Click here to advertise on

Catholic Recipe: Lehi Lentils


  • 1 cup dry lentils
  • 1 cup leftover ham or other meat diced
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • 1/2 cup chopped carrots
  • 2 tbs. butter
  • salt and pepper
  • Details

  • Serves: 4
  • Yield: 2 quarts
  • Prep Time: 1 1/2 hours
  • Difficulty:
  • Cost: $$$$
  • For Ages: 15+
  • Origin:

One of the most renowned foods in the Bible, and what might be called one of the most expensive, is lentils. I say "expensive," because Esau sold his birthright for- bread and lentil soup. "So he swore to him and sold his birthright to-Jacob. Then Jacob gave Esau bread and pottage of lentils." (Genesis 25:33-34)

A low price indeed for a man's inheritance and rights. But at least he dined well nutritionally. The food value of lentils compares favorably with sirloin steak. Lentils provide more protein and less fat. They definitely have more calcium, phosphorus, iron, thiamine and riboflavin. They also contain vitamin A and vitamin C which do not appear in sirloin at all.

Archaeologists frequently come across the remains of lentils in excavations in the Near East so we know they have been eaten for thousands of years in that part of the world. They are referred to in ancient Sumerian cuneiform texts and were one of the crops cultivated by this ancient civilization in the Tigris-Euphrates river valley before the year 2,000 B.C.

Since lentils prosper on poor soil, they are raised all over the Holy Land. Soon after the wheat harvest in June they are reaped and threshed much like wheat. A tasty bread can be made from lentils, barley and other grains, as outlined in Ezekiel 4:9: ". . Take wheat and barley, beans and lentils, millet and spelt, and put them into a single vessel and make bread of them."

The red pottage that Jacob gave Esau (Genesis 25:30) is a particular variety of lentil. It is not actually red, but more, of a reddish-chocolate in color when boiled. People in the Near East frequently call anything "red" that is a yellow brown.


Wash lentils. Put in pot, cover with water and bring to boil for 5 minutes. Set aside to soak for an hour. Drain and put in a kettle with 1 1/2 quarts of water and the meat. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes or until the lentils are semi-tender. Add chopped vegetables and let simmer until they are tender. Add butter and seasoning to taste.

Subscribe for free
Click here to advertise on

Recent Catholic Commentary

Round Trip to the present moment: a Catholic jazz artist's latest offering April 22
Easter with the Pope April 21
Smaller Church, Bigger Faith, 3: Ecclesiastical Discipline April 17
The Holy Spirit and Evangelization: A Primer April 16
Journey to the Sun: A Strange Biography of Junípero Serra April 16

Top Catholic News

Most Important Stories of the Last 30 Days
Pope Francis: Easter Vigil homily (full text) CWN - April 20
Pope Francis's Easter Message 'Urbi et Orbi' (To the City and the World): full text, link to video CWN - April 20