Note: To our surprise, we discovered while voting for the top dishes of the year that many of our favorites came from the vegetarian issue we did last fall. This particular dish was a universal favorite--it is quick and simple to prepare yet deeply satisfying to eat, especially when accompanied with bruschetta sprinkled with aromatic oregano. If you can't find mustard greens, substitute a combination of spinach and radish leaves.
1 bunch mustard greens or other tender bitter greens, stems trimmed, leaves stripped from ribs
Extra-virgin olive oil
1 small onion, peeled and finely diced
2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
1 celery stalk, trimmed and finely diced
1 small carrot, peeled and finely chopped
1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano leaves
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary leaves
2 tablespoons chopped Italian parsley leaves
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil leaves
2 cups lentils, washed and picked over
Freshly ground pepper
3 small tomatoes, roasted, peeled, seeded and diced
3 tablespoons lemon juice
4 lemon wedges
Blanch mustard greens in water that clings to leaves after washing. Add salt to taste. Drain in colander. Chop very coarsely and set aside.
Combine 3 tablespoons olive oil, onion, garlic, celery and carrot in medium skillet. Cook, covered, over medium heat until vegetables are tender.Stir in oregano, rosemary, Italian parsley, basil and lentils. Allow lentils to absorb flavor for few minutes. Add 4 cups water. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Bring to boil, then simmer, partially covered, until lentils are just tender, about 35 minutes. About 10 minutes before lentils are cooked, add tomatoes.
Saute greens very briefly in 1 tablespoon olive oil. Just before serving, stir greens and lemon juice into lentil-tomato mixture.
Ladle mixture into shallow soup bowls. Grind coarse pepper to taste over top and add few drops of olive oil. Serve with lemon wedges. Makes 4 servings.
Each serving contains about: 278 calories; 109 mg sodium; 0 cholesterol; 14 grams fat; 30 grams carbohydrates; 11 grams protein; 4.11 grams fiber; 46% calories from fat.Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times