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Ecuadorian Lentils and Rice

May 6, 2009
eduadorian lentils

eduadorian lentils

I really love lentils and have been looking for a simple lentil recipe to serve with rice, but it seems that most of the recipes I come across have meat in them, or aren’t that flavorful.  I was seduced by the picture of this recipe on another blog and gave them a try.  They were amazing…as soon as I smelled the sofrito cooking, I knew the finished lentils would be delicious, and they were.  So flavorful I can’t believe there’s not meat in them and the perfect accompaniment to cooked white rice.  We ate these alongside grilled salmon and sliced avocado and tomato, but they would be great alongside a pan-fried steak as well or on their own.  This recipe calls for achiote, which is an oil flavored with annatto seeds (you can get the seeds at the DeKalb Farmers Market) or you can get it in a Latin grocery.  I made it by 1 teaspoon annatto seeds in 1 T canola oil until it turned bright red.  If you don’t want to go to the trouble, I think you can skip it altogether.  As far as I can tell, the achiote just gave the lentils a nice bright orange-ish brown color and prevents them from turning dirt brown.  Serves 4-6.


1 T achiote or canola oil

1 red onion, finely chopped

1 red bell pepper, diced

3 tomatoes, diced

6 garlic cloves, finely chopped

2 t cumin

3 t salt

4 T chopped fresh cilantro

1 14 oz bag brown lentils, picked over and rinsed

6-7 c water


Heat achiote or oil in a Dutch oven over medium high heat.  Add onion, bell pepper, tomatoes, garlic, cumin, salt and 2 T of the cilantro.  Cook for 5 minutes, until the mixture (a sofrito!) begins to soften.  Add 6 c of water and bring to a boil.  Add the lentils, reduce heat to medium low and cook, partially covered, for 40 minutes or until the lentils are tender.  Add more water as necessary to make a soupy consistency.  Remove from heat and stir in remaining cilantro.  Serve with rice.

One Comment leave one →
  1. sharon permalink
    May 10, 2009 10:25 am

    i love lentils. will give this a try!

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