You know the drill. Ew.
And, ew because I kind of don't like beans. I don't HATE them, but sometimes the texture isn't the sexiest thing I can think of to eat (don't EVEN), and there are usually ten thousand more calories that I'd like to eat that I don't want to waste on fibrous legumes. So, we don't eat beans much.
BUT, there's this new French-ish restaurant in Greenville that's run by a bunch of Americans who also own a lot of other restaurants and they have a green lentil salad that I absolutely adore. And I figured it out. The lentils aren't mushy, and I like them that way. If they get cooked too much I die a thousand deaths and demand to be taken to McDonalds at 1am because I SWEAR I'M NOT DRUNK AND I'M STARVING AND WHY DO YOU HATE ME?
Anyway. Lentils. These are French. You cook them for less time than it says on the package, then you drain them, and add them to some sauteed veggies and herbes de provence that your best friend gave you for your birthday and some pine nuts and then you top the whole thing with sausage because veggies and lentils just scream for some processed pork, doncha think?
And then dinner.
Let's talk about the veggies first. I like to cut everything really teensy to kind of match the lentils, but if you hate chopping things you can chop everything super janky and haphazardly and I WON'T KNOW. This will still be delicious. You can also cut the veggies as you move through the next few steps, but you can do it in advance if you get frazzled rushing against a hot pan. Your call. Celery into lengths.
Let's start the lentils: they take about as long as the sausage. Measure the water. Measure the lentils. Boil for the time on the package specified for SALADS, otherwise the lentils will be mush. Drain.
In a separate skillet, toast the pine nuts if they aren't already. I use one pan for the lentils, and one for the pine nuts, sausage, and veggies, but you could use 4 separate pans if you'd like to hurry things along. Add the pine nuts to a cold pan, then turn the heat to medium-high.
While the lentils are working, sausage! I like to cook the sausage in the same pan that I'll use for the veggies so that the flavor imparts to the rest of the ingredients but, again, you could do this separately. Put the sausage in the skillet, and cover it about halfway with water. Drizzle in some olive oil. Turn the heat on the stove to medium-high.
Turn the sausage in the skillet for a few more minutes until the casing gets dark and crispy. The water helps the sausage all the way through, and the olive oil and hot pan at the end make it crispy! When the sausage is done, remove it to a plate to hang out.
After 2 minutes or maybe less the kale will wilt. Add the pine nuts and lentils to the pan, and stir everything together. Gorgeous, healthy, FLAVORFUL. Taste the mixture, and add salt and pepper to your preference.
This is seriously one of our new favorite dishes. I'm on the lookout for more recipes like this - decadent with the sausage but healthy with the veg. It's the balancing act that I can totes get behind.
Lentils Provencal w/ Kale + Spicy Sausage
- 1 cup French green lentils cooked to al dente (probably a few minutes less than the package directions)
- ¼ cup pine nuts toasted
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 links Italian sausage
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 medium carrot finely diced
- 1 rib celery finely chopped
- ½ small onion finely chopped
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 teaspoon herbes de provence
- 2 cups fresh chopped kale
- salt and pepper to taste
- In a large skillet, add the sausage with the olive oil over medium-high heat. Cover the sausage halfway with water, and bring to a boil. Turning the sausage every 7 minutes or so, cook until the water is completely evaporated. Then, let the sausage continue cooking for 5 more minutes until the outside casing is crispy. Remove from the pan and reduce the heat to medium.
- To the sausage drippings, add the butter, celery, carrot, and onion with the herbes de provence and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Cook for 5-7 minutes until soft, then add the kale, and garlic. Cook for 2 minutes until slightly wilted, then add the toasted pine nuts and cooked lentils. Stir, and taste the vegetable mixture for seasoning. Add more salt and pepper if needed.
- Slice the sausage and serve over the lentils. Enjoy!