Anyhow... I consider myself something of a lentil connoisseur (seeing as how they are both healthy and cheap, two criteria which top my list), and these lentils are, to say it briefly, completely awesome. My first thought upon tasting them (well, first of all after "woah!") was basically, "and, why don't I use balsamic vinegar on absolutely everything?". They have sausage, which I almost never cook with but I decided just to try the recipe as is and it was really good and hearty. It could be easily veggie-fied, either by just leaving it out (it would be really flavorful just by itself) or else substituting veggie sausage.
Here is my take on it...
What you need:
some olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
3 cloves of minced garlic (probably 2-4 depending on taste)
red pepper flakes, to taste (I like a lot, probably used half a tsp- 1tsp)
3 links fully cooked chicken sausage, sliced- I got some garlicy sausage from TJs
2T balsamic vinegar
14oz can diced tomatoes
chopped fresh basil (could sub dried basil, in which case you should put it in at the same time as the pepper flakes)
salt and pepper to taste
3/4 cup dry lentils
1 1/4 cup water
5 oz fresh spinach or so, roughly chopped (I threw in almost a whole bag and did not chop it because I am lazy)
What you do...
Heat some olive oil in a pretty decent sized saucepan/pot (I just used my olive oil mister- all you need it for is browning the onions). Add the onions and cook until softened and a little brown.
Add ~1T balsamic vinegar, garlic, chicken sausage, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper and sauté a couple minutes more.
Then, add the lentils, canned tomatoes, and water, and stir to combine. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover, and simmer for around 25 minutes or until the lentils are just about done. Add spinach and chopped basil and cook 10 minutes more, until spinach is wilted and lentils are tender. Stir in remaining balsamic vinegar, garnish with extra basil, and serve.This was seriously delicious. The balsamic vinegar really brought out a great flavor in the lentils, and it smelled absolutely fantastic. This recipe is definitely a keeper!