Tag Archives: lentils

Not-your-Average Lentils and Rice

13 May

Yet again I find myself posting a vegetarian recipe that I swear will really satisfy even the most carnivorous meat lovers in your house, just like the Food Network Tex Mex Rice and Beans recipe I posted or this recipe for Spiced and Roasted Eggplant with Quinoa Salad.  Lentils are hearty, filling and healthy, so you don’t have to feel guilty about this dinner. I also tried to add more veggies to this recipe (like zucchini and bell pepper) to really make it a complete meal.   I calculated the approximate fat, calories protein and fiber in this recipe and I was pleasantly surprised.  This recipe has (approximately) 280 calories, 5 grams of fat, 14 grams of protein, and 6.5 grams of fiber per serving.  Compared to most other dinners I eat this is probably ranking pretty high for health!  Let’s just say I did not calculate the nutrition facts for my Mac and Cheese recipe…

One of the best parts about this recipe, besides the fact that it’s healthy, is how satisfying it is.  I think that’s for two reasons – it has a lot of flavor and is just one of those comforting, hearty, warm and stomach-coating dishes (but without the guilt! yay!).  The flavor is a unique combination of warm and earthy turmeric and curry powder, spicy cayenne pepper (if you want), fresh ginger and garlic and scallions, sweet coconut and fresh mint (which really adds a nice refreshing element).  All together, these ingredients really help jazz up the plain lentils.  Definitely don’t skimp on the Greek yogurt for serving – it’s like a healthier and more tasty replacement for sour cream – and the coolness really helps cut through the rich, spicy stew.  Oh, and don’t skimp on the salt either (adjust according to your taste, and depending on the saltiness of your chicken broth, but if the dish is under-seasoned, all the flavors will be a little more dull, so make sure to season it enough).  So without further ado…

Not-your-Average Lentils and Rice

Time: 20 min. active, 30 min. inactive, Yield: 6 servings

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 small zucchini, chopped
  • 1 bunch green onions, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup canned crushed or diced tomatoes + juice
  • 1.5 cups dried lentils (12 oz), rinsed and sorted
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper, optional
  • 6 tablespoons shredded coconut
  • 2 tablespoons fresh mint, chopped
  • 3 cups cooked rice (brown or white)
  • 2 cups plain Greek yogurt, for serving

Add oil to a large saucepan or soup pot and heat over medium heat.  Add green pepper, zucchini, green onions, ginger, garlic and red pepper flakes and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.

Stir in broth, tomatoes, lentils, turmeric, curry powder and salt.  Heat to boiling then reduce to a simmer.  Cover and cook ~30 minutes until lentils are tender (taking care not to let too much liquid evaporate – if it does, add more stock or tomato juice).  Make sure lentils are cooked through – “al dente” does not apply to lentils ;-)

Meanwhile, you should be cooking the rice… in a rice cooker if you have one – they are life changing :)  Probably because I’ve had multiple instances of burning rice to a pan on the stove (which is embarrassing).

Once tender, right before serving, stir in coconut and mint.  Serve over rice and top with a dollop of yogurt.  Proceed to watch vegetarian-food-haters convert…..