About a year ago I made Mediterranean braised lentils with poached eggs for a client. They were, without a doubt, the best lentils I had ever tasted. I always thought this legume was boring but this recipe changed my mind. Sadly, I forgot to save the recipe and I couldn't for the life of me find it again! I desperately wanted those lentils again but without a source, I had to figure it out on my own. Well, I'm sure you guessed it but I was able to replicate the dish. Naturally, me being me, I added a couple more elements like black pepper yogurt and sizzled herbs to make this dish one spectacular meal. Goodbye boring lentils, hello flavor town!
Mediterranean Braised Lentils with Poached Egg
Mediterranean braised lentils
- 1 tbsp oil
- 1 medium red onion diced
- 2 tsp garlic minced
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- ½ tsp fennel ground
- ½ tsp oregano
- ½ cup lentils
- ½ cup red wine
- 2 cups vegetable broth
- salt and pepper
Black pepper yogurt
- ½ cup Greek yogurt
- 1 tsp freshly cracked black pepper
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- ½ cup cherry tomatoes halved
- salt and pepper
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- ¼ cup fresh dill chopped
- ¼ cup fresh parsley chopped
- juice of ½ lime
- 4 poached eggs
- Heat 1 tbsp oil in a medium saucepot over medium-high heat. Add the chopped red onion and saute until softened, about 3-4 minutes. Add 2 tsp minced garlic, 1 tbsp tomato paste, 1 tsp smoked paprika, ½ tsp fennel, ½ tsp oregano, and ½ cup lentils, stirring to combine. Add ½ cup red wine and bring to a simmer. Continue to cook until almost all of the red wine has evaporated.
- Add 2 cups vegetable broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover the pot and continue to cook for 15-20 minutes or until the lentils are tender and the liquid has evaporated.
- Meanwhile, make the black pepper yogurt. Combine ½ cup yogurt with 1 tsp freshly cracked black pepper. Set aside.
- Prepare the blistered cherry tomatoes. Heat 1 tbsp oil in a saute pan over medium-high heat. Add the halved cherry tomatoes and cook until the tomatoes are seared and softened, about 4-5 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
- In the same pan, heat 2 tbsp olive oil over medium heat. Add ¼ cup fresh dill and ¼ cup fresh parsley and cook for 30 seconds. Turn off the heat and add the juice of ½ lime.
- Poach the eggs.
- Assemble the plates. Spread the black pepper yogurt on the plate and top with the braised lentils, blistered tomatoes, poached eggs, and sizzled herbs. Serve immediately.
**Helpful tips and common mistakes
When you look up recipes for lentils, they are usually cooked in water or stock. Maybe a little garlic, a little wine, or some onion, but that's about it. I wanted more. So, I turned to Mediterranean food for inspiration and added ingredients like tomato paste, smoked paprika, fennel, oregano, and red wine. It seems so simple but when you combine all of these items together, they work like a charm.
Saute the onion until softened, then add the garlic along with the tomato paste, lentils, and all of the seasonings. Add the red wine and let it cook out before adding the vegetable stock. You can season the lentils now but pre-made stocks usually already have salt in them so I like to season after.
Cook until the lentils are tender on low heat, allowing them to soak in all those flavors. Meanwhile, make the black pepper yogurt and sizzled herbs. For the yogurt, use freshly cracked black pepper for the best results. For the sizzled herbs, I used dill and parsley but you can also substitute it with oregano, cilantro, or even basil.
Quickly blister some cherry tomatoes on a saute pan, poach some eggs and your meal is ready. Spread the black pepper yogurt on the bottom of the plate and pile on all the goodies.
I had an idea in my head of what these Mediterranean braised lentils would taste like and let me tell you. This was beyond my expectations. The creamy yogurt balances the rich lentils with the runny eggs and the zesty herbs just finish it off. I could eat this every day and not get tired of lentils.