As an aside, I think “A Delicious Accident” will be the title of my tell-all memoir.
Fried lentils are the kind of happy kitchen accident that could’ve resulted in my quaint studio apartment burning to the ground. Instead, I discovered a tasty way to naughty-up legumes. The lentils come out savory and crispy, with that lovely fatty mouthfeel that you get from potato chips, french fries and other fried treats. Though I wouldn’t necessarily qualify this recipe as healthy, the only thing you are adding to the lentils is some coconut oil, which I’m eating in mass quantities while I try to heal my thyroid.
I have a terrible habit of thinking it takes way longer than it actually does for my pans to heat up on my gas stove. In this case, the oil got too hot because I was doing dishes while warming my pan on the stove (I know, I know!). I figured, What the heck + hapless shrug, and threw the cold, leftover lentils in the oil anyway. I watched in amazement as they popped open and became crispy little globes of fried goodness.
Several taste-tests lead me to believe this could very well be my best food discovery of 2013 (aside from Vegetarian Times’ vegan goat cheese recipe, made with great skill by my buddy The Vegenista). The flavor can best be described as “fried chicken skin” – it has the same salty, oily, savory, flavor profile of fried chicken skin without, you know, being made of skin.
The recipe could not be easier:
1 cup cooked lentils (or whatever you have on hand)
1-2 tbsp of coconut oil (or preferred high-heat cooking oil)
Heat your pan over medium-high heat (I had mine on 8 out 10)
Add coconut oil to pan and allow to heat until hot enough to fry (you can test this with a sacrificial lentil, put it in the pan and once it begins to sizzle add the rest)
Add the lentils to the pan and fry until ready, stirring often – about 5-10 minutes
The lentils should be as dry as possible and very firm, not mushy – slightly undercooked even – for best results.
These are great by themselves, on salads, mixed into rice and quinoa, on top of mashed or baked potatoes, etc. Let your mind run wild!
Cook your lentils with veggie broth and/or make sure to season before frying for best flavor
I loved these plain, but they’d be bomb with all sorts of seasonings: chili powder, curry powder, garlic powder, cajun blends, etc.