Tag Archives: lentil

Mediterranean Lentils

Today, I was reading a column in the NY Times about the challenges of going vegan. While, I’m not vegan, as a vegetarian, I have to disagree with a lot of the so-called challenges mentioned in the article. There is absolutely no need to shop at vegan-only stores or buy expensive fake meat. All my food options are available at farmer’s markets and regular grocery stores, and I spend a whopping $100 a month for this. My food philosophy is the simpler, the better, and as a result, I shop mostly on the “edges” of my grocery store. The vegan parts of my diet focuses on fruits and veggies (fresh, frozen, canned and dried), nuts, rice, and beans. In case you haven’t walked down the bean aisle lately, dried beans are incredibly cheap (usually less than $2 per pound), make a ton (I can get 16 servings out of a bag) and are naturally high in fiber and protein. A serious downside of cooking with dried beans, is, well, cooking them. Most of them take an hour or more to cook, and not everybody has the time to deal with that.

That’s where my love for lentils really began, since a pot of lentils cooks up in only 20 minutes or so. Also, by serving, they are higher in protein than most other beans. With their smaller size, they don’t suffer from that bean-y texture that a lot of people dislike. Finally, they do great with flavors from a large variety of cultures. This version I think of as my Mediterranean recipe. I serve it along side Greek salads, throw it into marinara to add a protein punch to my spaghetti sauce, and it’s perfectly welcoming to all kinds of root vegetables: potatoes, carrots, celery, fennel, beets, parsnips and turnips. If you want to make it into soup, add 2 more cups of vegetable broth.

Mediterranean Lentils

  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1/2 onion, finely diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 in ginger, minced
  • 1 cup lentils
  • 2 cups vegetable broth

Heat vegetable oil in a medium sauce pan over medium high heat. Add onion, garlic and ginger and cook until fragrant and soft, about 5 minutes. Add lentils and cook for an additional minute or two, until they are shiny. Add vegetable broth, bring to a simmer, then cook covered until lentils are tender, about 20 minutes. If the cooking liquid gets too low, add more vegetable broth or water. Serves 4.

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Curried Dal with Pickled Radishes

I got some gorgeous Easter egg radishes in my last CSA box and wanted to find a new way to deal with them besides my usual method of throwing them on a salad. With some inspiration from my crush, Mark Bittman, I came up with this dish. It would be great over rice or with some naan or pita on the side.

Curried Dal with Pickled Radishes

for the dal:

  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil or butter
  • 1 medium onion, finely diced
  • 2 tsp curry powder
  • salt to taste
  • 1 cup red lentils
  • 3 cups water

for the radishes:

  • 1 bunch radishes, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup white vinegar
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp ginger powder
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Combine radish ingredients, and allow to refrigerate at least overnight.

Heat oil in a pot over medium heat, and add onion. Cook until soft, ~5 minutes. Add curry powder, stir to coat the onions, and cook for another 2 minutes, or until fragrant. Add lentils, stir to coat with curry and oil, and cook for another 2 minutes. Add water, bring to a boil, then allow to simmer until lentils are tender and contents are thick, ~20 minutes.

Serve topped with cold radishes. Serves 4.

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