This post is brought to you by the wonderful folks at Lentils.org but all opinions are 100% mine.
When I think about underrated ingredients, one of the first things that always pops up is lentils. Aside from the occasional lentil soup and maybe a lentil curry, most of the time we are never thinking about incorporating lentils into our meals but they are a powerhouse when it comes to nutrition, affordability, and versatility. More importantly, they are really tasty and terrific at absorbing flavor, which makes them an ideal candidate for all kinds of yummy recipes.
That’s why today, I am coming at you with one delicious recipe for barbecue lentils and three easy ways to turn these yummy lentils into a quick weeknight meal! And guys, these lentils are truly something special. They are so so good. In fact, last weekend we had friends over for football and I replaced the traditional pulled pork with these tasty barbecue lentils. After some intial skepticism, everyone was headed back for seconds, building barbecue lentil tacos and sandwiches like they were going out of style. It’s the perfect, healthy football food and also doubles as a simple, easy weeknight meal.
Now before we dig into the recipe, let’s talk about lentils and why they are truly one of my favorite ingredients. Like I said before, lentils are a powerhouse when it comes to nutrition. Not only are they a plant based source of protein, they are packed with fiber and contain iron, floate, and potassium. And with just 115 calories per 1/2 cup serving, they are a healthy choice to make meatless entrees, side dishes, salads, and even breakfast dishes. Plus they are really easy to prepare. Unlike many other beans and legumes, they don’t require any pre-soaking. Just give them a quick rinse and in less than 30 minutes they are ready to eat.
Now let’s get into this recipe because it really is one you will want to make as soon as possible. It starts with a combination of onions, mushrooms, carrots, and garlic all cooked with paprika, cumin, and chili powder for some spice. Once everything softens, it’s time to add the lentils. While almost any lentil would work for this recipe, I opted to use green lentils since they are easy to find and super affordable, only about $1-2 per pound. These are cooked in a combination of vegetable broth and barbecue sauce. Adding the barbecue sauce directly to the cooking liquid ensures the lentils get plenty of sweet and smoky flavors. Then all you need is about 25 minutes and dinner is ready. Stir in some extra barbecue sauce to make sure the are sticky, sweet, and smoky. Dinner is ready!