Tomato Herb Rice & Lentils


January 11, 2022

Originating in southern Italy, where San Marzano and other plum tomatoes reign supreme, passata is a thick, intensely tomatoey puree that’s perfect for sauces, pizza, stews, and so on. From the verb passareto go through—fresh tomatoes get heated just until their juices are released and their flesh soft, then are passed through a mill to remove skins and seeds. Long-season heirloom tomatoes sweetened from the crescendo of the summer sun and subsequent cooler nights of late summer, then harvested at their respective peak ripeness, are ideal for passata production. It’s a pantry staple both in Italian homes and here at Turtle Rock, so we dedicated several days of prime real estate in the kitchen to crafting this must-have during the summer, utilizing a profusion of our organic, indeterminate tomatoes plus lemon juice. Simple, handy, and how tomatoes are meant to taste.

Tomato Herb Rice & Lentils      

This is one of our favorite ways to use Turtle Rock’s passata during the cooler season. Adapted from The Silver Spoon—essentially the Joy of Cooking for Italian home kitchens—it’s a modest but hearty dish that can easily be modified as you see fit. We suggest serving it on a brisk night alongside roasted vegetables, stewed meats, or with olives and a firm sliced cheese.

Yield: Serves 6


2/3 cup French green lentils, rinsed
2 cups Turtle Rock Passata
4 cups water
1 3/4 cups long-grain white rice, rinsed
2 teaspoons mixed dried herbs or spices to your liking (oregano, parsley, thyme, rosemary, even a curry blend!)
3 tablespoons butter or olive oil
Salt & pepper, to taste

Plum-tomato passata and mise en place

  Note that the amount of water has been increased 


1) Put the lentils in a medium saucepan and add the passata and 2 cups water to cover. Bring to a boil, then drop to a simmer, cover, and cook for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Vibrant-red plum tomato passata sauteing

2) Drain lentils, reserving the cooking liquid.

Straining tomato herb liquid from lentils

3) Put the rice into the same pan and add the reserved cooking liquid, 2 cups water, herbs/spices, butter/oil, and a pinch salt. Bring to a boil, then drop to a simmer and cook for 15-20 minutes, covered, until the rice is tender and all the liquid has been absorbed.

White rice, dried herbs, and Turtle Rock passata cooking
Grains of cooked basmati rice

4) Stir in the lentils, season to taste, and transfer to a serving dish.

Tomato Herb Rice & Lentils on butcher paper with dried flowers

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