Several times a week, we eat beans. Although many beans, like pintos, garbanzas, and black beans, have to be soaked before cooking, lentils and split peas are so small they can cook without being soaked first. This is especially good for those days when I don't have a lot of time to spend in the kitchen, or when I forgot to soak beans ahead of time.
My idea of convenience food is buying a box of spices at the Indian grocery store in Bloomington. I consider it a convenience because it has all the spices I need in one box. I only have to measure one spice blend instead of a dozen individual spices. Last night, we had chana dal masala for dinner, which simply required cooking lentils and rice, sauteeing some onions and tomatoes and adding the spices. It was so easy that Katherine was able to take over after I had to go to bed with a migraine.
Earlier this week, I made a lentil loaf. This recipe comes from The New Farm Vegetarian Cookbook, 1988. I love older cookbooks because their recipes are made with real foods and don't take much time to prepare. Too many of today's cookbooks either have too many packaged ingredients or take hours to prepare. I have neither hours nor packaged foods, so I prefer the older cookbooks.
Cook 1 1/2 cups rinsed lentils in 3 1/2 cups water until tender. Partially mash lantils and mix with 2 onions that have been fried in 1/4 cup oil. Add to lentils and onions:
2 cups cooked rice
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. salt
1/4 cup catsup or barbecue sauce (we use barbecue sauce)
1 tsp. sage
1/2 tsp. marjoram
Press into an oiled loaf pan and spread catsup or barbecue sauce on top. Bake at 350 degrees F for 1 hour.
This post is part of my continuing series on cooking with beans. You can also read Bean Basics, Split Pea Soup, and Pintos: My Favorite Beans.