Posts Tagged 'red lentils'

Masala Red Lentils with Chard

Our house is filled with Christmas cookies right now.  I could banish them and insist on eating only healthy stuff, but honestly, it’s a couple weeks of my life and I LOVE this time of year and all the sugary goodness that comes with it.

Ellie has gotten it in her head that if she points at something sweet and nods vigorously, we’ll give it to her.  I’m not sure where she got this idea.

Oh wait, this might have something to do with it.


This is not a normal occurrence, really.  She usually eats bananas and sweet potatoes and plain yogurt and pears.

I ended my week of laziness with a slooow 22 mile bike ride yesterday.  I was loving life and wondering why I stopped cycling…and then around mile 7 my rear end reminded me that it was ridiculous to think I could just go out and breeze through a ride like this. OW. My plan for 70.3 training is to just do what I want as long as I’m running, swimming, and cycling at least twice a week.  Today I ran a fairly uncomfortable 4.4 miles after work.  Weird that beer and cookies and being lazy for a week doesn’t make you feel light on your feet.

But I listened to a podcast and someone decorated a tree along the path so it wasn’t a completely miserable experience.

This is totally NOT one of those back on track healthy recipes. It’s pretty rich, but the flavor is complex and warm and I made a giant batch of it just so I can eat it for lunch all week.  This is a scaled up recipe from the original and I used chard instead of spinach.  I made saffron rice to serve alongside it and it was a satisfying, delicious meal.


(slightly adapted from Naturally Ella)

Red Lentil and Carrot Soup

Mike just turned 31, and the celebration lasted days.  Pizza one day, cake another, and on day 3, the Vitamix arrived.

Ellie was almost as excited about it as he was.

If I’d had this when I made this soup, I definitely would have pureed it, but since I was feeling exceptionally lazy (and was still without this amazing blender), I just left it chunky.  I think it would be great either way.  It’s incredibly simple with just a few ingredients, and with a thick piece of crusty bread and a simple salad, dinner is done!


(adapted from BBC Good Food)

Pinto and Red Lentil Loaf

It’s been over 6 months since I stopped eating meat and I can pretty much say I haven’t had a single craving for anything meaty except meat loaf. (It helps that Trader Joe’s Soy Chorizo is amazing, I kind of got over bacon, and I’ve always liked veggie burgers and soy dogs more than the real thing.)

I was perusing tastespotting looking for something to do with the mammoth quantity of pinto beans we still have (I swear they’re multiplying), when I found this recipe for not-meat loaf. It looked good, but I changed some things up a bit, namely replacing the bread crumbs with oat bran and wheat germ because I had them on hand and they’re a little healthier, and skipping the TVP. I loved all the vegetables, and the cheddar cheese added richness (even if it’s not totally healthy).

It doesn’t have a completely firm texture…the inside was a little soft and reminiscent of refried beans, but it didn’t bother me because I could still slice it, and the flavor was amazing (especially with ketchup on top). If you want your loaf to be firm, you might try doubling the oat bran and wheat germ, or try using 1 cup of bread crumbs.

(adapted from Chef In You)

3/4 cup red lentils
2 cups water
1 tbsp olive oil
1 stalk celery, chopped (including the greens)
1 carrot, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
2 tbsp ketchup
1 15-oz can pinto beans (or 1 1/2 cups cooked, rinsed and drained pinto beans)
1 egg
2 tbsp oat bran
2 tbsp wheat germ
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
salt to taste

Preheat the oven to 375 F, and grease a loaf pan.
Combine the lentils and water in a medium saucepan and boil (skimming off the foam) until they have completely disintegrated and the mixture is thick and creamy (about 30 minutes).
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium and add the chopped vegetables. Cook, stirring, until tender, about 6 minutes. Add about 1/2 tsp salt, then stir in the ketchup.
Put the vegetable mixture, pinto beans, and lentils in a food processor and process until smooth. Transfer to a bowl, and mix in the egg, followed by the oat bran, wheat germ, and cheese.
Smooth this into the greased loaf pan, then bake for about an hour, or until firm. Remove from the oven, let stand for about 10 minutes, then slice to serve.

Red Lentils with Chard

I’ve made some pretty crucial discoveries over the past few months:
1. I am capable of living without a cell phone, microwave, and cable, all at the same time.
2. Memoirs are my literary addiction. I can’t stop reading them.
3. Life is a whole lot easier when you’re just living out of a backpack and your biggest concern is how many more nights you want to spend in a $5 beach bungalow in Southeast Asia.
4. Chard isn’t gross. Actually, it’s pretty good.

I think number 4 on that list is particularly significant. I’ve always been proud of the fact that I’m a really un-picky eater. Except for meat, there’s not much I won’t eat, and I am especially fond of vegetables. Except, right up until last week, Swiss Chard. I don’t know why I thought I hated it, but I know my mom made it a few times when I was little and I must have had a bad experience, because I stayed away from it for years. But at the farmer’s market the other day, it just looked so pretty and healthy, I decided to give it another chance. I figured mixing it in with red lentils and lots of spices would make it almost undetectable, and from there I could work my way up to eating it in a more natural state. Sure enough, this did the trick, and a few days later I put a bunch of it in a chard-centric version of this soup.

I love the Indian method of cooking spices in hot oil to really develop their flavor, then stirring them into the dish just before serving it. Because lentils cook so quickly, this is a pretty fast thing to throw together, and when served over rice, you have a complete protein plus vegetables all in one bowl. I love adding yogurt as a garnish because the creaminess and tang compliment the dish so well, but if you’re vegan you can skip it.

1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 yellow onion, thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 serrano chiles, thinly sliced
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 1/2 cups red lentils
4 cups water
1 tsp salt
1 can (or about 1 1/2 cups) cooked garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
3 big handfuls chard, cut into ribbons
1 tbsp vegetable oil
2 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp ground coriander

Heat 1 tbsp vegetable oil in a Dutch oven over medium high heat. Add the onions and cook for about 5 minutes. Stir in the turmeric, garlic, and serranos and cook for another 2 minutes.

Add the lentils, water, and salt, lower heat, and simmer, covered (stirring a few times) for about 25 minutes, or until lentils have mostly disintegrated. Stir in the garbanzos and chard and cook until the greens are soft. Taste and add salt if necessary.

Heat 1 tbsp oil in a small saucepan. When hot, add the cumin, mustard, and coriander and cover, shaking the pan for about 30 seconds (the seeds will splatter and pop). Stir into the lentil mixture.

Serve with plain yogurt, if desired.

Armenian Red Lentil Patties

I’m kind of embarrassed to admit, I didn’t know Armenia even existed until a couple years ago, and I didn’t know how great their food was until a couple days ago, when an Armenian cookbook caught my eye at the library. (And I kind of think the only reason it caught my eye was because it’s a really pretty purple with nice writing on the spine). I know if I lived in Fresno or LA I would probably be very familiar with it, but I’m in a town that is desperately low on ethnic cuisine and diversity.

Because red lentils are my very favorite lentil (do you have a favorite lentil? I recommend red!) the recipe for red lentil patties was an obvious pick. Plus the fact that it’s a traditional recipe for Lent (which I don’t observe but know is currently occurring) just made it seem like the perfect thing to make. With bulgur and red lentils making a complete protein, it’s a great choice for vegetarians, not to mention the fact that it’s DELICIOUS. Basically, you just cook up some lentils with cumin, some onions with cayenne, then combine them together with fine bulgur and get a paste. You let that cool, then shape it into patties and sprinkle with onions and cilantro, and serve it with flatbread. Not fancy, but really, really good. The leftovers are great straight from the fridge too, but I don’t recommend taking them to work because the onion-breath factor is pretty high.

(from Simply Armenian by Brbara Ghazarian)

1 cup red lentils, rinsed
3 cups water
1/2 cup fine grain bulgur (#1)
2 tsp ground cumin
1 medium onion, diced (I used a white onion)
1/2 tsp cayenne
1 tbsp olive oil
a few tbsp chopped fresh parsley or cilantro

Put the lentils and water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, then simmer with the lid on until the lentils are fully cooked (15-20 minutes). Add the bulgur, salt, and cumin and stir well. The mixture should be pretty thick – if there is still some water, keep cooking until the mixture thickens.
Heat the olive oil in a skillet and most of the chopped onion, reserving about 1/4 cup to sprinkle on the finished patties. Stir in the cayenne
Cook, stirring, until the onion is translucent (8-10 minutes), then add to the lentil mixture.
Transfer to a bowl to cool completely, stirring occasionally.
With damp hands, shape 1/3 cup at a time into egg-shaped patties. Sprinkle with reserved raw onion and parsley or cilantro to serve.

Spinach Dhal

It’s definitely the time of year when people are looking for healthy recipes! I figured it was the perfect time to peruse my Fresh Indian cookbook, because unlike Indian food from restaurants, these dishes aren’t completely loaded down with ghee. (I have nothing against ghee, but my skinny jeans fit better when I’m not stuffing myself with it.)

If you think you don’t like lentils or spinach, this recipe just might change your mind. The flavors are classically Indian – coriander, mustard seed, and cumin – and the texture is rich and creamy. I served it with pita just because I had some, but obviously naan would be more authentic. I’m still tweaking my naan recipe, though, so I don’t have one to share with you just yet.

(adapted from Fresh Indian by Sunil Vijayakar)

2 cups red lentils, rinsed and drained
5 cups water
1/4 tsp turmeric
2 tsp freshly grated ginger
1 medium bunch spinach, washed well and roughly chopped (leaves only)
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon olive oil
5 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 tsp cumin seeds
2 tsp mustard seeds
1 tbsp ground cumin
1 1/2 tsp ground coriander
1 fresh jalapeno, thinly sliced (for garnish)

Put the lentils, water, turmeric, and ginger in a dutch oven or large pot. Bring to a boil and skim off any foam that collects on the surface. Turn the heat down so the mixture is simmering, and let cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally and adding more water in 1/4 cup increments if it begins to look dry. If they are particularly soupy, turn the heat up slighly so some of the water evaporates.

Add the spinach, cilantro, and a few pinches of salt, cover, and simmer for about 5 minutes.
Taste and add more salt if necessary.

Heat the oil in a small frying pan over medium high for about 30 seconds. Add the garlic, cumin, mustard seeds, ground cumin, and ground coriander. Stir fry for about 2 minutes, then pour into the lentils and stir well.

Serve immediately, with slices of fresh jalapeno (if desired)


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