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updated: 10/19/2011 3:48 PM

Lentils make for quick, protein-packed dinner

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  • Already cooked lentils, whether store-bought or from your own freezer, speed you to dinner in under 15 minutes.

      Already cooked lentils, whether store-bought or from your own freezer, speed you to dinner in under 15 minutes.
    Alicia Ross/Desperation Dinners

 
 

Brown lentils are humble little legumes that often get overlooked for a desperate dinner. While it's true that you don't have to soak them as you do other dried beans, brown lentils still take an hour to cook. That might rule out most of the possibilities they could offer a desperate cook. But what if the lentils were cooked already?

I used to cook the whole one-pound bag of brown lentils and freeze the extras in one-cup increments for future use. (See kitchenscoop.com for our Lots of Lentils recipe.) But my most recent find in the grocery is plain, already-cooked brown lentils. They come in a package with about 3 cups of lentils ready to stir into any of your favorite lentil recipes.

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I have seen these ready-to-use lentils at Trader Joe's stores, and I'm waiting for them to appear in my local grocery chains. If you're fortunate enough to have a Trader Joe's, then pick up a pack to enjoy. But if you're still waiting for the store to come near you, cook up a full bag of brown lentils one day when you have an hour, and freeze them for later.

Either way, today's recipe for Brown Lentils With Sauteed Veggies is equally delicious cold or room temperature, served over salad, or hot, served over rice. Top with plain Greek yogurt for a healthy, wonderful dinner that flies together in just 15 minutes.

Suggested menu: Brown Lentils With Sauteed Veggies over chopped green salad with pita points with prepared hummus and hot tea.

• Beverly Mills and Alicia Ross are co-authors of "Desperation Dinners!" Write them at Desperation Dinners, c/o Universal Uclick, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106, or tellus@kitchenscoop.com. Or visit the Desperation Dinners Web site at kitchenscoop.com.

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