Vegan lentil bean sauté of tiny Umbrian lentil beans with leeks, topped with roasted balsamic tomatoes.

vegan Lentil saute with umbrian lentils, roasted balsamic tomatoes and leeks,

Think of this as lentil soup morphed into a sauté. It’s about as easy to make too, especially since the lentils I used cooked up so fast. I’ve made this a number of times with regular run-of-the-mill brown lentils, but then I saw Bartolini’s adorable (assuming lentil beans can be considered adorable) little Umbrian Lentils, from duh, Umbria. They’re tiny, closer in size to red lentils, and cook up in about 20 – 30 minutes.

Bartolini Umbrian lentil beans

They’re great for salads, or sautés like this one because they hold their shape beautifully, and have an earthy flavor that melds well with vinegars and ingredients like the Roasted Balsamic Tomatoes I posted on Sunday. I saw them at my local neighborhood grocery store where they were showcasing legumes, and you may see them in the International Foods section of a larger grocery. But if you can’t find them, you can order them from a number of online sources. The best price I found  in a quick search was at  Market Hall.

There’s a little more information about these little beans I found on theKitchn site, if you’re interested.

A Few Cooking Notes:

Ras el-hanout is a spice common to Middle Eastern dishes and  is a combination of cardamom, cinnamon, cumin, and a few other spices. If you can’t find it, just put a cinnamon stick, along with a couple of smashed cardamom pods, in with the lentil beans as they cook. Or you can make your own spice mix.

Turf ‘n Turf: Cooking for the  Vegetarian – Omnivore Table:

Sausage is a perfect meat protein with this dish. I would steer more towards a pork or lamb sausage rather than chicken, and if you like spicy sausage, medium spicy sausages would be a great foil for the lentils and tomatoes.

Slice the sausage links into 1/4″ rounds and brown them over medium-high heat in one teaspoon of olive oil. Serve along side the saute, or remove enough of the lentil sauté to serve the omnivores from the pan, and toss it with the browned sausage slices. Spoon onto a plate, top with the warm roasted tomatoes, and a sprinkle of parsley and mint leaves.


Umbrian Lentil Sauté with Roasted Balsamic Tomatoes

     by Susan Pridmore

     Serves 2

     Prep Time: 15 minutes

     Cook Time: 45 minutes


  • 1/2 cup Umbrian lentils
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped carrots
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
  • 1 1/2 cup thinly sliced leeks, white and light green parts (sliced horizontally)
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon ras el-hanout spice
  • 1/2 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • 3 to 4 Roasted Balsamic Tomato halves, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons cup parsley
  • 1 tablespoon packed mint
  • pinch of salt flakes for a finish


Bring the broth to a simmer and add the beans. Cover and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes, until tender.

Heat up the olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the carrots, garlic, leeks, celery and ras el-hanout and saute until the carrots are just soft (about 20 minutes).

Add the lentils to the vegetables and sauté another five minutes to allow the lentils to absorb the flavors. Add the balsamic vinegar.

Warm up the roasted balsamic tomatoes if they were make in advance.

Spoon the lentils/vegetable mixture onto a serving platter and top with the roasted tomatoes.

Mix the parsley and mint together and sprinkle on top. Finish with a pinch of salt flakes.

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23 Responses to “Umbrian Lentils & Roasted Tomatoes” Subscribe

  1. lizthechef May 22, 2013 at 12:38 pm #

    Love these little guys – are they smaller than the green French ones? Making plans for your roasted tomatoes…
    lizthechef recently posted..Grilled Halibut with Fresh Blueberry SalsaMy Profile

    • The Wimpy Vegetarian May 22, 2013 at 4:50 pm #

      Proof that we can love anything small, even legumes :-). They’re slightly bigger than the green French ones, but not by much. Hope you enjoy the roasted tomatoes too! I’m posting another recipe with roasted tomatoes in the next couple of days :-)
      The Wimpy Vegetarian recently posted..Umbrian Lentil Sauté with Roasted Balsamic TomatoesMy Profile

  2. Rodger Helwig May 22, 2013 at 12:45 pm #


    What is ras el-hanout spice? Can one make it?


  3. Rodger Helwig May 22, 2013 at 12:47 pm #

    Ah, Susan, I just read your note about ras el-hanout in the
    intro. Think I’ll search for a recipe to whip up.

    • The Wimpy Vegetarian May 22, 2013 at 4:52 pm #

      I’m so glad you mentioned this Scorp! I just added a link to a recipe I found that I like. Not all of them use cardamom (although most do), and I’m a huge fan of cardamom. I also added a version for carnivores too, although I know you’re eating less and less meat too these days my friend!
      The Wimpy Vegetarian recently posted..Umbrian Lentil Sauté with Roasted Balsamic TomatoesMy Profile

  4. apuginthekitchen May 22, 2013 at 1:16 pm #

    This is fantastic, have never tried Umbrian Lentils now I think I have to. I have to make some ras el-hanout.
    apuginthekitchen recently posted..VOTE For My Chocolate Hazelnut Raspberry Bars Please!!My Profile

    • The Wimpy Vegetarian May 22, 2013 at 4:55 pm #

      Thanks Suzanne! Thanks to my friend Rodger’s comment above, I’ve added a link to the post for a recipe for ras el-hanout that looks interesting to me. For me, it’s not ras el-hanout without cardamom, and not all recipes include that spice. I buy mine in those little boxes so that I don’t get a lot at one time.
      The Wimpy Vegetarian recently posted..Umbrian Lentil Sauté with Roasted Balsamic TomatoesMy Profile

      • apuginthekitchen May 22, 2013 at 5:00 pm #

        Thanks Susan, have never made it before. I will give it a try. Where do you get the little packets?
        apuginthekitchen recently posted..VOTE For My Chocolate Hazelnut Raspberry Bars Please!!My Profile

        • The Wimpy Vegetarian May 22, 2013 at 5:26 pm #

          At our Whole Foods, and Raley’s stores, they sell small boxes of spices so you can get small quantities of spices you don’t use as much. They have something like 100 different spices that way. Have you seen them in your spice section of the store?
          The Wimpy Vegetarian recently posted..Umbrian Lentil Sauté with Roasted Balsamic TomatoesMy Profile

          • apuginthekitchen May 23, 2013 at 4:53 am #

            I haven’t but whole foods is not in my neighborhood yet. I have to take the train into Manhattan and cart groceries back by subway which is not great so I don’t really go to whole foods that often. I will however make a trip there to a box of spice won’t be hard to carry, LOL! I also may try sahadi’s they are wonderful and have a huge assortment of middle eastern spices. Thanks
            apuginthekitchen recently posted..VOTE For My Chocolate Hazelnut Raspberry Bars Please!!My Profile

  5. CCU May 22, 2013 at 2:32 pm #

    I didn’t know lentils could look so utterly gorgeous :D

    CCU recently posted..Lotsa Choc-Chip LoveMy Profile

  6. TasteFood May 22, 2013 at 4:41 pm #

    This is a great way to serve lentils. I love them and always resort to soup. No more!
    TasteFood recently posted..Chipotle Beef Short Rib TacosMy Profile

  7. Christy@SweetandSavoring May 22, 2013 at 5:32 pm #

    This seems like such an amazing party/special occasion dish. I can tell it’ll be so flavorful and filling!
    Christy@SweetandSavoring recently posted..An Afternoon at Planting Fields ArboretumMy Profile

  8. Kathy May 23, 2013 at 6:52 am #

    Look at all those yummy ingredients!

  9. Debra May 23, 2013 at 1:07 pm #

    This looks delicious but thank you for including a variation for the omnivores! :)
    Debra recently posted..Carne Asada Pizza with Chevre and Cilantro SauceMy Profile

  10. Simona May 24, 2013 at 8:04 am #

    We are on the same wavelength, Susan: I will soon post a recipe that includes lentils from my home region. This is an old one: http://briciole.typepad.com/blog/2009/03/lenticchie-di-castelluccio.html

    There is a bit more to them, but for now I am happy people are starting to know and appreciate them. Next time we have coffee, we’ll talk about lentils and other legumes from Umbria.
    Simona recently posted..Black and White Wednesday: la galleria di foto / the photo galleryMy Profile

  11. The Wimpy Vegetarian May 27, 2013 at 2:05 pm #

    Oh I’ll bet your stash is wonderful ! One of the many reasons I want to travel to Morocco is the food. Love, love, love their spices and food.
    The Wimpy Vegetarian recently posted..#SundaySupper: Smoked Trout Deviled EggsMy Profile

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