Rich, wholesome, and smoky, these lentils are the perfect base for your weeknight dinners. Try them with a swirl of greek yogurt, add them to a wrap with leafy greens, use them in a grain bowl topped with a runny fried egg, or put them on toast with goat cheese.
Place lentils in a large pot and cover with water. Add 1 tbsp olive oil, the bay leaves, and a pinch of salt. Bring to a simmer and cook on medium low for about 30 minutes, or until lentils are tender but not mushy. Remove from heat and set aside, without draining.
In a medium skillet over medium high heat, add remaining 2 tbsp of olive oil and heat until runny. Add onion and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, for 5-7 minutes, or until onion is translucent and beginning to brown.
Add the tomato paste, the smoked paprika, and the chicken or vegetable stock, and cook, stirring frequently until the liquid has evaporated.
Add the cooked lentils to the skillet, along with any remaining cooking liquid. (If there's no cooking liquid remaining, don' worry--just add an additional 1/2 cup or so of stock!) Cook at a steady simmer for 25-30 more minutes, stirring occasionally and adding more salt/paprika to taste.