Spinach, Red Lentil, and Green Bean Curry

If you’re in the market for a warm vegetable stew with luscious spices which will reheat well, then I’ve got a dish for you. This is a very mild curry (which you could heat up with some cayanne and/or crushed red pepper if that’s your preference) and it has notes of cinnamon from the garam masala. If that’s not your thing, you could use your favorite pre-made curry spice mixture rather than what’s listed here. This dish can easily stand on its own as a vegetarian main, or be served alongside some lovely spiced yogurt chicken (as Neil and I had it).

Ingredients:

 

1 cup red lentils

1/4 cup tomato puree

1/4 cup Greek yogurt

1 teaspoon garam masala

1/2 teaspoon ground dried turmeric

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon ancho chile powder

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 onion, chopped

1 cup fresh green beans, cut into 1-inch lengths

1 cup mushrooms, sliced thickly

2 cloves garlic, chopped

1 (1 inch) piece fresh ginger root, grated

4 cups loosely packed fresh spinach, coarsely chopped

2 tomatoes, chopped

4 sprigs fresh cilantro, chopped

1 (15.5 ounce) can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained

 

Directions:

 

  • Rinse the lentils well and place them in a saucepan with enough water to cover. Bring to a boil
  • Reduce the heat to low, cover the pot, and simmer for 20 minutes
  • Drain and set aside
  • In a bowl, stir together the tomato puree and yogurt. Season with garam masala, turmeric, cumin, and chile powder
  • Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat
  • Add the onion, green beans and mushrooms; cooking until the onion begins to brown
  • Add in the garlic and ginger and stir for a minute- until you really begin to smell them
  • Stir in the spinach; cook until it’s dark green and wilted
  • Add the yogurt mixture and stir until incorporated
  • Mix in the tomatoes and cilantro
  • Stir the lentils and garbanzo beans into mixture until well combined and heated through, about 5 minutes
Curry

The inspiration for this dish came from this recipe.

Sweet coconut lentils

This recipe has a wonderful (and short) list of ingredients that just drew me in.  I had to try it, although I couldn’t imagine just how it would taste.  I mean- sweet dates, creamy lentils, and savory onion…?  Really?  But I did try it, and it was good.  It was a strange thing for me to eat a sweet dish as a side, but it was lovely nonetheless.

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon coconut oil

1 yellow onion, chopped

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon turmeric

1 pound lentils

1 cup pitted dates, chopped

2 teaspoons tamari

1/2 cup shredded, unsweetened coconut

Directions:

  • In a large frying pan, heat the oil over a medium heat
  • Add the onion and cook until it’s soft and beginning to brown
  • Stir in the ginger and turmeric and cook for a minute
  • Add 6 cups of water, lentils and dates and bring to a boil
  • Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for half an hour
  • Preheat the oven to 350°F
  • When the lentils have simmered, stir in the tamari and transfer the mixture to a baking dish
  • Cover and bake for 30 minutes
  • Uncover, top the baked mixture with coconut and bake again, uncovered, until the coconut is golden, about 15 minutes longer

Since I was anticipating the sweetness of this side dish, I prepared it with savory grilled lamb chops that I had marinated in honey, tamari, garlic and vinegar.  This made for a well-balanced plate 😉

The inspiration for this dish came from Whole Foods Market.  They put out some great recipes!

J

Chicken cauliflower curry

Alas, this dish has no cute story to go with it.  Just a fantastic flavor profile, and lots of textures.  It’ll make your home smell wonderful and you’ll be wanting to sample straight from the pan all the while it cooks.  And that’s not a bad idea either.  This way you can track the progress of the flavor meld of the ingredients.  It’s great to witness that happening.

I call for the chicken to be added back in nearer to the end of the cooking time because if it sits in the pan throughout then it will get tough and chewy.  That would be a horrible thing to do to a perfectly good chicken breast 😉

Ingredients:

1 boneless, skinless chicken breast

1 Tbsp olive oil

1 medium onion, diced

5 small red potatoes, cubed, with the skins on

½ head of cauliflower, trimmed into bite-sized pieces

3-4 Tbsp hot curry paste

1 15-oz. can diced tomatoes

1 cup water

1 cup cooked lentils

Directions:

  • Sauté the chicken breast, then remove it from the pan and set aside
  • Heat the olive oil and sauté the onion for 3-4 minutes
  • Add the potatoes and cauliflower and sauté for another 5 minutes
  • Stir in the curry paste and cook for a minute
  • Add tomatoes and water and simmer for half an hour
  • Cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces and add that and the cooked lentils to the mixture and let simmer for 20 minutes, uncovered
  • Season with salt and pepper to your taste.  Serve in large bowls.  Naan makes a great accompaniment

J

Moroccan Eggplant with Garbanzo Beans

This is a vegetarian dish where there is so much going on flavor-wise, you never even realize that there’s no meat.  Sweet chunks of red bell pepper meet with tart pieces of eggplant and meld together in the spices for a fantastic stew that is rich in vitamin c and fiber.  The chewy little raisins reconstitute in the sauce and add yet another level of texture.

Ingredients:

1 large onion, cut in half and sliced thinly

5 medium cloves garlic, minced

1 medium red bell pepper, cut into 1-inch chunks

1 medium eggplant, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes

pinch of red pepper flakes

2 tsp turmeric

1/2 tsp garam masala

1 15 oz. can garbanzo beans, rinsed & drained

2 cups cooked lentils

1/2 cup tomato sauce

1-1/4 cups + 1 TBS chicken or vegetable broth

1/2 cup raisins (I used a variety of golden, Thompson & red flame)

1 TBS chopped fresh cilantro

salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  • Heat 1 TBS of broth in a large skillet and sauté the onion over medium heat for 5 minutes, stirring frequently
  • Add garlic, red bell pepper, eggplant, garam masala, and turmeric

  • Stir to mix it up, and add remaining broth and tomato sauce
  • Stir again, cover, and cook over a medium-low heat for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally
  • Add garbanzo beans, lentils, red chili flakes, and raisins and simmer for another 5 minutes
  • Season with salt and pepper. Serve topped with chopped cilantro

This recipe was inspired by a post on World’s Healthiest Foods.

J

Mediterranean Lentil Salad

When I got this recipe in my inbox last week I decided immediately that I had to try it.  Packed with vitamins K and C, sweetened by roasted red peppers and balsamic vinegar, popping! with fresh garlic and basil, and bittered by arugula, this dish has it all.

lentils about to marinate

I decided to let this salad be the star of our dinner so I served it with simple grilled pork chops.  What a great choice.  The pork was perfectly mild in comparison, and only spiced with a bit of salt and pepper and an herb concoction ( milk thistle, Italian herbs, garlic, pepper, cayenne & hot peppers) from a local herbalist.

Ingredients:

3/4 cup dried green lentils

1 cup water

1 cup chicken or vegetable broth

3 oz roasted red peppers, chopped

2 TBS finely minced onion

2 medium cloves garlic, pressed

1/2 cup chopped fresh basil

3 TBS balsamic vinegar

1 TBS fresh lemon juice

2 TBS extra virgin olive oil, divided

salt and black pepper to taste

1 bunch arugula

baby aruluga

Directions:

  • Wash lentils, remove any foreign matter, and drain.  This step is serious business as there can be chunks of rock in with them and you can crack a tooth
  • Combine lentils, water and broth in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and cook at low temperature for about 20 minutes, or until lentils are cooked but still firm
  • Mince onion and press garlic and set aside
  • Once the lentils are cooked, drain the excess water, and lightly rinse under cold water. Drain again
  • Place the lentils in a bowl and add peppers, onion, garlic, basil, vinegar, and 1 TBS olive oil
  • Season with salt and pepper to taste. Marinate for at least 1 hour before serving.  This does even better with an overnight in the fridge if you have that kind of time
  • Toss the arugula with the remaining tablespoon of olive oil, the juice of a lemon, salt and pepper. Serve on a plate topped with the lentils

mediterranean lentil salad with grilled pork chop

J

Recipe adapted from World’s Healthiest Foods