I have a long-standing distrust of any food that contains lentils. Lentil soup has always been my go-to answer when asked about my most hated food. I first experienced the suspicious discs floating aimlessly among a few desaturated carrot chunks in the thin, dishwater grey broth served at several of the vegetarian restaurants that surrounded OSU.

So, when my vegetarian husband requested lentil dishes as a part of his brief flirtation with the 4 Hour Body program, I told him the best idea might be for him to find another legume, because I wasn’t interested in having anything to do with lentils in any form.

His persistence, or maybe my guilt finally paid off, and one day I returned from Trader Joe’s with two packs of vacuum packed steamed lentils. Later that night, after much thought about how I might be able to stomach lentils long enough to even prepare a dish for him, I came up with this recipe. To my surprise, we have both been eating lentils this way ever since.

I call it Arizona Lentil Caviar because I’m in Arizona and it’s similar to Texas Caviar made with back eyed peas and the lentils do resemble fish eggs.

Arizona Lentil Caviar Recipe

2 packs  of Trader Joe’s steamed lentils or 40oz (5 cups) of prepared lentils.
1 fresh Jalapeño or Serrano pepper, chopped fine
1/2 of a red onion, chopped
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons good olive oil (optional)
2 tablespoons Franks Hot Sauce or equivalent
4 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro or 5 squares of Dorot fresh/frozen cilantro cubes
Juice from one large or two medium sized lemons
salt and black pepper to taste

Mix everything together in a large bowl. Chill for 20 minutes to let the flavors meld and enjoy.