Even though I'm still catching up on work, I finally had a chance to get back into the kitchen today, and I wanted to make something on the healthier side. Brendan and I have been craving Ethiopian-style food for a while, so for my lunch today I created a sandwich spread loosely inspired by the traditional Ethiopian red lentil dish Mesir Wot.
Red Lentil Spread for Toast
- 2 cups and 1/4 cup water
- 1 cup dried red lentils
- 1/2 onion, finely chopped
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp chopped basil
- 1/2 tsp ground paprika
- 1/2 tsp salt
- ground black pepper to taste
Add 2 cups of water to a metal saucepan (don't use a non-stick pan), and bring to a boil over medium heat. Add the red lentils and simmer for about 15 minutes, or until all the water is gone and the lentils are fully cooked.
Meanwhile, in a separate pan over medium-high heat, add 1 tbsp of olive oil and cook the finely-chopped onions until soft and golden brown, about 3 minutes. Remove the onions from the heat and set them aside.
When the red lentils are cooked, season them with salt and pepper, paprika, and basil. Stir well. The next part might go against all of your cooking intuition, but continue to cook the red lentil paste and let some of it stick to the bottom of the pan. It's ok if it starts to burn a little bit, too, just remove it from the heat if it starts to smoke or blacken. Scrape what's stuck to the pan back into the paste, and after about 5 minutes remove it from the heat. Add the cooked onions. Add 1 tbsp olive oil and 1/4 cup water and stir it all together to get a creamy consistency.
In the photo above I toasted some home-baked Spent Grain Bread in a hot frying pan, then cut it into triangles before adding a thick layer of the warm red lentil spread. Enjoy as a spread on sandwiches or wraps, or as a dip.