Lentils are amazingly well-loved in my kitchen. Not only are they an amazing source of protein, but cooking them is super-easy! Unlike beans, lentils don’t need any pre-soaking and have the added advantage of cooking quickly.
Beluga lentils are one of my favorite lentil varieties. They have a complex flavor and readily absorb the variety of wonderful flavors from other foods and seasonings. Plus they retain their shape and firm texture when cooked, making them a perfect choice for salads.
The fabulous thing about welcoming sweater weather is that it signifies warm comfort food season. With the arrival of autumns harvest comes the fresh sweetness of crisp apple pies and crumbles, and the warm richness of pumpkins and winter squash soups and stews. It’s also the season for persimmons. Typically in season from September to December, persimmons are likely to be found at the local farmers market around this time of year. In Europe, they are available from October until December, thanks to producers in Italy and Spain.
Look for Fuyu persimmons (sometimes called the sharon fruit) as they are sweeter and can be eaten while firm — just like an apple, skin and all! But go ahead, peel them if you prefer. The second commonly known variety is called Hachiya, which are not ready to eat until they’re mushy. Otherwise, you will find them to be lip-puckering astringent.
Loaded with antioxidants, vitamin A and fiber this amazing fruit is highly nutritious. It’s taste is something that I cannot say compares to any other fruit, but if I had to say something, then I would say it has sweet hints of mango and dried apricot. Intoxicatingly good. They are deeeelicious!
In this recipe, spices like cumin and sumac take you straight to the Mediterranean. This simple sumac lentils dish tossed with red onion and persimmons and garnished with feta cheese is easy, nutritious and delicious. It makes the perfect accompaniment to any vegetarian meal. Enjoy!
Sumac Lentils with Persimmons
1 cup dried beluga lentils (230 g)
2 cups vegetable or chicken broth (500 ml)
1 tablespoon sumac
1 teaspoon of cumin
1 tablespoon (or more) extra-virgin olive oil
sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 red onion, chopped
2 ripe but firm Fuyu persimmons, with the skins on, chopped (sometimes called the sharon fruit)
75 g Feta, crumbled (optional)
1. In a medium saucepan, add the lentils and broth; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, partially covered (adding a little water if needed to keep lentils covered), until lentils are just tender, about 25-30 minutes. Stir occasionally. Remove from the heat and stir in the sumac, cumin and olive oil; season with salt and pepper.
2. Transfer the lentils to a serving bowl. Add the red onion and persimmons and toss to combine. Garnish with feta cheese and serve warm. Enjoy!