Lentils are such a satisfying meal. Loaded with protein & fiber - lentils make for a very hearty entree. They cook up quickly, do not need to be soaked and are super inexpensive. 1 cup of dried lentils feeds me and my husband for 2 meals (dinner and then lunch the next day). I usually purchase my lentils in the bulk section at the grocery store, which at about $1.79/lb for organic. That definitely fits in my budget! With meat being quite pricey, I usually have a few meat-free meals throughout the week. This not only helps with my wallet, but also with keeping my consumption of animal proteins to a minimum. Since most legumes aren't complete protein (animal proteins are), by combining the legumes with most grains you can make them complete. These lentils served with fresh cooked basmati rice and you've got yourself a complete protein - simple enough. This recipe is packed with enough flavor and bulk, that if you have a die-hard meat-eater at home (my husband), they won't miss the typical meat entree.
These lentils are savory, not spicy. If you prefer spice, then I would add a bit (1/4 tsp-1/2 tsp) of red pepper flakes when you add the garlic to the pot.
Ghee is clarified butter, commonly used in Indian cooking. I was turned on to it by a friend who practices Ayurveda (and encouraged me to use it for healing purposes). It has a high smoke point and has a distinct flavor (as compared to butter or oil). If you don't have any on hand or do not want to use butter (dairy-free) then using a neutral oil, like canola works just fine.
Curried Vegetarian Lentils
Cook Time: 1 hour and 10 minutes
Prep Time: < 5 minutes
- 1 tsp ghee or oil
- 1 onion, diced
- 1 carrot, peeled and diced
- 2 stalks of celery, diced
- 1 tbsp madras curry powder
- 1 tsp tumeric
- salt and pepper to taste
- 3 cups of low sodium vegetable stock
- 1 cup of water
- 1 cup of organic green lentils
Heat the ghee in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion, carrots and celery once the oil is hot. Saute for about 5 minutes, then add the garlic. Saute for another 5 minutes or until everything is softened. Add the curry, tumeric and salt & pepper. Stir well.
Add the stock, water and lentils. Bring the heat up to a boil. Once it is boiling, cover the pot and reduce the heat to low. Allow the lentils to cook for about an hour, stirring occasionally. The lentils should be soft but not falling apart.
Once the lentils are cooked thoroughly, use an immersion blender and blend the lentils to desired consistency. or if you do not have an immersion blender then blend 1 cup of the lentils in a food processor. You do not have to do this step but it helps thicken the lentils and makes the dish seem heartier.
Serve the lentils over fresh basmati rice (and some naan bread). Yum!