Wine-Braised Lentils over toast with spinach and red pearl onions


by: Maria Bella

This may not be usual fare, but lentils over toast make a delicious winter supper, especially when they’ve been cooked in wine. Butter is very good with lentils, so use some to finish them before serving. Or use walnut oil, which is not only delicious but makes the dish vegan. Serve with a medium-bodied red wine with balanced fruit, acidity, and earthiness. A Barbera from the Piedmont or a Crozes-Hermitage from the Rhone would make a good match for the earthy lentils.


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serves: 4

3/4 cup French green (Le Puy) or black (Beluga) lentils (cleaned and rinsed)

4 teaspoons olive oil

1/3 cup each diced onion, carrot, and celery

2 cloves garlic (1 crushed, 1 halved)

1 tablespoon tomato paste

1 1/2 cups dry red wine

1 teaspoon prepared Dijon-style mustard

sea salt and freshly ground pepper

12 red pearl onions

1 big bunch of spinach or other greens (such as Tuscan kale, leaves only, washed)

1 tablespoon butter or walnut oil, or to taste

4 slices sturdy country bread

Nutrition Facts
Wine-Braised Lentils over toast with spinach and red pearl onions

Servings Per Recipe: 4

Amount per Serving

Calories: 481

  • Total Fat: 9.2 g
  •     Saturated Fat: 2.9 g
  •     Trans Fat: 0.1 g
  • Cholesterol: 7.7 mg
  • Sodium: 248 mg
  • Total Carbs: 69.5 g
  •     Dietary Fiber: 18.3 g
  •     Sugars: 17.6 g
  • Protein: 16.6 g

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1.  Parboil the lentils for 5 minutes and drain.

2.  Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a 2- or 3-quart saucepan. Add the diced vegetables and cook over medium-high heat for several minutes, browning them a bit. Add the crushed garlic, mash the tomato paste into the vegetables, then pour in the wine and stir in the mustard. Add 1 1/2 cups water, the drained lentils, and 1 teaspoon salt. Simmer, covered, until the lentils are tender, 30 to 40 minutes.

3.  While the lentils are cooking, blanch the pearl onions in boiling water for 1 minute, then drain. Peel off the skin, then put them in a pan with the rest of the olive oil and cook over medium heat, sliding them in the pan now and then, until tender and beginning to color, about 5 minutes. Add a splash of wine or water toward the end and deglaze the pan. Season with salt and pepper.

4.  Wilt the spinach in a skillet in the water clinging to its leaves. Season with salt and pepper. (Tuscan kale will take about 7 minutes.) Stir the cooked greens into the lentils, add a tablespoon of butter or the walnut oil, taste again, and season to taste.

5.  Toast the bread and rub it with the halved garlic. Cut each piece in thirds and arrange them on the plates. Spoon the lentils over the toast and garnish with the onions.

Cooks' note:
Cook the lentils first. Prepare the greens and the onions while the lentils are cooking, combine them at the end, and serve.

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