Crispy Popped Lentils

I’m having one of those weeks.  The ones that drag on and you seem to constantly be working on something, but really nothing at all.  And yes, I’m aware it’s only Tuesday.  I think Thanksgiving took it’s toll on me and I need a vacation.  Anyone want to send me to Hawaii?  I’m down with Europe as well, I’m not picky.

You know what can make this week better?  Popped lentils and a giant kale salad!  Seriously, I can’t emphasis enough how amazing these crispy, toasty beans are.  I have taken to using them in salads to add crunch, but you can have them on as a snack, or on top of just about any dish to add an extra dimension.

SOOOO crispy popped lentils.  Sounds weird, or foreign, but I promise you’ll be hooked once you try them.  And they are super simple to make!  Throw cooked lentils in a hot pan with a bit of oil, and viola!  The lentils will actually jump around as they pop and turn golden brown.  Add a dash of salt, pepper, and any other seasonings your heart desires, then let cool and they’re ready to go.  I used to roast chick peas all the time for a snack, so I figured why not use other nuts to achieve the same dry, crunchy texture. What I did do was speed up the process by cooking the lentils in a hot pan instead of the oven and also get the beans to puff up and actually ‘pop’ like popcorn, which would not happen in the oven without direct heat.  There are so many flavor possibilities as well as way to use these crispy morsels.  Have fun making these and get creative with how to use them!

Crispy Popped Lentils

1 cup dry lentils (I used French lentils)
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1/4 tsp salt
water, for soaking

*You can use canned lentils instead of soaking and cooking your own (about 2 cups), however I highly recommend always soaking and cooking your own legumes and grains to make them easier to digest.  See this post for more information about why soaking beans and grains is important.

1 Tbsp coconut oil, divided
sea salt, to taste
pepper, to taste

any other seasonings your heart desires!

1.  Rinse the dry lentils, then place them in a large bowl and cover with at least 4 inches of water.  Add the salt and vinegar, gently stir, then cover and let sit overnight (or at least 6-8 hours).
2.  Drain and rinse the soaked beans, then add them to a pot and cover with 2 inches of water.  Bring the beans to a boil, then simmer for 15-20 minutes, or until al-dente.  Drain and run cold water over the cooked beans to cool them off and stop them from continuing to cook.
3.  Heat 1 1/2 Tbsp oil in a cast iron skillet or non-stick pan on high.  When the pan is good and hot, add 1 cup of the lentils and spread them out in one even layer.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper along with another seasoning, if desired.
4.  Cook, stirring often, for 4-5 minutes, or until golden brown.  Remove from heat and spread out on a plate to cool.
5.  Repeat steps 3 & 4 with the last cup of lentils.  Enjoy!

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