Prep 15 mins
Cook 1 hr 5 mins
Always on the lookout for a good vegetarian recipe, I found this in Joy of Cooking. The whole family loved it -- even my picky husband -- and it's a good way to use up the lentils I always have left over after making lentil soup. Although the recipe calls for 3 cups of water, I highly recommend using 2 cups of vegetable broth and 1 cup of water to give this dish a richer flavor.
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 cups diced onions
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 1⁄2 cups lentils, picked over and rinsed (brown or green)
- 3 cups water (I use 1 cup water and 2 cups vegetable broth)
- 1 (28 ounce) can whole tomatoes, with juice
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1⁄2 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1⁄4 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1⁄4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2 cups uncooked ditalini (can substitute elbow macaroni, if desired)
- 1⁄2 teaspoon cumin seed
- red pepper flakes (optional)
- Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add the diced onions and cook, stirring, until the onions are golden brown, about 20 minutes, being careful not to let them get too dark. Remove half of the onions and reserve. Stir the garlic into the remaining onions and cook for 1 minute.
- Stir the lentils and water (or water/broth combo) into the onion mixture. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook until the lentils are tender, about 25 minutes.
- Stir in the tomatoes, cumin, coriander, and allspice. Cover and cook for 10 minutes. Uncover and simmer, stirring to break up the tomatoes, until the mixture is thickened, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
- Meanwhile, cook the pasta in plenty of boiling salted water until tender but firm, about 10 minutes. Drain. Quickly dry the pasta cooking pot and add the reserved onions along with the cumin seeds. Cook, stirring over medium-high heat until the onions are sizzling. Add the drained macaroni and stir to combine. Taste and adjust the seasonings. To serve, spoon the macaroni into individual bowls and top with a ladleful of the spiced lentils. Sprinkle with red pepper flakes to taste, if desired.