Lentils and Rice

This box of spanish rice has been my nemesis forever. I bought it at least a year ago when we were still living in Noe Valley. I have no idea why I bought it. Maybe for burritos or taco salads? Whatever it was for, it wasn’t used. We gave away almost all our food before the move and yet, it somehow found its way into the moving boxes, all the way across the country and back into our new kitchen just to stare me down for another 6 months. Resilient little bugger.

spanish rice

Yesterday it finally met it’s fate!

lentils and rice

Work is crazy for Michael right now as he prepares for a big meeting at the end of the month. Knowing he would be working late again last night I thought I’d make him something that would only get better with a little time in the fridge. Plus, he’d asked for a veggie stew this weekend and I didn’t make it for him so I used this to make it up to him.

I love the combo of rice and lentils and it was also the easiest recipe I’ve made in a long time. Saute veggies with spices, add lentils and rice, add liquid, done. I actually made and photographed a smoothie for a WalkJogRun article while this was cooking.

Feel free to add whatever rice you have on hand you absolutely do not need this specific box of rice but if you’re like me and have one hanging around, it might be a great time to finally use it.

Lentils and Rice (vegan, gluten-free)

1 tbsp olive oil

1/2 onion, diced

1 carrot, diced

2 celery stalks, diced

1 broccoli stalk, diced

1/2 jalapeño with seeds, diced

2 tbsp minced garlic

1 tsp salt

1/2 tbsp turmeric

1 tbsp cumin

1 tbsp chili powder

1 box spanish rice and half flavor packet

1 can diced tomatoes

1 1/2 cup green lentils

2 cups veggie broth

3 cups water

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Heat olive oil over high heat and saute vegetables until soft. Add garlic, salt, turmeric, cumin and chili powder, saute another minute.

veggies and spices

sauteed veggies

Add rice, flavor packet, diced tomatoes, lentils, veggie broth and water to the vegetable mixture.

rice and lentils

Cook over medium high heat for 20-25 minutes or until all liquid has evaporated.

lentils and rice

I ate my plain. Michael told me this morning that he made sandwiches out of his and topped the mixture with cheese. He also brought it to my attention that I made A LOT of it, which is very true. If you’d like to make a smaller portion, cut the lentils and rice in half. You’ll also want to reduce the water to 1 cup.

lentils and rice

lentils and rice

Enjoy and Exhale!

Lentils and Vegetables in Spicy Coconut Sauce

I had the leek post all ready to go for today then last night I made this dish and it was so delicious that I had to share it right away. I made it once before when we were still living in SF but with the move and a million other distractions it got lost in my mind’s recipe file. Thank goodness I found it again.

This dish also fulfills a request I got a few weeks ago from my sister’s friend Nisha, from work. She asked if I could do a quick tutorial on lentils and offer up a few dishes that includes them.

This is a great starter recipe for those that are just beginning to cook with lentils. It’s simple, quick and flavorful. Plus you can use whatever vegetables you’d like. I particularly love peas with coconut milk so that is my only non-negotiable in this dish, but, there really are no rules.

First up…

How To Cook Lentils:

The best thing about lentils is that they don’t need to be soaked like dry beans do. From start to finish they take about 20 minutes.

1 cup lentils, rinsed

2 cups water

1/4 teaspoon salt

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Rinse lentils and pick out any twigs or little pieces that don’t look quite right. Once the lentils are rinsed, place them in a pot.

Cover with water and add salt.

Bring lentils to a boil then reduce to medium heat for 20 minutes.

Cooking Lentils

Stir a few times during the cooking process. When the water has evaporated taste your lentils. They should be soft but not mushy. If they are still a little hard, add another 1/2 cup of water and let the lentils cook for a few more minutes. Lentils are very forgiving so don’t worry too much about them. Although overcooked lentils don’t keep their shape well, they still taste amazing.

Now that we’ve mastered lentil cooking let’s move on to the main event.

Lentils and Vegetables in Spicy Coconut Sauce (vegan, gluten-free)

1 tbsp garlic infused olive oil or regular olive oil

1 carrot, chopped

1 zucchini, diced

1 bunch bok choy, chopped

1/2 head of cauliflower, chopped

1 small head broccoli, cut into florets

8 asparagus spears, cut into fourths

8 brussel sprouts, cut into fourths

2 big handfuls of broccoli slaw, optional

1/2 cup frozen peas

1 can light coconut milk

1/2 cup water

2 tbsp garlic, minced

2 tbsp tandoori masala spice mix

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 teaspoon garlic salt

2 tbsp white miso paste

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Make lentils according to the above recipe.

Chop all your vegetables.

Heat oil in a large saute pan over medium high heat.

Add vegetables and saute for a 2-3 minutes making sure not to let the vegetables brown.

vegetables

Add coconut milk, water, garlic, tandoori masala, cayenne pepper and garlic salt. Stir to coat vegetables.

vegetables in coconut milk

Cover veggies with lid for 8 minutes or so until vegetables are soft but still have a little bite left.

Covered vegetables

Stir miso paste into vegetables.

vegetables in coconut sauce

Serve over a big pile of lentils.

Lentils and Vegetables in Spicy Coconut Sauce

I added a little hot sauce for extra spice or you can always increase the cayenne pepper if you want it spicier.

This meal will serve 3 big helpings.

Hope this helps answer your lentil questions. If you’d like more lentil recipes try my Lentil Sloppy Joes, Healthy Lentil Dinner Bowls or Red Lentil Chickpea Hummus.

And as always, if you have questions on how to cook specific foods or have recipes you’d like me to develop please let me know.

Back with the leek recipe tomorrow.

Enjoy and Exhale!

Red Lentil Chickpea Hummus

I’ve been in a hummus slump, if such a thing exists. I love Sabre hummus but for some reason it hasn’t been appealing to me lately. We’ve been buying it for the past year but recently it’s largely getting left in the fridge until it’s so old that I feel obligated to throw it out. Hating to waste food I’ve stopped buying it.

The other day while reading Health Magazine I saw a recipe for homemade red lentil hummus and it got the wheels turning. Before store-bought hummus, I used to make my own. Why did I ever stop?

Off I went to the kitchen. I had red lentils and some of the other ingredients from the magazine’s recipe but not all of them. I also had a tupperware filled with chickpeas that needed to be used up. I decided to mix the lentils and beans with whatever else I had on hand to see if it tasted any good.

Verdict? I licked the bowl clean.

The lentils add creaminess and bulk that you don’t get from chickpeas alone. I ate it for lunch with veggies and crackers and felt full through my afternoon workout and long wait at the Registry of Motor Vehicles, blech.

This recipe is so versatile. Feel free to add whatever herbs and spices you have lying around. Varieties with parsley, green onions, turmeric, curry powder, etc would be fabulous. It also only took about 20 minutes start to finish including the cooking of the lentils. I may start making big batch on Sundays for quick use throughout the week.

red lentils

Oh, and if you’re wondering how vegetarians get their protein wonder no more. Red lentils! 40 grams of protein for 1 cup. Just to put that in perspective, a cup of milk has 10 grams. These are some powerful little legumes. Enough nutrition, time for the recipe.

Red Lentil Chickpea Hummus (vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free)

1 cup red lentils, cooked

1/2 cup chickpeas, cooked

1 tablespoon cumin

1/4 teaspoon cayenne

juice of half a lemon

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon tahini

1/2 tablespoon minced garlic

1/2-1 tablespoon olive oil, start with 1/2 and if the hummus seems too thick add the other 1/2

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar mixed with 1 tablespoon water

handful of cilantro

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Rinse lentils and sort through for any twigs or rocks.

Bring lentils to a boil, then reduce to a simmer until tender. I didn’t measure how much water I added but I’d guess it was a 2:1 ratio and the water was completely evaporated by the time the lentils were done.

In a food process, add all ingredients.

red lentil chickpea hummus

Run processor until mixture is almost smooth. You will probably need to scrap down the sides once or twice. I like my hummus a little chunkier but keep processing until it’s at your desired consistency.

red lentil chickpea hummus

Taste to make sure seasoning is right. Adjust accordingly. I needed more salt and cayenne while making mine.

Serve with your favorite crackers and raw vegetables. This would also be great on a wrap or sandwich. hummusred lentil chickpea hummus

Enjoy!

Lessons, Lentil Loaves and My Newest Article

Sorry for the radio silence yesterday. I was planning to post something but then one of my yoga teachers and mentors Debbie came into town and I couldn’t pass up the chance to hang out with her and get in a wonderful yoga class. Sometimes you just have to step away from the computer and go live life!

When I got home from “living”, haha, I sat down to think about dinner and my mind wandering to lentil loaves. Over Thanksgiving we were planning to make a lentil loaf for the vegetarians at the table but upon surveying all the veg friendly food Linda had made and running out of time we decided against it. That, of course, doesn’t mean I haven’t been thinking about it ever since. Luckily I already had all the fixings for it so I decided to make it last night.

Before I get into the recipe let me preface the lessons I learned last night:

#1: This is a time-consuming recipe. It doesn’t look like it should be and I was feeling rather dicombobulated last night, so it might just be me, but it took over an hour and a half start to finish. This might be because I was side tracked twice as I managed to spill a whole cup of oats and break a serving dish in the process. Both of which required a pause to sweep the floor. Visual proof of the chaos in my kitchen.

#2: We’ve now determined that Michael’s gluten intolerance also includes Gluten Free Oats. This is the second time I’ve made something with GF oats and both times he’s gotten sick. They are certified GF and I’ve tried two different brands now that doesn’t matter. So last night I made a lentil loaf and poisoned my boyfriend!

#3: Despite all of this, it’s absolutely delicious and worth the effort. Next time I’ll just sub out the oats.

Lentil Loaf (vegan, gluten-free)

Adapted from OhSheGlows

For the loaf:

1 cup lentils

3.5 cups water

1/4 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup cashews, roasted and chopped into small pieces

1/4 cup sunflower seeds

1/2 cup almond meal

3 tablespoons ground flaxseed meal and 1/2 cup water

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/2 onion

3 stalks celery, diced

1 carrot, shredded

2 tablespoons minced garlic

3/4 cup gluten-free brown rice bread crumbs (sub any breadcrumbs you’d like)

1/2 tablespoon oregano

salt to taste

1 teaspoon red chili flakes

1/4 cup BBQ sauce

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Preheat oven to 350.

Wash and rinse lentils. Place in a pot and cover with water. Add salt and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 25 minutes or until lentils are soft. The original recipe mentioned over cooking the lentils a little so they hold together better which worked well for me.

Place flaxseed meal in a bowl with water and set aside to gel. For those of you that aren’t familar with flaxseed it’s a great egg replacement. Add water and it gels up. Here’s the brand I used and what it looks like after 10 minutes in the water.

As lentils are cooking, Chop nuts into small pieces. Dump into a big bowl along with the sunflower seeds.

While lentils are doing their thing, chop onion and celery. Shred carrot.

Heat olive oil and saute veggies until soft. Add garlic for the last minute or two so it doesn’t burn.

When veggies are done, add to the bowl with the nuts and seeds. Also add almond meal, breadcrumbs, flaxseed meal, oregano and red chili flakes.

Once lentils are done, mash a little with a fork and add to the mixture. Mix everything together and salt to taste.

Grease a loaf pan and then cover in wax paper. Originally I used wax paper but you can skip and just grease your pan if you prefer.

Press mixture into a loaf pan. Brush BBQ sauce onto the lentil loaf.

Bake for 50 minutes or until brown and crispy on the sides.

Even writing this all out makes it seem cumbersome but the end product is almost stuffing-like and full of flavor. It’s hearty enough for non-meat eaters as well. I served with a kale, pomegranate salad with miso dressing.

Lastly, on the topic of loss. My latest article on Yoga, Loss and the Holiday Spirit is now up on MindBodyGreen.

Enjoy!

Lentil Sloppy Joes

Thank heavens some thing worked! After my two failures yesterday I couldn’t take another. Just as the election results started trickling in, and my stress level was beginning to peak, I started thinking about dinner.

I bookmarked a sloppy joe recipe months ago but when I went back to it last night I realized it called for a slow cooker, which I do not own. No need to worry, there are about 1000 vegan sloppy joe recipes out there. The following is a mish-mash of a bunch of different versions. The results were tasty, even to my anxious belly.

Lentil Sloppy Joes (vegan, gluten-free)

1 cup lentils

2 cups water

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/2 an onion, diced

1 bell pepper, diced, I used an orange one but any color will work

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1 tablespoon chili powder

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

1 28 oz can of diced tomatoes

3 tablespoons tomato paste

2 tablespoon brown sugar

1 cup water

1 tablespoon cornstarch

1 teaspoon of salt, maybe a little more

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Rinse your lentils and pick out any twigs or hard pieces. Place lentils in a pot with water. Bring to a boil then reduce to medium heat for 20 minutes or until lentils are soft but not mushy. Don’t overcook your lentils as they’ll be stewing with the rest of the mixture after they’ve been cooked.

While lentils are cooking, finely dice onion and bell pepper. Saute onion and pepper in olive oil for 5 minutes. Add garlic, chili powder and paprika, cook for 2 minutes more.

Drain lentils and add to the onion mixture along with canned tomatoes (with their juices), tomato paste and brown sugar. Pour in water and let the mixture cook over medium heat for 20 minutes.

Add cornstarch and salt then cook for additional 10 minutes or until almost all the liquid has cooked off. I left a little of the liquid so the sloppy joes were more…sloppy.

Michael had his on gluten-free bread.

I ate mine more as a stew with bread and Earth Balance on the side. This would have been great with a salad but I wasn’t thinking straight when we finally sat down for dinner after 10pm.

Enjoy!