|Nutrition Facts (per serving)|
|Servings: 8 to 10|
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 9g||11%|
|Saturated Fat 4g||22%|
|Total Carbohydrate 41g||15%|
|Dietary Fiber 7g||25%|
|*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.|
Lentils are inexpensive, versatile, and packed with protein and fiber. They make for an easy main meal or aside dish, and with their earthy taste, they pair well with lots of different flavor profiles and kinds of vegetables. It's hard to run out of ways to cook lentils.
These tasty lentils are full of flavor and are slow cooked with garlic, tomatoes, carrots, and celery, and then topped with shredded cheddar cheese. Using the slow cooker takes the guesswork out of cooking lentils, and also fills your house with a delicious smell. Eat them as is garnished with shredded cheese and herbs such as parsley, or maybe even a dollop of sour cream. Slow cooker lentils are also always great when paired with cooked white or brown rice.
You can adapt this recipe based on your own dietary concerns. For example, it's easily made vegetarian by using veggie stock instead of chicken; eliminate the cheddar cheese (or use a vegan substitute), and it's also a dairy-free meal.
- 1 pound lentils, rinsed and picked over
- 2 cups onions, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 cups canned diced tomatoes, undrained
- 2 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
- 2 large carrots, sliced
- 1/2 cup celery, sliced
- 1 bell pepper, chopped
- 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped, plus more for garnish
- 1 dried bay leaf
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon ground marjoram
- 1/8 teaspoon leaf sage, crumbled
- 1/8 teaspoon dried leaf thyme
- 8 ounces cheddar cheese, shredded, plus more for garnish
Gather the ingredients.
Place all ingredients, except the cheese, in the slow cooker and cook on the HIGH setting for 2 1/2 to 3 hours, or until the lentils are tender.
Stir in the cheese until it is melted.
Serve hot, topped with more cheese or fresh chopped parsley, if desired. Taste, and season with salt and pepper, as needed
For this recipe, you'll want to make sure you're using regular lentils or green lentils. Red lentils will work, but they won't hold their texture and will release their starches into the dish very quickly.
Feel free to change the profile of this dish to suit your liking.
- Use more or less of one kind of dried herb, or change the herbs completely. Rosemary works especially well with lentils.
- Add a diced potato if you like; sweet potatoes are especially good with lentils.
- Use curry powder, turmeric, ginger, and/or garlic for a more Southeast Asian palette.
- Add a Parmesan rind to the slow cooker to boost the flavor.
- Before serving, remove the lid and add some chopped spinach or kale to the slow cooker. Put the lid back on and let the greens gently wilt, and then serve.
How to Store and Freeze Slow Cooker Lentils
These cooked lentils should keep in the refrigerator for up to 5 days in an airtight container. For longer storage, this dish will freeze well—up to six months—in an air-tight container. Defrost in the microwave, in the refrigerator, or right on the stovetop.