Soup and as Lentil Cakes. You can use either plain brown lentils, which become very soft, or French lentils, which retain their shape a little more. The quantity of liquid needed and cooking time may vary slightly, depending on the type and age of your lentils, so adjust as needed. For vegetarian version, omit bacon or ham, use vegetable broth or water, and fry in oil rather than bacon fat. —SallyCan

What You'll Need
  • Lentils Once, Base Recipe: Lentils with Rice
  • 3 c brown lentils (or French lentils)
  • 4 slices bacon or ham, chopped, fine dice
  • 2 - 4 T olive oil, as needed
  • 2 medium onions, chopped, small dice
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and chopped, small dice
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped, small
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 medium potatoes, peeled and chopped in small dice
  • 3 - 4 quarts broth (I like a chicken/poultry or pork broth that has been made with bones that have been smoked, but beef or vegetable stock is fine too)
  • 2 c chard, spinach, or other leafy greens, washed well and chopped into ½” pieces
  • 1 ½ tsp garam masala
  • Pinch of cayenne
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 T minced parsley
  • 2 c short grained rice, brown or white
  • Olive oil and balsamic or malt vinegar for serving
  • 4 t Sour Cream for serving
  • Lentils Twice: Lentil Soup
  • Per serving:
  • ½ c Lentils Once
  • 1 T cooked rice, optional
  • 1/3 – ½ c broth of your choice
  • A generous pinch of dried Herbes de Provence, or two large pinches of fresh oregano, minced and one large pinch of fresh thyme, minced (or a bit less of dried oregano and thyme).
  • 1 T Sour Cream
  1. Lentils Once, Base Recipe: Lentils with Rice
  2. Rinse lentils thoroughly, removing any pebbles, etc, that there might be. Place in a glass bowl, cover by one inch with water, and allow to soak for 30 minutes.
  3. In large soup pot fry bacon or ham over medium heat for a minute or two, until it starts to brown. Add a tablespoon or two of olive oil and onions and cook for a minute, then add carrots; cook for another minute, then add celery and garlic, stirring gently occasionally.
  4. Drain lentils and add to vegetable mixture with potato and garam masala and cayenne. Add 3 quarts broth. Raise heat and just as it begins to boil, turn heat down and simmer, uncovered, for 30 or 40 minutes or so, adding more broth if needed, until lentils and vegetables are soft but not falling apart, and it has thickened up a bit. Stir in chard or spinach and parsley. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  5. While lentils are cooking, cook rice according to package directions. 2 cups dry rice cooked should be plenty, with extra for lentil cakes.
  6. To serve, spoon over rice with a bit of olive oil and a drop or two of vinegar, and top with a tablespoon of sour cream
  1. Lentils Twice: Lentil Soup
  2. Mix Lentils Once with rice, if using, broth and herbs. Heat for a few minutes, add salt and pepper if needed, and serve with sour cream.
  3. Lentils Thrice: Lentil Cakes To make 2 large or 3 small cakes, use ½ c Lentils Once ½ c cooked rice 1 slice stale bread or toast, coarsely ground by hand or in food processor to make crumbs ¾ tsp curry powder 2 - 4 T warm water Bacon grease or canola oil for frying 1 - 2 T Sour Cream Chutney Shredded lettuce, greens, or cabbage Blend Lentils Once, cooked rice, bread crumbs, and curry powder together. A tablespoon at a time, add warm water until mixture comes together and can be easily formed into two 3” cakes or three 2” cakes. Heat bacon grease or canola oil in heavy frying pan. Fry on medium heat 2 – 3 minutes per side, until cakes brown and form a light crust, and are heated through. Serve on shredded greens with sour cream and chutney.
Contest Entries

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • luvcookbooks
  • pauljoseph
  • thirschfeld
  • SallyCan

8 Reviews

purplette February 14, 2012
What a great idea, the 1 2 3! Thanks for making my life easier. Looking forward to trying this out.
SallyCan February 18, 2012
Hope you enjoy them, and that your life is indeed made easier!
luvcookbooks December 31, 2010
my husband loves lentils and the 1,2,3 aspect-- make them Sunday and you have three meals on tap!! Thanks, SallyCan!
SallyCan January 1, 2011
Sure-that's how we get through the week!
pauljoseph December 31, 2010
Excellent You are really an expert
SallyCan January 1, 2011
Thanks, and I'd recommend using your garam masala :)
thirschfeld December 30, 2010
those cakes look gooood. I like lentil cakes that get crusty around the edges.
SallyCan December 30, 2010
Thanks, thirschfeld. I think that the bread crumbs help with that; it's a tip I picked up from all of the great veggie burger recipes in Didi Emmons' Vegetarian Planet cookbook.