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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Pair sausage with lentils for quick, midweek meal

Joe Gray Chicago Tribune

Lentils are a great cupboard stable that don’t get enough attention. As easily prepared as pasta, but more healthful, they can expand your midweek culinary repertoire.

This dish welcomes warm weather with the addition of fresh green onions, among the first local vegetables to appear each season. Milder evenings lure us outside to grill the sausages, boosting their flavor. We like to use chicken apple sausages that are sold already cooked, such as the Sausages By Amy brand, because they speed preparation. The slightly sweet taste of the sausage is complemented by the orange zest in the lentils.

As long as you’ve got the grill going, slice up some bell peppers and throw them on, too. Finish them with a little olive oil, salt and pepper. Snack on your favorite cheese and some imported olives while waiting for the sausages to grill.

To save the cooking time on the vegetables, throw the red onion and carrots in together with the lentils, water, salt and bay leaf and simmer until done. The vegetables will have less texture, but the lentils will still be flavorful.

Grill the green onions too (chop them after grilling) for an added smoky flavor.

Grilled Chicken Sausages with Lentils

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 carrot, chopped

1 small red onion, chopped

1 cup lentils

1 can (14 1/2 ounces) chicken broth

1 cup water

1 bay leaf

1/2 teaspoon salt

Freshly ground pepper

1 tablespoon orange zest

4 apple-chicken sausages

3 green onions, thinly sliced

Heat oil over medium-high heat in a medium pot. Cook carrots and onion until just softened, about 5 minutes. Add lentils, broth, water, bay leaf, salt and pepper to taste. Heat to a simmer; cook, uncovered, until lentils are done, about 20 minutes. Remove bay leaf, stir in orange zest. Set lentils aside, keep warm.

Meanwhile, grill, broil or microwave sausages according to package instructions. Remove to a cutting board; slice. Place lentils on dinner plates; top with green onions. Arrange sliced sausage on top.

Yield: 4 servings

Nutrition information per serving: 370 calories, 14 grams fat (5 grams saturated, 35 percent fat calories), 28 grams protein, 33 grams carbohydrate, 45 milligrams cholesterol, 12 grams fiber, 680 milligrams sodium.

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