Lentils for Lent

Lentils for Lent

I grew up in a seriously Catholic household where Lent was strictly enforced. Every Ash Wednesday, my grandfather used to come home first thing in the morning from church with ashes on his forehead. He owned those ashes the way most people proudly display their I Voted stickers. Except this was much more serious, as it was displayed on his face.

Soon, my whole family would follow suit and go get our blessing of ashes and this was the mark of the beginning of Lent. It all boiled down to giving up something you truly loved and no meat on Fridays. I always gave up the same thing, my beloved 7UP…I wasn’t brave enough to give up sweets (I’m still not).

Here’s the funny part, my family acted like giving up meat for one day out of the week was some huge sacrifice. I thought it was brilliant…a parade of Lenten foods would present themselves every Friday. Lentils being one of my all-time favorites of the Lenten season, I decided to share my family lentil recipe with you…. Enjoy!

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1 TBSP olive oil
1 small onion (diced)
2 small tomatoes (diced)
3 garlic cloves (crushed)
¼  cup cilantro
1 chile de arbol (stem removed)
4½ cups of water
4 TBSP vegetable bouillon
1 cup lentils (cleaned and washed)


  1. Over a medium flame, add olive oil to a medium sized sauce pan. Allow to get hot.
  2. Add onions and saute for 10 minutes.
  3. Add tomatoes and crushed garlic cloves to onion mixture and continue to saute for an additional 5 minutes.
  4. Add cilantro and chile de arbol and saute for an additional 1 minute.
  5. Add water and bring to a boil. Then add in vegetable bouillon and mix to dissolve.
  6. Add lentils to the broth and bring to a boil again.
  7. Once boiling lower flame to simmer and cover saucepan with a lid and let simmer for 45 minutes to an hour, or until bite-tender.
  8. Serve with avocado or crumbled cheese or freshly-made salsa and a hot corn tortilla.