Healthful lentils go with sausage

DINNER TONIGHT

DinnerTonight

July 07, 2004|By Joe Gray | Joe Gray,CHICAGO TRIBUNE

Lentils are a great cupboard staple that don't get enough attention. As easily prepared as pasta, but more healthful, they can expand your midweek culinary repertoire. (They're usually sold in bags, and are located in the market near the beans.)

We like to use chicken-apple sausages that are sold already cooked, such as the Sausages by Amy brand, because they speed preparation. The slightly sweet taste of the sausage is complemented by the orange zest in the lentils.

As long as you've got the grill going, slice up some bell peppers and throw them on, too. Finish them with a little olive oil, salt and pepper. Snack on your favorite cheese and some imported olives while waiting for the sausages to grill.

Tips:

To save the cooking time on the vegetables, throw the red onion and carrots in together with the lentils, water, salt and bay leaf and simmer until done. The vegetables will have less texture, but the lentils still will be flavorful.

Menu:

* Cheese and olives

* Grilled chicken sausages with lentils

* Grilled bell peppers

* Beer

* Chocolate chip cookie and vanilla ice cream sandwiches

Grilled Chicken Sausages With Lentils

Makes 4 servings

Preparation time: 15 minutes; cooking time: 28 minutes

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 carrot, chopped

1 small red onion, chopped

1 cup lentils

1 can (14 1/2 ounces) chicken broth

1 cup water

1 bay leaf

1/2 teaspoon salt

freshly ground pepper

1 tablespoon orange zest

4 chicken-apple sausages

3 green onions, thinly sliced

Heat oil over medium-high heat in a medium pot. Cook carrots and onion until just softened, about 5 minutes. Add lentils, broth, water, bay leaf, salt and pepper to taste.

Heat to a simmer; cook, uncovered, until lentils are done, about 20 minutes. Remove bay leaf, stir in orange zest. Set lentils aside, keep warm.

Meanwhile, grill, broil or microwave sausages according to package instructions. Remove to a cutting board; slice. Place lentils on dinner plates; top with green onions. Arrange sliced sausage on top.

Per serving: 370 calories; 14 grams fat; 5 grams saturated fat; 45 milligrams cholesterol; 33 grams carbohydrate; 28 grams protein; 680 milligrams sodium; 12 grams fiber

-- Recipe and analysis from the Chicago Tribune, a Tribune Publishing newspaper

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