DSC01542Perfect for the post-holiday reduction in rich foods, lentils are high in fiber as well as nutrients like iron, potassium, and folate. This is much like hummus in texture, especially if you use the cashews. Feel free to play with the flavors instead of using lemon and rosemary– roasted red peppers, roasted garlic, gaeta or kalamata olives, capers, roasted pine nuts, sun dried tomatoes…

Using less oil and skipping the cashews will yield a leaner spread while using both will produce a creamier, smoother dip. Whichever you choose, don’t skip the lemon zest.

The best part? The lentils cook wickedly fast. Unlike chickpeas.

Lemon Rosemary Red Lentil Spread

3 T olive oil
1 large onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 c red lentils
2 1/2 c water or broth
1 lemon, zested and juiced
4 sprigs fresh rosemary, minced
Salt and pepper to taste
Olive oil, to taste
Optional: 3-4 T cashews

Saute the onion in olive oil over medium heat until lightly carmelized (a while… probably 20 minutes, but it will depend on your heat, how often you stir, etc). Add the garlic and stir until fragrent. Add the lentils, cashews if using, and water. Cook until tender, about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the lemon juice, lemon zest, and rosemary. Puree in a food processor or blender. Drizzle with extra olive oil if desired.

Fast version: cook lentils/cashews in one pot, onions/garlic in another; blend together with remaining ingredients and serve.

Shared with Pennywise Platter.