Savory Breakfast Lentils

IMG_3652It’s beginning to feel like Fall in Chicagoland – though, I don’t think Summer is over just yet. After a long break from my blog, I am back to blogging about the concoctions in my kitchen.

These savory breakfast lentils are good year round. Some prefer to eat them with lunch and even dinner. Somehow they feel more satisfying in summer and they suit the climate – they are flavorful, light and filling (but not heavy).

They can be eaten on their own or with a dollop of plain yogurt or plain rice. I prefer to eat them slightly warmed up, but they also taste good at room temperature.  So here it goes!


  • 1 cup dried masoor dal or red lentils with husk (they look brown with the husk) or Bob’s Red Mill Lentils
  • 1.5 cups water (for cooking only not soaking)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 vegetable bouillon cube
  • 2 teaspoons oil (olive preferred)
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 2 cloves
  • 2 pods of cardamom
  • 1/2 cinnamon stick
  • 2 dried red chili peppers or fresh hot peppers (to your taste)
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice (fresh or bottled)

IMG_3651The process involves soaking the lentils, prior to cooking them with the remaining ingredients.

Measure out 1 cup of dried lentils into a large bowl. Rinse the lentils with cool tap water, throwing out the water after rinsing them each time. Repeat this at least three times until the water runs clear. You can use a fine sieve strainer to help prevent lentil-loss down the sink drain. Once rinsed, refill the bowl with tap water. Ensure the level of the water is approx. double the height of the lentils. Then leave the lentils to soak for 2 hours minimum at room temperature. You can leave them in the same bowl with the soaking water overnight in the refrigerator if there’s not enough time to cook them that same day. By soaking the lentils prior to cooking, it reduces the cook time and makes them easier to digest.

When the lentils have finished soaking, drain all the water from the bowl. Place a medium sized saucepan (that can comfortably accommodate 1.5 cups of water and the lentils) on the stove. Turn the heat on medium and add the 2 teaspoons of oil to the pan. Add the cinnamon stick, the two cardamom pods (you can bruise the pods slightly to help them open up), the two cloves and the optional dried red chili peppers (if you want the heat). Allow the ingredients to sizzle for 10-20 seconds, then add the turmeric, stirring once. Then add the drained lentils, 1.5 cups of water, salt and the bouillon cube. (I found vegetable bouillon cubes at an organic food store that did not contain any MSG and used one of those.)

Increase the stove heat to high until the mixture comes to a boil, then lower the heat to medium and cover the pan. It should be a fast boil, but not so fast that it overflows from the pan. Depending on your pan, the lentils will take 30-45 minutes to cook. To test whether the lentils are done, just sample a couple lentils and ensure they are cooked through. You will more than likely have some sauce/liquid with the lentils. If you prefer them this way, then turn off the heat. Add the lemon juice and stir, and allow them to cool for 5-10 minutes. Then enjoy! If you prefer them to be a bit sauce-less (as in my picture), then remove the cover and allow the water to boil off, reducing the heat as the water reduces. You will need to stir the pan every so often to ensure the lentils do not stick. Then when they are dry enough for your taste, turn off the heat, add the lemon juice and stir. Then allow to cool and enjoy!


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