Green Lentil Dip

I love hummus, and now that I’m completely comfortable baking my own pita bread on our baking stone, it’s a totally appealing lunch staple for me. There’s just one problem. I have really seriously not mastered the art of hummus making yet. I try a different ratio every time, and it always ends up…dry…and a little too bitter. Another mystery is that, while I do love hummus, it appears that I can’t stand the taste of tahini, which is a real problem in hummus making. Maybe next time I will just try leaving it out? Or substituting oil? Any tips you have are more than welcome! All that is to say, I am always happy to find a good hummus alternative to try in between my attempts. This one really called my name.

You start by roasting a whole head of garlic in the oven (a real luxury!), and while that’s cooking, you saute vegetables and herbs. It smells heavenly.

Then you stir in the French green lentils. So pretty.

I made ours in our giant Le Creuset, which made me feel fancy!

By this point all that’s left to do is puree it in the food processor. As you can see, it’s not the prettiest food in the world, but it is so deeply and richly flavorful. I carried it off to work in a glass container (with a pita bread crammed in on the side!) for a week, and I was sorry when it was gone. This recipe is definitely a keeper, and I think I’ll be turning to it pretty frequently as a detour from my hummus (mis)adventures.

Green Lentil Dip
Recipe adapted from Bon Appetit

1 head of garlic
1 tablespoon plus 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup finely chopped peeled carrot
3 small sprigs thyme
2 small sprigs rosemary
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup French green lentils or brown lentils (8 ounces), rinsed
2 tablespoons (or more) fresh lemon juice

-Preheat oven to 375°. Cut top 1/2″ off head of garlic; place on sheet of foil and drizzle with 1/2 Tbsp. oil. Roast garlic until tender, about 50 minutes (check the garlic after 30-40 minutes to make sure that it isn’t burning). Let cool; squeeze cloves from skins and set aside. Discard skins.
-Meanwhile, heat 1/2 Tbsp. oil in a large heavy pot over medium heat. Add onion and next 4 ingredients; season with salt and pepper. Cook until vegetables are soft, about 5 minutes. Add lentils; stir for 2 minutes. Add water (or broth, if you prefer) to cover lentils by 1″. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and gently simmer, adding more water or broth by 1/4-cupfuls as needed, until lentils are tender, about 30 minutes. Let cool slightly; discard stems of herbs (the leaves will have detached from the stems).
-Purée lentil mixture and garlic cloves in a food processor. Stir in remaining 1/4 cup oil and 2 Tbsp. lemon juice. Season with salt, pepper, and more lemon juice, if desired.

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