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Friday, July 9, 2021

Rosemary Lentils

I make a large batch of rosemary lentils at the beginning of the week and have them cold for my lunches all week long. On top of that, I also occasionally make them for my family for dinner. I mentioned this dish the other day in a post and was requested more information. It makes a great summer dish -- it's easy, fresh, and can be made in the morning (while the house is still cool) and served in the evening.

Rosemary Lentils (serves 4)

1 cup dry lentils, rinsed
3 cups water
20 4-inch springs fresh rosemary (should yield about 1/3 cup minced), more if you really like rosemary -- up to 30 sprigs or 1/2 cup minced
1 large clove garlic minced, or 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/3 teaspoon salt
dash black pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice (bottled is okay)
1 tablespoon good vinegar (flavor-infused vinegar or wine vinegar)

Place rinsed lentils and water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover. Simmer for 25 to 30 minutes, until soft but hold their shape. Drain off any excess water. Rinse gently and drain again.

While lentils cook, strip the leaves off of the rosemary stems, leaving the tender top inch of each stem with the leaves. Discard the long stems. Chop leaves fine. 

In a large bowl, toss the cooked lentils with chopped rosemary, garlic, salt, pepper, olive oil, lemon juice, and vinegar. Adjust seasonings. 

Serve warm or cold over salad greens or as a sandwich stuffed in pocket bread.

notes on the recipe

My family loves the flavor of rosemary, so I use the greater amount (30 springs). I don't think it's too heavy at all. However, if you're unsure how much rosemary you might like, try the lesser amount to start, toss with lentils, then add more if you want at that point. With the salt, if you normally eat less salt, try 1/4 teaspoon to begin, then add a sprinkle more if you think you'd enjoy more salt. You could use vegetable oil, but I do think that olive oil really adds to the overall flavor. I buy olive oil in large, restaurant supply jugs. I keep most of it in its original jug in the refrigerator, keeping a month's worth in a small, dark glass bottle in the pantry for convenience. I've been using this same large jug of olive oil for almost two years. I'm at the bottom of the jug and the flavor is still very good. Olive oil deteriorates when exposed to light or prolonged warmth. So I believe that storing the bulk of it in the fridge has been beneficial for the oil.

health benefits of rosemary

I love the flavor of rosemary. But I also love the health benefits. 

  • Rosemary is believed to slow cancer cell growth and possibly inhibit tumor formation. 
  • Rosemary may boost the immune system. The acids in rosemary work as antibacterial, anti-fungal, and antiviral agents. 
  • Rosemary also has anti-inflammatory properties and may help reduce some chronic pain, such as with RA.


  1. I have grown rosemary some years, but not this year, so getting that many stems won't be easy. Fresh herbs are expensive, so I'll have to check out dry. However, we do like lentils and this sounds like a good way to prepare them.

    1. Hi Live and Learn,
      As I was making this dish the last time, I wondered what other herbs might be good substitutes. You'd get a different taste, but perhaps also delicious. The one herb that I thought of that I might try is dill. The other flavors could be Mediterranean and I think dill would go well with those. When my husband and I were dating, he used to make a rice, lima bean, and dill dish that was very tasty. A friend of his from the Middle East (Iran, I think) told him how to make it originally. So, anyway, if you like dill, you might experiment with some minced fresh dill in place of rosemary, adding just a little dill at a time until you like the flavor.

      Rosemary overwinters here in the PNW if protected. My rosemary is in a trough planter on the deck, up against the house. I can usually keep rosemary plants alive for 4 or 5 years. Then we have a rough winter and I have to start over. It's what works, here, but likely would not work in harsher winter climates.

      The dried rosemary may also be tasty. Good luck with it if you try the dry rosemary.

    2. Now you've intrigued me with the rice, lima bean, and dill dish because we have all three. I'll have to investigate. And we may have enough dill leftover to try it with the lentils, too.

  2. Replies
    1. Thanks, kris. We've been enjoying it a lot this summer.

  3. Thanks for the recipe - I have quite a bit of rosemary and love the flavor. I'll be trying this dish out this coming week.

    1. Hi Ruthie,
      I hope you enjoy this dish as much as we do. I'm glad that you have a lot of rosemary to work with. You can also freeze any leftover minced rosemary to use later. Enjoy!

  4. Hello Lili, thank you for sharing the recipe. What kind of lentils did you use? I'm wondering if I can make this pink lentils.

    1. Hi Farhana,
      That's a good question, because different types of lentils require different cooking times. I used brown lentils which I think take longer to cook than pink. This will work fine with pink lentils, just adjust the cooking time so that the pink lentils are thoroughly cooked but still hold their shape. Enjoy!

  5. Hi Lili,
    Thank you for the reply, I think I'll try both lentils and see which one we like best :).


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