Once upon a time, I spent my senior year in college living in a townhouse with four other classmates. We shared the cooking chores, and mostly relied on easy foods like chicken and pasta. One night, though, I decided to be a little different. We had some lentils, and some hot dogs, and I decided to follow a recipe we had — maybe it was on the back of the lentil bag, I’m not sure — to make them into a casserole.

No surprise, it was an inedible disaster. I steered clear of trying to cook lentils for a long time afterwards. I’ve always liked eating them, but that early bad experience left me nervous about hands-on lentil preparation.

Recently, on the heels of some of my experiments with heirloom beans, I’ve been given lentils a try again. I can do a decent batch of basic lentils now, but that’s nothing to brag about. I want to do something more adventurous with lentils.

So, I’m on the lookout for some good ideas. Not really interested in lentil soups, more in lentils as a side dish or even a main course. If you have suggestions, let me know!