Posted by: lisetta | December 31, 2007



In Morocco, a hostess will serve lentils to let houseguests know they’ve overstayed their welcome. Honoring the Italian tradition, I made them to ring in the new year! 

In Italy, many will eat lentils with cotechino, a fatty cut of pork. Folklore prescribes New Year’s lentils to increase wealth. Put a few dried lentils in your champagne flute, toast the new year, and wrap the lentils in a tiny tin foil packet, placed in your coin purse … by the next new year, you’ll be wealthier!  When I tried it as an impoverished grad student, it worked like a charm. 🙂 Let me know if it works for you.

Lisetta’s Lentils

Saute chopped onions, carrots and celery in olive oil until soft.

Add abundant chopped parsley and spices of choice. I used cumin, paprika, salt and pepper this time. 

Add chopped tomatoes and simmer 5 minutes or so.  

Add lentils and water or broth to cover, and cook for an hour or so, until lentils are cooked, but not busted open. 

Serve with bread.

To honor my guests, I made challah, a Jewish bread eaten on Shabbat (the Sabbath) and holidays:




  1. These photos are great–you’re definitely getting the hang of photographing food! Those lentils look so good, I’m going to try to make them (actually I have a lentil chili cooking at the moment, and it smells really good). I’m not so good at winging it with spices, though. Any suggestions?

  2. If you’re not a big fan of playing with the spices, you can vary the flavors of the lentils with your ‘soffritto”, or aromatic base. Try using leeks in stead of onions, or other root vegetables. How about using fresh thyme instead of dried spices? Or cilantro instead of parsley? I like the lowfat Moosewood cookbook’s lentil soup recipe. You could also go the Indian route and use a curry or a turmeric … I don’t know how to advise you there though. How about Madhur Jaffrey’s recipes?

  3. Oh so much to think to think about! It’s not that I’m not a fan of playing around, I just don’t think I have a good touch. I need recipes. I’ll try it your way first and let you know (after I finish the two gallons of lentil chili which I made last night!).

  4. Don’t be afraid to experiment! A certain Moroccan cook I knew made lentils with pumpkin once. It was really delicious. Hilary and I ate at a Lebanese joint downtown tonight (prior to seeing Rent), and she mentioned having just made lentil soup with squash. the only downside with lentils, IMHO, is that no matter how little you try and make, you always end up with too much!

  5. mmmmmmmmmm I love lentils too! Did you make that Challah using my recipe? It looks too good! Tom likes lentils cooked with kielbasi and potatoes, I prefer a veggie version with a lot of tomatoes. Your site is so good, I’m proud of you.
    ;o) xoxo mom

  6. Yep! The challah is your recipe — where else could I have found such a good one? I hadn’t made it in a VERY long time. I still have your hand-me-down bread machine – the one that fell off the counter when I tried to make whole wheat bread. LOL. As long as it works…

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