Honey Baked Lentils

This very easy recipe, which has been floating around MDC for quite some time, totally rocks. Maya calls it “dinner porridge.” We serve it over rice; you could try it over other grains (like quinoa), with pitas or flatbread, or as a soup with a crusty bread. Just throw it all together, and your work is done! I’ve added my Nourishing Traditions-style modifications.

1 cup lentils (any kind; I’ve used red and brown/green)
2 cups water or chicken stock
2 tbsp honey or maple syrup (I’ve only tried maple syrup)
2 tbsp soy sauce or tamari
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp ginger
1 clove garlic, minced or crushed
1 small onion, chopped
salt & pepper to taste

Optional: For increased nutrition and digestion, combine all ingredients and soak overnight or for at least seven hours; soak in the fridge if using stock.
-Bake in a covered dish at 350 until tender (about 90 minutes; a bit longer for unsoaked brown/green lentils).

Try adding whatever vegetables are on hand for a one dish meal. Some that are good are carrots, celery, potato, yam, squash, turnip, cabbage and parsnip. Use what you have; winter vegetables work best.

*Perfect with Basic Baked Rice – just add the rice dish after the lentils have been baking for 30 minutes.

*See the Honey Baked Lentils Followup for more tips!

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23 thoughts on “Honey Baked Lentils

  1. Do you have any tips on discouraging picky eating in children? I worry since my husband is quite particular, and it has taken me 25 years to learn to be open to new tastes (and I’m still picker than most). I don’t want my children to be like us, missing out on all the nutritious and delicious foods there are in the world, but I can’t see myself choosing to fight a huge battle over broccoli every night. It seems like your girls are pretty laid back about eating what’s offered, how did you do it?

  2. Good question, Kate. First off, my kids are still picky and choosey, and we have more food battles than I care to admit.

    But, they do eat better than most, from what I’ve heard from other moms.

    This reply ended up being long, so here’s my summary:
    **Offer a wide variety of healthy, home-prepared foods, embrace whole foods as a family, encourage them to try it all (even when they don’t want to), and keep offering over the years as they mature.

    First: Wait to start solids until your baby is at least six months old and literally grabbing food off your plate and putting it in his mouth. It’s best for him nutritionally, and MUCH easier for you! Mine were both at least 7 months before even trying their first non-breastmilk food.

    Second: Offer a healthy variety from the beginning. Make your own stuff, which is healthier and more flavorful, and don’t skimp on the veggies.

    Third: Parents have to eat what they expect kids to eat. You can’t serve Baby pureed swiss chard while you eat frozen pizzas for too long before they realize that they only want to eat what you’re eating. If you and Andy eat healthy foods from the beginning, too, it will be much easier.

    Fourth: Wait for maturity. I’ve learned with Maya that the older she gets, the more variety she eats, without complaining. Part of it is that she’s always been around good food, and part of it is that she’s more willing to try it as she ages. Elly’s still super picky, but I keep reminding myself that she’s two, and will likely outgrow it.

    Fifth: Make them try it. Once they’re two or so (some people go younger), they’re old enough to be told that they need to try three bites of everything served. (One to try it, two to decide if you like it, and three to make sure.) And I read that it takes 11 different times serving a food before some kids will decide they like it? Persistence really pays off. We can’t afford to be super picky, so I make sure they try what I prepare. As a concession for the youngest, I have offered “before bed” snacks (long after dinner) of bread and butter if she hasn’t eaten much due to dislikes. But I won’t offer her a different meal if she simply doesn’t like what I’ve made. I also try not to prepare foods that I know no one likes–why torment them?

    Hopefully, that answers some of your questions. If you have more specific stuff to ask, please do. I’m not an expert, but I can always share what works for us.

  3. Thanks for the recipe, I don’t really know what to do with lentils and have some leftover from another recipe.

  4. Update: I made the lentils. Very good! They had a wonderful flavor after soaking them overnight. And the biggest plus, Jason ate them and liked them! He says he’s not a picky eater, but he is when it comes to healthier options. We ate it with a pork roast I made in the crock pot which was beyond easy.

    Thanks!!!

  5. Glad you liked it, Stephanie!

    Did you use green lentils or red? Chicken stock or not?

    I had an off batch last week, and it puzzled me. It was fine, but not as good as usual. I think it was because I didn’t soak, and I didn’t use any chicken stock (I usually do half stock, half water). Still haven’t figured it out. Usually, this dish makes me very happy!

  6. serina – we made this last week with brown lentils and my last bit of homemade chicken stock. we LOVED it – even the older boys! i used honey (we don’t have real maple syrup) and i mixed it all in the morning and left it in the fridge for the day before cooking it for dinner (about 8 hours of soaking). i wouldn’t suggest using brown sushi rice as it didn’t get cooked all the way. 🙂 YUM! we ate it with homade chapati…
    ~liz

  7. Great, Liz! I’m glad it was a hit. Our kids like it, too. It gets squishy and mushy with red lentils, which is also a fun texture change for the kids (who get tired of green lentils after a while).

    I’ve read that adding the rice to the lentils might not work as well as cooking the rice separately. Since we eat so much brown rice around here, I tend to cook that separately, so I’d never tried throwing any in the lentil dish. Thanks for the feedback!

  8. Growing up, we didn’t have many things we didn’t eat, and we now follow the same thing (as far as I can remember anyway) that my parents did, which is you always have to have at least one bite of everything, and if you serve yourself, you pretty much have to eat everything on your plate, though if someone else is willing to eat some of it, one can “get out of” eating all of it.

    When Jonathan recently poured a ton of hot sauce on another variation of “Chinese salad”, (this time completely made with fruit), I didn’t make him eat it, and Heather and ate a bunch of the sauce, and I rinsed off the fruit as best I could.

  9. Thank you for this, Serina. I finally tried this (with only half the ginger – we are not big ginger fans) and made it in the crock pot all day on low. It worked just fine and tasted really good. Aiden couldn’t stop eating it and even picky Amara ate it.

  10. hi serina! i’m a friend of bonnie walker’s. and i found your blog linked from her blog… i just wanted to say thanks for the recipe! we tried it tonight and my husband and i loved it! we picked up lentils at the store a couple weeks ago, not knowing what the heck to do with them (we’ve started trying to eat more healthy recently). i was checking out your food posts and decided to give this one a whirl! it was so yummy! thanks so much! and i love your blog. 🙂

    — kylee

  11. yes we did. we made them separately, like your follow-up post suggested, and then combined them at the end. so good! and we have leftovers for lunch today.

  12. I could not figure out what to do for dinner tonight… and this dish came to mind again and for a while we had it once a week. Though I rather soak them, for tonight I think it will be ok if we don’t.

    You might be happy to know I googled and found the very blog I was looking for just by typing in Honey Baked lentils!

    Thanks Again!

  13. This is my #1 go-to recipe. I’ve made it a dozen times with all sorts of variations and additions — beets, carrots, turnips, red lentils, green lentils….always a winner. I add an extra Tablespoon of maple syrup!

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