My soffritto lentils with tomato recipe is based on the Italian soffritto which is an aromatic mix of onion, carrots and celery. Also known as the base for most soups, sauces and stews in Italian homes. To that we have lentils which has been a huge part of our meals especially Easter and New Year. Tomato and warm fragrant spices for flavor. Let's make Soffritto Lentils with Tomato!
You can't help but think lentils and lamb in terms of food when Easter comes around and the same as thinking gammon for Christmas. These are the things I love about holidays and traditions. They tend to bring to a close all the rushing around and crazy busy lives at just the right time, almost in an effort to give us the opportunity to gather ourselves. To rethink, re-evaluate and at times to just breathe. So if you are here looking for something for the holidays or a bit of a cleanse after the holidays, thank you for visiting.
Soffritto Lentils With Tomato
A very simple yet satisfying lentil recipe that takes a little time to get the ingredients all prepared and the soffritto cooked. It's all worth it though because it's not only healthy and delicious and good for you, it also keeps so well in the fridge for rewarming. So start with the ingredients.
Rice - This recipe calls for brown basmati rice because it takes longer to cook than 'quick rice' so you don't end up with mushy rice. Brown or white is up to you, I love and always have brown so that's what I used.
Lentils - Used here are regular brown lentils and probably the most common because they cook really quick.
Cleaning and Soaking
- Clean the lentils, it doesn't need to take time, simply look for any small stones if any.
- Wash the rice a few times, not until the water runs clear but just to get the thin layer of starch (white stuff) which you will see at the start of washing the rice.
- Leave the rice covered in water for an hour before cooking.
- Soak the lentils in water for 30 minutes.
Is the soaking necessary?
Brown rice takes 45 minutes to an hour to cook so the soaking will definitely mean less time on the stove.
I've made this recipe countless times and when you cut corners by skipping on soaking the rice is not as tender, has to cook for longer and you find yourself adding water to keep it going which in turn means softer than necessary lentils. So, soak soak soak.
I let my rice soak for 30 to 40 minutes when cooking it alone or as in this Lentils Rice and Potatoes recipe. It doesn't take long to soak, before you know it, an hours up and at most times my rice goes much longer than an hour in a soak. If you pass the hour, it's all good.
Soaking The Lentils
Although it's not necessary to soak brown lentils I do soak them here in the last 30 minutes of the rice soaking.
While the rice and lentils are soaking chop up the onions, celery stalks and carrots for the soffritto along with getting out the rest of the ingredients.
Yes we start with a soffritto add some butter and make it all very delicious, come with me!
Soffrito Lentils Recipe
We are using 2 large chopped onions so if your onions are small add 2 more. We need quite a bit of onion for flavor. So the onions, carrots and celery stalks must cook on low to medium heat for a minimum of 15 minutes. It is a long time but we're building a flavor profile and the carrots will not be overcooked! The heat should be on low to medium just as you would have had it for the oil and then adjust it depending on how hot your stove is. If it's too hot, lower it, we want a long sauté that turns into an almost caramelized golden brown onion.
Salt - Add a pinch of salt into the soffritto. I'm all about seasoning as we go. Season at the beginning, season halfway through and season at the end. That and salt makes onions sweat so they will cook down, release water and it will help them turn brown.
Butter Because it makes everything better! We only add the butter halfway through the soffritto cooking and after the garlic and ginger. The first part of the ingredients are added in stages which allows them to cook slowly and carefully.
Add the rest of the ingredients and water. Leave on a low simmer for 45 minutes with the lid on.
How To Serve This Lentils Soffritto
This is a plant based dish so keeping it simple would be favorable. However, for meat lovers, take your pick of your favorite meat to add. From bacon to pork chops. However, even as a meat eating family I never serve this dish with anything other than some fresh herbs. You can use coriander but since it's not my husbands favorite I garnish with flat parsley. I also find that a few extra steps before serving make all the difference:
- To remove as much liquid as possible we continue cooking this soffritto lentils for another 20 to 25 minutes with the lid off after the cooking time. However, it's just as important to bring the lid back on, turn the heat off and let it be for 5 or so minutes. Just time to settle while you get the plates and set the table 🙂
When you are ready to serve, garnish with more fresh herbs, a squeeze of fresh lemon, a drizzle of olive oil and in this case a sprinkle of our Involtini spice. Find the spice here.
My favorite way to eat this soffritto lentils dish is with a good yogurt or sour cream.
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A healthy, vegan and soulful meal whether it's lunch or dinner and it makes the best left overs! This lentils soffritto with tomato is made with brown rice (love) and brown lentils and it all starts with the Italian soffritto which is a mix of onions, celery and carrots, the start of a really simple, really delicious flavor base. This is a great way to reset your body after all the pickled fish and hot cross buns over Easter 🙂 It's a nutritional boost packed with protein and fibre.
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Soffritto Lentils and Tomato
Rice and Lentils
- 1 cup basmati brown rice
- 1 cup brown lentils
- 2 large onions diced
- 2 carrots washed, rinsed and chopped
- 2 celery stalks rinsed and chopped
- 4 to 5 tbsp. olive oil
- 100 grams butter unsalted
- 1 ½ tbsps garlic cloves finely chopped about 3 to 4 cloves
- 1 tablespoon ginger grated (thumb size)
- 400 grams chopped canned tomatoes
- ½ cup tomato passata
- 2 tbsps. tomato paste
- 3 cups water
Spices and Seasoning
- ½ teaspoon turmeric
- ¼ teaspoon cumin
- ⅛ th teaspoon coriander
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- chopped fresh parsley
- 1 juice of a fresh lime or lemon
- Heat a large pot or Dutch oven and add the oil.
- Add the onions, carrots, celery and cook on low heat for 15 minutes or until the onions start to turn a light golden brown. If they are burning, the heat is too high.
- Half way through cooking, when the onions are more yellow than white add the butter and use a wooden spoon to mix. Let the soffritto soak up the butter so continue on low heat for 5 more minutes. Stirring and checking the heat and that they don't burn.
- Add the lentils, rice and gently pull everything together with a spoon. Make a well in the center and add the garlic, ginger, turmeric, cumin, coriander, paprika and salt. Give it a mix not pulling in the rice and lentils. Put the lid on and leave it for 1 to 2 minutes.
- Remove the lid and using a spoon pull everything together, gently mix.
- Remove the lid, add a drizzle of olive oil, chopped parsley, a squeeze of fresh lime and gently fold it all together.