Now, that we are working from home more often, I am always looking for quick and easy lunch ideas.  I don’t want to rely on making sandwiches, salads or just soup;  a little variety would be nice.  Lentils are a great go-to legume when your body wants something healthy, warm and filling.  As well they make a great addition to a vegetarian meal.

I recently wrote about making your pantry healthy during 2012, one item that can always be found in ours is lentils.  Lentils are perfect in recipes from salads to egg dishes and are a good source of protein.  If you aren’t familiar with lentils, you should be.  Lentils are legumes that tend to have a nutty flavor.  They grow in pods that have two to three seeds in them.  The seeds are sold whole or split and hulled, and they do not need to pre-soak before cooking, like a lot of legumes do need to do.  Lentils come in an assortment of colors, from black to red.  Green and brown lentils are the most common in the US, they hold their shape when cooked, and go really well in soups.  Then there are French green lentils, which are small, and hold their shape when cooked.  They have a slight peppery taste and are great in salads.  Orange and red lentils break down when cooked and are a bit softer.  They are often used in Middle Eastern dishes.  For this recipe, I used orange lentils, which, I think are great in curry based dishes.

This recipe is really simple to make, and you can have lunch (or dinner) on the table in 35 minutes.  I cook the lentils, until they are slightly soft, as I like them to hold their shape a bit.  If you like yours a bit softer, cook for an additional 10 minutes.  The seasoning I use is a madras curry powder, which is a bit spicy.  If you don’t like a lot of heat, use a more mild curry powder.  Right before serving I stir in a generous amount of spinach, which not only adds gorgeous color but also added fiber, making this a really healthy go-to meal.  If you would like to add some protein, a poached egg is a wonderful addition.

Have you tried lentils?  If so, which one is your favorite?  Do you have a favorite lentil recipe? 

We have a couple fun give aways and you have until January 31, 2012, to play along.

 

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Recipe:  Curried Lentils and Spinach

Ingredients:

  • 1 small shallot, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 cup red lentils
  • 2 teaspoon curry powder
  • 3 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 14 oz can diced tomatoes
  • kosher salt to taste
  • 2 cups spinach
  • 1/4 cup sour cream

How To:

  1. In a dutch oven, heat the oil over medium heat.
  2. Add the shallot, stir, and cook for 3 minutes.
  3. Turn down the heat to low, add the garlic, 1 teaspoon curry powder and lentils.
  4. Stir. Cook for 1 minute.
  5. Add 1/4 cup tomatoes; freeze the reminder of the tomatoes in a freeze-able container, for later use. Add the stock, and stir.
  6. Cover with a lid, that is slightly tilted, and cook for 25 minutes.
  7. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking.
  8. You may have to add a little more stock.
  9. While the lentils are cooking, mix the sour cream with the remainder 1 teaspoon of curry powder. Before serving, stir the spinach into the lentils, stir until wilted; about 1 minutes.
  10. Season with salt. S
  11. erve with the sour cream.
  12. Eat.

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