Weeknight Greek-Style Lentil Stew

Many evenings I want to talk myself out of cooking and order in. Then I realize there’s usually a bunch of food in my fridge, freezer and pantry that even if it doesn’t make sense, I’ll make it make sense. Plus to be honest, it’s a slow time of year for me real estate wise, the spring season is picking up and I have a couple of deals going, but that payday is still a way’s away. 

Lentils are one of the most versatile pantry staples you can keep on hand. They are a cheap and easy source of protein and fiber, and they can take on so many flavors and forms – soups, stews, salads, patties, etc.

This particular stew was just a weeknight meal that came together in about 45 minutes and is great leftover for lunch. Eat it on its own, or carb it up with some nice crusty bread, some grilled pita, serve over polenta, mashed potatoes, pasta, etc. 

Remember, this was a fridge clean out kind of meal. You don’t have to follow my ingredients or quantities – play around on your own.

WEEKNIGHT GREEK-STYLE LENTIL STEW

2 cups dried Lentils, rinsed 
2 links Loukaniko (Greek sausage with orange peel – I like the Old Neighborhood brand)
8 ounces Ground Pork
1 medium to large Sweet Onion
4-5 cloves Garlic
1 tablespoon Olive Oil
1 cup chopped Carrots
2 cups Strained Tomatoes
2-3 Bay Leaves
2 tablespoons Greek Seasoning
1 tablespoon Oregano
Dash of Celery Salt
Salt and fresh ground Pepper, to taste 
Parsley, for garnish

1 – Boil the lentils separately in lightly salted water until al dente. Drain and set aside. This process takes at least 20 minutes, so you may start next steps.
2 – While the lentils are boiling, using a food processor, pulse the onion and garlic until minced.
3 – On a medium setting, heat the olive oil in a large saucepan or small stock pot and add the onion mixture, stirring occasionally.
4 – While the onions are heating, place sausages in the food processor and grind into granules. Add the sausage and pork to the onion mixture. Heat until pork is browned. Add the tomatoes, carrots, and seasonings. Be careful not to over-salt as the mixture will reduce and increase the salinity. Bring mixture to a boil and reduce to a simmer.
5 – Add the lentils to the stew. Continue to simmer, about 30 minutes, until the carrots are softened. If the stew feels too thick, you may add a bit of water, up to one cup.
6 – You may serve immediately, or chill and serve at a later date. The stew may be stored in the fridge and re-heated up to one week, or frozen and thawed at a later date, up to 6 months. Garnish with parsley before serving.

Summer Lentil Salad

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I love lentils. I believe I have mentioned this numerous times. They are healthy, a great source of protein, and versatile.

This time of year as the weather gets warmer and I like to cook a bit less, I like batch cooking once or twice a week to have lunch for work or a quick meal to share. In comes Lentil Salad. You can put pretty much what you want and it will last about a week in the fridge.


Another great thing about it is that I don’t have a precise recipe. It’s really something I whip together. I think the only constant is lentils and a balsamic vinaigrette.

Here’s what I used in my salad:

  • Greek Lentils (cooked al dente and cooled)
  • Chicken Sauasage (sliced, browned in a pan with a little oil and cooled)
  • Scallions
  • Diced Cucumbers
  • Olive Oil
  • Balsamic Vinegar
  • Italian Seasoning
  • Salt and Pepper

Toss it all together and you have your meal! It can be served cool or room temperature. Feel free to experiment! Veggies, goat cheese, ham, other meats, different dressings…just have fun with it!

Lentil Cakes with Curry Aioli – Snowmagedden

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So we had this major snowstorm bust here in the NYC metro area. I thought we would have been snowed in for a few days, so I took my pantry project on the road to my sister’s house. Since I live alone, figured it would be more fun to be snowed in with my nephews (who are 7 and 5) in a big house than cooped up in my apartment. Not wanting to lose steam on my project, I grabbed red lentils, chopped onion, super grains (a mix of quinoa, buckwheat, and millet), yogurt, and curry powder. I had a vision of Lentil Cakes with Curry Aioli, and it was going down at her house.

I am so happy I made this recipe “on the road” and had more people to feed than myself. My nephews would not go near the food (though they did stir the sauce), but my sister and brother in law were thrilled with the meal, especially how it got them thinking of ways they can vary this dish.

Even before we ate, we already did one variation, which was using the aioli as a base for salad dressing, and combining heads we created a simple, snowed-in feast.

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The Meal – Lentil Cakes, Curry Aioli, Mixed Green Salad with Curry Dressing, Two Types of Naan (whole wheat and garlic), Apple Chicken Sausage, and a couple of leftover Pretzels

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“Meatless Monday” Serving Suggestion – Open Faced Lentil Cake Naan-wich and Salad

LENTIL CAKES
1 1/2 cups dried red lentils
1/2 cup super grains
1- 1 1/2 cups chopped onion
Olive oil, for sauteing
1 egg
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
salt and pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon pizza seasoning
1 teaspoon garlic powder

  1. Cook lentils and super grains in separate pots according to package directions, drain and allow to cool to room temperature or chill
  2. Lightly saute onions about two minutes with about 1-2 tablespoons oil, season with salt and pepper. You want to maintain the texture of the onions, but soften them a bit so they are not completely raw. Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature or chill
  3. Using a potato masher, mash lentils in a large bowl. Stir in grains and onion
  4. Crack egg into bowl and mix in thoroughly
  5. Mix in flour and seasonings. Mixture should be moist but not wet, similar to raw meatloaf. Add more flour if it is too wet/soft
  6. To cook – lightly spray a nonstick pan with cooking spray and place over high heat to medium heat
  7. Once pan is hot, but not scorching, scoop about 1/4-1/3 a cup of the mixture and form a patty. You can cook 4-5 cakes in one pan. Do not overcrowd or make more than that at once, so not to burn the cakes, since you are shaping the patties as you go. Cook each patty 2-3 minutes on each side. Cakes can be transferred to an oven safe dish and kept warm in your oven (200 degrees or less) until ready to serve
  8. To serve, add a dollop of aioli to each cake. Cakes work well with flatbreads for a sandwich, or they can be eaten on their own
  9. Cakes can be refrigerated or frozen and reheated, but they taste best freshly made

Note: Seasonings were what was on hand. The pizza seasoning was comprised of oregano, marjoram, basil, onion powder, garlic powder. Had I made this at home, I would have used thyme and marjoram. Feel free to season the mixture as you would like.

CURRY AIOLI (and dressing)
1/2 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
1/4 cup light mayonnaise
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons curry powder
salt and pepper
extra olive oil and white wine vinegar (for dressing)

Whisk all the ingredients in a bowl until well incorporated. Aioli should be a nice buttercream yellow color. Taste and adjust seasonings as need.

To make a salad dressing, combine 1/4 cup dressing, 1-2 tablespoons olive oil, and 1-2 tablespoons white wine vinegar. Thin the mixture out with a little bit of water, to desired flavor and viscosity (I used about a tablespoon). Taste and season with additional curry powder, salt, and pepper if necessary. Toss with your favorite greens.