Sunday, September 09, 2018

Lentils and Eggs

When I was visiting Los Angeles in the summer (yes, it's still summer but it's beginning to feel like fall and school has started again, so summer seems like it's in the past) we went for brunch to a place called Playa Provisions in Playa Vista (I think). They had an eclectic menu but not a lot of items that were non-dairy. One dish that sounded good was lentils with tomatoes and egg and kale. It was outstanding! A touch of vinegar when served added just the right note against the beany flavor of the lentils and the richness of the soft boiled egg. I came home and decided to see if I could replicate the dish, or at least come close.

After searching the Internet I found a recipe by Bon Appetit that was close so I made a few tweaks and served it for dinner a few nights ago. It was delicious and filling and Sweetie enjoyed it, too. One of the key elements is a soffritto of onion, carrot, celery and garlic (the Bon Appetit recipe had fennel and not celery but I don't like fennel flavor) which is cooked almost into a paste. This plus the tomato sauce really flavor the lentils in a great way!

This is a vegetarian dish but could be vegan if you skip the egg. The Bon Appetit recipe called for serving it with bread that had been fried in olive oil, but I just toasted some seeded sourdough and put on some non-dairy margarine for me and butter for Sweetie. I also sprinkled on a bit of Parmesan cheese on his serving and he said that made it even better.

You could probably serve this the day it is cooked, but I like to 'age' dishes with onions, so I put it in the fridge in the pot it was cooked in for a couple of days. That made reheating it easy. The already cooked spinach was reheated in the microwave and spooned on top of the lentil mixture before I added the egg. I actually forgot to add the red wine vinegar, but plan to do it next time (there were leftovers) since the sharpness is a great foil for the relatively bland legumes. The bread is nice for sopping up any juices. I served it in a shallow, wide soup bowl and that works really well because there are some juices.

Lentils and Tomato Stew with Egg and Spinach
serves 4

1 large onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 medium carrots, chopped
5 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/4 cup olive oil
sea salt to taste (I used about 1/2 teaspoon)
1/2 cup tomato sauce
2 cups lentils (preferably French green), picked over and rinsed
1 cup baby spinach, rinsed
4 large eggs
4 sliced crusty bread
red wine vinegar and grated Parmesan cheese (for serving)

Pulse onion, celery, carrots and garlic in a food processor until soffritto is finely chopped.

In a heavy bottomed pot over medium heat, heat the olive oil and add the soffritto, stirring to coat the vegetables with the oil. Season with salt and cook, stirring occasionally for 10-12 minutes, until soft.

Stir in the tomato sauce and cook, stirring occasionally until golden brown and very soft, about 10-12 minutes. Add a splash of water if it is browning too quickly. You want to caramelize the vegetables.

Add the lentils and 6 cups of water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer until lentils are almost tender, 30-35 minutes. Uncover and simmer for another 10 minutes to reduce the liquid.

Skim about a cup of the liquid at the top of the pot and place it in a microwave safe dish. Add the spinach and cover with foil. Let sit to wilt the spinach. Refrigerate this spinach mixture.

Taste the lentil mixture and adjust for salt, if needed.

Refrigerate the pot of lentils at least 24 hours and no more than 48 hours. You can also just make the rest of the recipe from this point without refrigerating the stew, but the flavor is better with a rest.

On serving day, reheat the lentil stew over low heat, stirring as needed to keep it from sticking to the bottom of the pot.

Bring a small pot of water to a boil. Add the eggs and cook at a simmer for 9 minutes. Removed from the pot and run under cold water until just cool enough to handle. Carefully remove shell while keeping egg whole. Place on a cutting board.

Reheat the spinach mixture while the eggs are boiling. Toast and butter the crusty bread.

Put about a quarter of the lentils in a bowl. Top with a quarter of the spinach mixture. Slice the hot eggs in half lengthwise and place, yolk side up on top of the veggies in the bowl. Add a splash of vinegar and sprinkle with Parmesan, as desired. Serve with the toasted bread. Serve at once.


  1. We would love this dish! I enjoy replicating recipes we've enjoyed when we're eating out as well. It's amazing what you can find!

  2. Next Sister Down6:39 AM

    This looks yummy. I'm always looking for interesting things to do with lentils.

  3. Probably the best thing Chipotle did for most Americans is familiarize them with variations on soffritio. This looks AMAZING, and, not gonna lie, I wouldn't have gone with the fennel either. Eew. But, this looks super tasty!

  4. I recently cooked up a bunch of lentils very simply and found them just incredible. Your lentils look a step up and I love a dish like this that can be served several times and never be just what you had before!