Red Lentil Risotto

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Note the autumnal flair

One great thing about not traveling far for Thanksgiving this year was that I got to spend more time on the dish I contributed. It also rocked not having to transport it to Boston in a backpack.

I ended up adapting one of my favorite soups into a red lentil risotto of sorts. With the roasted apples and butternut squash and caramelized shallots, it went perfectly with the more traditional Thanksgiving foods on the table. I enjoyed it in lieu of turkey (along with some of my mom’s spinach and feta pie), but it also works as a side dish.


  • 3-4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 shallot, sliced lengthwise
  • 1 butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 2-3 golden delicious (or other) apples, peeled and chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1 1-lb bag of red lentils, rinsed well
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • red pepper flakes (optional but delicious)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 3-4 cups water (you may need more)


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Toss the butternut squash with 1 tbsp olive oil, spread on a baking sheet, and bake about 40 minutes.
  2. Toss apple with another tbsp oil, spread on a baking sheet, and bake 20-30 minutes.
  3.  In a large saucepan, heat 1 tbsp oil and then add shallot. Cook on medium heat until shallots begin to brown, about 5-10 minutes. Add lentil and 2 cups water. Add spices.
  4. Continue to cook as you would risotto, stirring often to prevent lentils from sticking to the bottom of the pot. Add more liquid a little at a time, waiting until the rest has been absorbed before adding more. You want the lentils tender but not mushy, so test them a few times. *
  5. When lentils are done cooking, stir in apple and squash pieces. Adjust seasonings as needed.
  6. Serve warm or room temperature

*If you want to make this into a soup, simply add more water *(~5-6 cups), bring to a boil, reduce heat and cover.

Hope you enjoy! I have no idea if it makes any logical sense to call a red lentil dish a risotto, but I’m going with it!

5 thoughts on “Red Lentil Risotto

    Savory Simple said:
    November 26, 2011 at 3:28 pm

    What a beautiful risotto!

    sweetopiagirl said:
    November 27, 2011 at 8:55 pm

    Reblogged this on inspiredweightloss.

    Lauren said:
    November 28, 2011 at 11:19 am

    You read my mind, do you mean risotto consistency? Looks fantastic, sometimes staying local is the best.

      Jess responded:
      November 28, 2011 at 1:44 pm

      It was pretty close to a risotto consistency—and it was cooked similarly, stirring a little liquid in at a time. No dry white wine, though. I’m definitely going to keep playing with the recipe

    Chica Andaluza said:
    November 29, 2011 at 4:19 pm

    Sounds lovely – and lots of lovely flavours going on with it.

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