One-Pot Creamy Spinach Lentils
Oh, for the love of that humble little lentil.
They’re cheap, they’re adaptable to any recipe, they’re easy to make and store, and they are considered a power food that is somehow the nutritional fountain of youth. Not complaining, yo. To reiterate the bottom line (even though we already knew it): lentils are pure gold.
These affordable little nuggets of nutrition make for some pretty awesome curries and veggie burgers, but today we’re getting back to the basics.
Celery, carrots, and onions – thyme, cream and spinach – a hearty potato-thickened broth base – and plain brown lentils cooked to perfection. I know it sounds pretty simple and humble and peasant-like, and that’s because it is. It is a bunch of regular, ho-hum ingredients slow simmered to perfection with all these classic flavors and textures to make a bowl full of creamy, comforting lentils that is rock-your-world yummy.
I am hesitant to announce this on the blog, but I’m going to do it anyways because we are trusting internet-food-blog friends who share things with each other. Right? Errr, something like that.
Sooo…Bjork and I are considering adopting a dog.
By considering, I guess I mean that we have completed our application, had our home visit approved, and are now waiting to meet one particular sweet little girl (at least let’s hope she’s sweet? ohmygosh, what if she’s actually crazy?) to determine if she’s right for us and if we’re right for her.
The little girl we’re going to meet is a one-year-old Beagle mix — wait, tell me all your Beagle horror stories right now. KIDDING, don’t slash we’ve probably already heard them — and (I can’t even believe I’m saying this) according to her bio online, she is very mellow, non-barky, and house and crate trained. And you guys, she likes car rides. Um, what? She likes car rides? Is that not the cutest thing ever? We’re 100% mature about this whole process.
Seriously though, I AM trying to develop my dog adoption maturity by getting informed. After years of following along as a superfan from a distance, in the last few weeks I’ve stayed extra close by Cesar Milan’s side for moral support and pack leader guidance. How incredible is this dog whisperer of a man? TRAIN ME, Cesar.
All of a sudden I feel sort of shy and nervous about sharing this. Will you judge us if we meet her and find out that she’s not the right fit for us? Will you say I TOLD YOU SO if she becomes a wild maniac of a dog once we bring her home? Will she actually like car rides?!?! Meep.
Being that you – yes, you, awesome readers – always been so generous in sharing life experiences with us, your dog adoption feedback would be appreciated. Gentle feedback. Gentle, non-judgy, patient feedback for us dog newbies. Like you always do. ♡
Alright, enough bla bla bla about boring stuff like dog adoptions and let’s get back to the interesting topic of little brown beans.
This creamy spinach lentil recipe is almost just too perfect for these last few chilly days of spring. Thick and satisfying with really mellow, warm, earthy flavors, plus drizzled with a bit of olive oil and a splash of red wine vinegar because Jamie Oliver says you’ll like the twang (twang! haha. twang.) –> pretty sure these rustic creamy spinach lentils are about to bear hug your lentil-loving soul.
Easily, they are some of the best lentils I’ve ever made.
And you guys. I’ve made A LOT OF LENTILS.
Author: Pinch of Yum inspired from Jamie Oliver’s Food Escapes cookbook Serves: 4-6
- 2 tablespoons butter, oil, or (wait for it) bacon grease
- half a yellow onion, diced
- 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
- 2 sticks celery, chopped
- ½ cup dry white wine
- 2 cups uncooked lentils, rinsed
- 2 medium Yukon potatoes, chopped (about 1 cup total)
- 4 cups chicken broth (plan to add a few more cups as needed while cooking)
- 1 bay leaf
- a few sprigs fresh parsley
- a few springs fresh thyme
- ½ cup half and half
- 3-4 cups packed fresh baby spinach
- salt and pepper to taste (be generous with the salt!)
- olive oil and red wine vinegar for topping
- Heat the bacon grease (that’s what I used) over medium heat. Add the onions, carrots, and celery. Saute for 10 minutes until the vegetables are nice and roasty and fragrant. Add the wine slowly – it should give a little sizzle and get all the browned bits off the bottom.
- Add the lentils, potatoes, and broth. Tie the bay leaf, parsley, and thyme together and toss in the pot (the reason for tying is so you can easily remove them at the end – I actually wrapped mine up in a stalk of celery so it would be contained a bit better). Simmer for 30-45 minutes, stirring occasionally, adding more broth as necessary so the lentils are just barely covered in liquid. When the lentils and potatoes are soft, gently mash the potatoes against the side of the pot with the back of the wooden spoon to make the mixture creamy.
- Remove the tied herbs; add the half and half and spinach. Stir to incorporate. Season with salt and pepper (season, taste, adjust, repeat). Serve each serving with a drizzle of good olive oil and a splash of red wine vinegar, per Jamie Oliver’s (and my) recommendation.
Notes The cooking length for the lentils (and the amount of liquid you need) will partially depend on how old your lentils are. Mine have been around for a while… so they took about 6-7 cups of broth over about 45 minutes of cooking time. Just play it by ear and do what feels right if it looks like it needs more liquid and more time.