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Author Notes: Inspired by a recipe from Naturally Ella (http://naturallyella.com/red-lentils-and-spinach-in-masala-sauce/), this red lentil curry goes heavy on the vegetables and legumes with a nice bit of spice from chopped jalapeno and red pepper flakes. In an effort to lighten it up a bit, I use a slurry of almond milk and cornstarch in place of coconut milk--and I don't miss it at all!
Both the curry and rice can be frozen in freezer bags (I recommend separate bags). Reheat in a covered bowl in the microwave.
More at http://whateverpieces.com/2015/08/31/red-lentil-curry/ —Stephanie H.
For the curry:
- 1.5 teaspoons cumin seeds
- 1.5 teaspoons coriander seeds
- 1 teaspoon garam masala
- 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes or more, to taste
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 1-inch pieces ginger, peeled and minced
- 1/2 jalapeno, minced
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 15 ounces can of diced tomatoes
- 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup red lentils, picked over and rinsed
- 2 cups spinach or baby kale
- chopped fresh cilantro or parsley, optional
- Heat a small skillet over medium heat and add the cumin and coriander seeds. Toast them in the dry pan for 1-2 minutes until fragrant. Crush the seeds a bit with a mortar and pestle. (Or, place the spices in a zip-top bag and crush with a rolling pin.)
- Add the garam masala, paprika, salt, pepper, garlic, ginger, jalapeno and tomato paste and mash together, or pulse in a small food processor.
- Heat the olive oil over medium-high heat in a Dutch oven or stock pot. Add the onion and sauté about 5 minutes, until softened and just beginning to brown.
- Add the spice mixture and cook, stirring constantly, about 2 minutes until fragrant.
- Pour in the tomatoes with their juices and stir, scraping up the brown bits on the bottom of the pan.
- Add the almond milk and cornstarch to a jar or container with a lid and shake until combined. Pour the mixture and the water into the pot and bring to a boil.
- Stir in the lentils. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer 35-45 minutes until tender. Add more water if the pot ever seems too dry.
- Stir in the spinach or kale and cook 2-3 minutes until wilted. Taste and adjust seasoning. Garnish with cilantro or parsley and serve with cooked rice.
- 1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
- pinches saffron
- 1.5 cups water
- pinches salt
- 1 cup basmati rice
- Combine the saffron and the water and let the mixture stand about 5 minutes so that the saffron can “bloom” (it’s ready when the water becomes yellowish).
- Meanwhile, heat a small skillet over medium heat and add the seeds. Toast in the dry pan for 1-2 minutes until fragrant.
- Combine all ingredients and prepare the rice according to package instructions. (I throw it all in the rice cooker but the stovetop works too!) Fluff with a fork and serve.
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Recipe for Now and Later