Lentils along with garlic and spices and a surprise ingredient make for a really wonderful concoction that is great as a dip and as a spread. The recipe is very simple, refrigerates well, is ever so tasty, and because of the nutritional values in lentils, it’s perfect for Meatless Monday.
Back in June when I went to Austin to attend BlogHer Food’s convention, the good people from Canadian Lentils were a sponsor. One evening they had the most amazing array of lentil treats for us to sample. One of the fabulous food items was a dip. I have used lentils for years and years in soups and stews and salads, but I had never had a lentil dip. It really made me wonder why I had never thought to use lentils in that way. It was delicious!
Then, one of the items for us to take home was a lentil cookbook, The Big Book of Little Lentils – Cooking with Lentils Made Easy. In it they have recipes for Appetizers, Soups, Sides and Salads, Main Courses, Desserts and Bakes Snacks!
Who knew lentils were so versatile!? They are also a really fantastic source of protein, a great source for iron and lentils also contain dietary fiber, folate, vitamin B1. Bottom line…they are good for you too!
So, that fabulous table of food and their cookbook inspired me; I decided to come up with a lentil dip/spread of my own. And this is it! I used dry lentils and cooked them for this dip, but you could just as easily use canned lentils that you drain and rinse.
The surprise ingredient I used was goat cheese. Mr. Saucy and I both just love goat cheese! While I realize there are people who don’t like it, you could substitute softened cream cheese in this recipe.
I’ve used this dip/spread on crusty bread (as shown above) with red onion and Peperoncini; I’ve used it spread on a flour tortilla with sautéed onions and peppers; I have eaten as a dip with cucumber slices and pita crisps; I even smeared it on apple slices. It’s been my lunch and snacking love lately.
With schools in full swing now, this would be a wonderful and healthy addition to your kid’s lunch boxes.
Try this versatile dip/spread…you’ll be glad you did.
- ½ cup dry lentils (or a 15 ounce can, drained and rinsed - if you use canned lentils, omit the water and the cooking step for the lentils)
- 2 cups water
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed and peeled, root end trimmed
- 2 ounces goat cheese (or softened cream cheese)
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon dry cilantro leaves
- 2-3 tablespoons olive oil (I used a garlic-infused for extra garlic flavour), varying by how creamy you wish the dip/spread to be.
- salt and ground black pepper, to taste
- In a small saucepan, combine the lentils, water and crushed garlic cloves.
- Simmer until the lentils are soft, about 40 minutes.
- In a food processor, add the cooked lentils and garlic along with the goat cheese, lemon juice, cumin and cilantro.
- Pulse to combine.*
- Slowly drizzle in the olive oil until you reach the desired consistency.
- Add salt and ground black pepper, to taste.
- Serve at room temperature.