How to Make a Bean, Lentil, and Spinach Skillet

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 24,207
    Watch as Chef Amy Riolo demonstrates how to make this delicious and nutritious dish which is a unique side dish or vegetarian main dish.

    Amy Riolo: Hi! I am Amy Riolo; today we are making a Bean, Spinach and Lentil Skillet. Ingredients we will need today are one half cup lentils sorted, rinsed and drained, three tablespoons, extra virgin olive oil divided, one large yellow onion sliced, three garlic cloves minced, one half pound fresh spinach, salt, freshly ground black pepper, one fifteen ounce can reduced sodium, chickpeas and two tablespoons lemon juice. So to begin our bean, lentil and spinach skillet, the first thing that we will need to do is to cook our lentils in water, boil them for about twenty minutes or until they are tender and then drain them. Once we do that we can go ahead with the rest of the recipe. And the first thing that we will do to start the recipe is to heat our skillet over a medium heat. As soon as the skillet is heated we will add our olive oil. This is extra virgin olive oil, and we will use that to coat the bottom of our pan. Then we will increase our heat to medium high and add our onions. We will saut the onions for 3 to 5 minutes or until they are golden brown and then we will start adding the rest of our ingredients.

    By sauting the onions first, we are releasing a lot of flavor and aroma into the recipe. Onions are really great for our health because they help our cells to get rid of all of the waste material and toxins so they are really good in maintaining optimal health. This recipe is very high in fiber and a lot of people will be interested to know that the lentils are a great source of both protein and fiber. The wonderful thing is they are very easy to make and they are inexpensive. You don't have to pre-soak lentils, a lot of people think that you do, but you don't. You can just rinse them and then go ahead and make them.

    So, we will let our onion saut for a few more minutes just until they are golden. So now our onions are nice and golden, just going to stir them around and at this point we can go ahead and add our garlic. Again we are adding the garlic just after the onions are already cooked and this is because it only takes about a minute for the garlic to cook, we just want to release its aroma and incorporate in the dish, but we don't want the garlic to burn it all. Now we can start adding our spinach. This is about a pound of spinach. As you can see it is quite a bit. If the leaves are really big you can break them up with your hands if you don't have to and it is amazing how fast of course the spinach cooks down. So if you are cooking for a large crowd you want to do it in two separate skillets. Spinach is great because it has so much iron and anti-oxidants, it is really a helpful ingredients. It is so easy to use fresh. So now we can just stir the spinach and the onion, make sure that they get incorporated and you can see the spinach is already starting to wilt down. This is exactly what we want. Amazing how fast it really loses its size and once we see the spinach has started to wilt, it is all incorporating with the olive oil and the onions, we can go ahead and add our chickpeas. Now chickpeas are also known as garbanzo beans because that's the Spanish name for them and they are healthy, have a lot of fiber, they have protein. You can add them in and just again stir them around to incorporate. I am going to turn my fire down to about medium low, just because everything is nice and hot already and I don't want the onions to burn. Just stirring everything around, making sure that all of the ingredients incorporate.

    And the last thing I am going to add are my lentils. Now these are lentils which I boiled in advance that took about 20 minutes to boil them and they are ready. What I suggest to people is whenever you make lentils, whenever you take the time to boil them, boil triple quadra loop of the quantity that you actually need and keep them in your refrigerator in a container that's covered and they will last up to a week and you can use them in all sorts of things. You can add them to salads or stews or in with rice and it just makes it a lot easier for you to get more fiber and nutrients into your meal because you have already went an extra step to cook the lentils early.

    Now I am going to add in some lemon juice just as a finisher. It is always nice to add lemon juice at the end when you cook because it really helps to maintain the citrusy flavor and then I am going to add some salt and a little bit of freshly ground black pepper. This is a great dish full of fiber as you can see. You could have it as a side dish, you could have it as a vegetarian main and you could serve it with rice or with a nice whole grain or whole wheat pasta would be wonderful also and this is our bean, lentil and spinach skillet. Enjoy!