Tag Archives: rice

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…..

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Tex-Mex Rice and Beans

19 Jan
It feels like it’s vegetarian week here on the blog, but it’s not on purpose.  Not, not on purpose either though I guess.  We probably eat meat free meals at least once a week – it’s generally cheaper, sometimes healthier, and meat free meals just tend to be what I would throw together if I don’t have a protein in mind for the meal.  So without further ado, another meat-free meal…
I normally wouldn’t post a recipe which I followed almost exactly and for which my pictures did not turn out well, but this one was so good, that I really wanted to share it!   I found it in Food Network Magazine, and it is an absolutely simple but delicious meal. Here’s the original picture from Food Network, which puts mine to shame:
Photo from Food Network Mag
This meal is vegetarian, but you won’t even miss the meat (even Matt will vouch for this – he is all about meat, but he loved this!).  With a few small changes that I’ve noted below, this can be made even healthier (like substituting brown rice for white and Greek yogurt for sour cream).  We also added corn into the mix for an added serving of veggies.
Tex-Mex Rice and Beans originally from Food Network Mag
Yield: 4 servings, Time: 30 min.
  • 1 cup white rice (I used brown)
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup fresh salsa, plus more for topping (the kind in the refrigerated section)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 14 ounce cans black-eyed peas, undrained
  • 14 ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 3 cups baby spinach
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 avocado, halved, pitted and sliced
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • Greek yogurt, for serving (this is the BEST substitute for sour cream!)

Cook the rice according to the package directions.

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the salsa and cumin and cook, stirring, until the salsa is soft, about 5 minutes. Add the black-eyed peas (plus the liquid from the can) and black beans and 1/4 cup water. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the beans are creamy and tender, about 12 minutes.

Fluff the rice with a fork and divide among bowls. Add the spinach and cilantro to the black-eyed pea mixture and stir until wilted, about 1 minute; spoon evenly over the rice. Top each serving with a few avocado slices, some cheese and more salsa. Serve with Greek yogurt, if desired.