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Magical Lentil Puree

What you need: 

1 cup red lentils or 1 cup yellow split peas (these take a little longer to cook)
1 cup water
1 teaspoon cumin powder
1 teaspoon red chili powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
juice of 1 lime

What you do: 

Rinse and drain the lentils or split peas several times until they no longer cloud water. Put them in a medium sized pot and add water. Add the cumin, chili powder, and salt; stir. Bring to a boil while stirring occasionally. Reduce to a simmer. Continue to whisk lentils and spices for about half an hour, or until lentils begin to dissolve and become more of a mush. Be careful to keep whisking so as to keep the lentils from clumping or burning; in the event that the water boils off, add more, 1/4 cup at a time.
In a skillet, heat the olive oil over medium/low heat briefly, and add the onion. Cook until partially softened but not browned. Add garlic and sauté for about 5 minutes more.
When the lentil mixture is a soft puree with no more chunks of individual lentils, remove from heat. Add the sautéed onion, garlic, and excess olive oil and mix in. Squeeze the juice of one lime (or more, depending on taste) over the mixture and stir. You're done!
The magical part about this recipe is that it's relatively quick, and doubles or triples reeeeally easily. I frequently make this for dinner on Sunday night and eat it for lunch several days the following week. Plus it's very cheap to make as well as crowd-pleasing.

Preparation Time: 
45 minutes
Cooking Time: 
Recipe Category: 


I tried the recipe with split lentils. You're right. They are magical.


I like the flavors in this recipe, but I wasn't sure about how thick it was supposed to be.  The next time I'll start out with two or three cups of water and then add 1/4 cup at a time when needed.  I simmered the lentils for about 45 minutes and they barely softened in that amount of time so that I couldn't whisk the beans to mush.  I didn't sauté the onion and garlic in oil; I just added them to the lentils and let them soften in the pot.  Then, I pureed the mixture.  The result was thick and hearty.

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