Category Archives: Lentils

Quick Lunch Series: Curry Cauliflower Quinoa Salad

For a while Trader Joes had this delightful item on there ready to eat item list. I picked it up a few times and it tasted delicious and was great for those times when I needed to carry lunch and had nothing planned. Sadly, it disappeared from the stores  at the local store in recent times.

Source: Whats good at Trader Joes

This past week I decided to make some at home and here’s how I made mine.

Ingredients:

1 cup rainbow quinoa
1/4  cup french lentils
1 cup cauliflower florets cut small
1/2 diced red bell pepper
1/4 red onion, chopped fine (can also use green onions)
1 tsp curry powder
dash of garlic and ginger powder
salt and pepper to taste
dash of paprika
1-2 tsp coconut oil
cilantro to garnish
healthy dose of lemon juice

Soak lentils overnight or for 8 hours.

Bring two and half cups of water to boil. Add quinoa and lentils. Reduce flame and continue cooking for about 20 minuted or until cooked, adding additional water as needed.

Meanwhile, place a pan on the stove, add oil, and add  onions, cauliflower and red bell pepper. Toss in spices and fry  on medium high.  Alternately, you can roast the vegetables in an oven.

When the quinoa is almost cooked, add the sauted vegetables and continue cooking. Add lemon juice generously. Garnish with cilantro and serve warm.

Makes 3-4 servings for that home-office lunch

What can go wrong with quinoa, lentils and cauliflower?  All in all a delightful lunch. Either at home or in the office really. Bought at TJ or made at home.

Best of 2015

I had a lot of fun in 2015 trying new recipes from around the world. There are many keepers in the list that i cooked over and over again, and I expect, will continue to do so.

Here are some of my most favorite recipes…

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APPETIZERS & SNACKS

Baked Bajji

Baked Vada

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GRAINS:

Quinoa Dosa

One-pot Mexican Quinoa

Mango Poha

Quinoa Vangi Bath

Cranberry Poha

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BEANS & LENTILS

Cauliflower, Kale, Chickpea  Curry Pot

Black-Eyed Peas and Greens with Navrattan Spices

kumquat2

JAMS & JELLIES

Anise Flavored Kumquat Marmalade

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DIPS & SAUCES

Sun-dried Tomato and Jalapeno Hummus

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WRAPS & SANDWICHES

Edamame and Zucchini Wraps

ztgratin

CASSEROLE

Zucchini and Yellow Tomato Gratin

Spaghetti Squash Casserole

Spaghetti Squash Burrito Bowl

cherry5

DESSERTS

Pumpkin Payasam

Cherry Swirl with Dark Chocolate & Cherry Bits

Baklava

air20152

BREADS, COOKIES & CAKES

Farro and Sun-dried Tomato Foccacia

Cherry and Cardamon Cake

Vegan Pumpkin Bread

Airplane Cookies

wmcooler2

JUICES & SMOOTHIES

Watermelon Cooler

tomatoYogurt2

CURRIES & MORE

Tomato in Yogurt Sauce

Eggplant Curry with Onion

CherrySalad

SALADS

Cherry and Avocado Salad

BS1

SIDES

Honey and Sriracha Roasted Brussels Sprouts

mgs

SOUPS

Vibrant Beets Soup

Mediterranean Grain Soup

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WHAT’S POPULAR WITH YOU?

Amaranth Upma

Amaranth Dosa

Spicy Chickpea and Brussels Sprouts Soup

Valor Papdi Bean

Baked Bajji

Edamame and Zucchini Wraps

Quinoa Upma

Mango Carrot Muffins

chickpea_brusselssprouts

HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

Roasted Root Vegetable Soup with Kale and Lentils

Chill is in the air. The last few days, the Polar Vortex dipped low, bringing an early freeze to the Mid Atlantic and the South. Some parts of the country even saw some snow.  It is way too early for snow!

While salads are refreshing during the hot summer months, come fall and winter, I love to try new soup recipes.

rvlk3During such chilly weather, I like to turn on the oven to bake cakes, muffins, bread or roast my vegetables. Nicely warms up the house a degree or two as well. Not to mention the aroma that fills the house.

There are plenty of root vegetables out there in fall. You can pretty much mix in your favorite root vegetables to make this soup.

Ingredients:

1 Turnip cut into rings or 1 inch pieces
2 carrots, sliced into rings
3-4 small golden beets, sliced into rings
1 Daikon (winter radish) sliced into rings
2 Roma tomatoes, chopped
1 bunch green onions, cut into 1in pieces
2 cups chopped kale
2/3 cup brown lentils
1-2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp cayenne pepper
2 tsp curry powder
juice of one lemon
a few red pepper flakes
salt and fresh ground pepper
fresh or dry cilantro
6 cups broth or water

If using dry lentils, soak for 6-8 hours or overnight.

rvlk1Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Toss all vegetables except kale, with some olive oil, salt and fresh ground black pepper. Lay out on baking sheets and bake for 30 minutes.

Transfer to a dutch oven, or large soup dish. Rinse and add lentils, spices, 4 cups of water and bring to a boil. Reduce flame and let simmer for an hour. Add kale and continue cooking for another 10-15 minutes till kale wilts.

rvlk2Drizzle lemon juice, season with cilantro and red pepper flakes and serve warm!

Croutons or crusty bread on the side wont do harm 🙂

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Quick Lunch Series: Red Lentil and Cucumber Salad

I came across this on PBS Fresh Tastes recently. Looked delicious and refreshing. It is especially good for a hot, summer day meal.

Still, considering the recent nice weather, it was a perfect lunch on a week day.

I altered it slightly…and made it as follows…

cucu1Ingredients:

1/4 cup red lentils
1/2 cucumber chopped
8-10 sliced cherry tomatoes
1-2 tbsp sliced red onion
1-2 tbsp yogurt
1-2 tbsp lemon juice
1 jalapeno minced (optional)
some finely chopped cilantro
a touch of cayenne pepper
salt and fresh ground pepper

Rinse and add 1/2 to 3/4 cup water to lentils and cook on medium flame for 10-15 minutes. Set aside. I rarely like to toss, the liquid when I cook lentils. Something about tossing away the nutrients with the water. I always cook my lentils with twice the amount of water, so there is nothing left. You can always add more if you think you need to cook your lentils more.

In a large bowl, add yogurt, lemon juice, salt and peppers, minced jalapeno, chopped cucumber and chopped cilantro and mix well. Add sliced cherry tomatoes. Toss in chilled, and  cooked red lentils and serve immediately.

Cucumbers and sliced tomatoes are juicy, so it is best to toss the salad with them, just before serving.

Enjoy!

Methi Dal

I love green leafy vegetables. Spinach. Amaranth. Fenugreek. Red Sorrel. Basil. Kale. Lettuce. Parsley. Cilantro. Mint. You get it!

The one green leafy vegetable I have less patience for is Methi or Fenugreek leaf. Small. Requiring patience to trim.

It reminds me of how patiently my mother trimmed and cooked dal with Methi. I wish I had some of her patience!

This Mother’s day, I coerced myself to clean and cook Methi. It was an excellent lesson in patience.

methi1Ingredients:

1/2 bunch Methi or Fenugreek leaves
tamarind juice (approx 1/2 cup or as needed)
1 cup toor dal
1-2 jalapeno
1 garlic, peeled (or as much as you want)
1 tsp oil
1-2 red dry red chilli
1/2 tsp black mustard seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
1/4 tsp fenugreek seeds
1/4 tsp turmeric
a pinch of asafoetida
salt to taste
cilantro to garnish
a little paprika or red crush peppermethi2]JPG

Cook toor dal  in a pressure cooker with two cups water or stove top. Set aside.

Heat the oil in a large pan. Add turmeric, asafoetida, cumin, mustard seeds, garlic and red chilli and fry till golden. Add jalapeno, ginger and curry leaves and fry for a minute.

Add trimmed methi leaves and fry for a minute. Add tamarind juice and bring to boil. Reduce flame, mash and add steamed toor dal and cook for 10-15 minutes in medium low.

Add paprika, or red crushed pepper, and mix well. Garnish with chopped cilantro and serve warm with rice or roti.

Can use left over methi to make methi roti.

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Enjoy with warm rice or roti!

 

Kale and Lentil Soup

This is loosely based on this recipe.

kalelentilsoupIngredients:
1 cup dry brown lentils
3 carrots, chopped
3 celery, chopped
1 onion, chopped
2 tomatoes, chopped
1 bag of chopped Organic Tuscan kale
1 tsp fresh basil
salt and fresh ground black pepper
1/2 tsp paprika
a few flakes of red crushed pepper
1 tbsp of olive oil
a drizzle of lemon juice

Soak dry brown lentils for 8-12 hours.

In a large pot, on medium low, add oil. Add onions, carrots, and celery and fry lightly. Add soaked and rinsed dry brown lentils. Add tomatoes. Add 3 cups water and cook on medium low for 20 minutes. Add chopped basil, and fresh chopped kale and mix well. Continue to cook for another 10-15 minutes. Add salt, fresh ground pepper, paprika, and crushed pepper flakes.

Remove from flame and cool.

Using a hand blender or food processor, blend soup in batches.

Optionally, drizzle some lemon juice and serve warm!

Kale, Barley and Red Lentil Soup

Soups are my favorite lunch, especially in winter. There is something to be said about sipping warm, cozy, delicious soups. This recipe is adapted from here

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Ingredients:
1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 shallot, diced
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 bunch kale chopped
1 cup red lentils
1/4 cup barley
2 Roma tomatoes chopped and processed in food processor (or 3 tbsp tomato paste)
4 cups water or vegetable broth
1.5 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp cumin powder
salt to taste

Heat the oil in a large pan. Add chopped shallots and fry for 5 minutes until translucent. Add minced garlic and fry for a minute. Rinse and add barley, paprika and chilli powder and fry for a few seconds. Add broth or water. Add tomato paste. Bring to a boil and let simmer in medium low for 15 minutes until the barley is tender.

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Rinse the red lentils and add to the pot. Continue cooking for another 15 minutes until the lentils are cooked. Fold in the chopped kale.

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Serve warm with some toasted tortilla chips…

soup3Soothing… on a frigid, chilly day!

Caldo Verde

Caldo Verde (“green broth”) is a popular Portuguese soup. This recipe is adapted from the 21 day Tummy Diet.

IMG_4212Ingredients:
1 turnip, peeled and cut into 1 in pieces
1 red potato cut into 1 in pieces
3 medium tomatoes cut into 1 in pieces
3 cups loosely chopped kale
3/4 cup cooked lentils
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tbsp olive oil
salt to taste

IMG_4204Heat the oil in a dutch oven. Add potato, turnips and tomato and fry for 1-2 minutes. Add salt and cayenne pepper and cook for another minute. Add 4 cups water (or broth of choice), lentils and kale and bring to a boil. Reduce flame and cook for 30-40 minutes.

IMG_4209Drizzle some lemon juice and serve warm with a lemon wedge. Makes about 4 servings.

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Kichdi (Rice with lentils)

Khichdi is a popular one pot meal that is chiefly composed of rice and lentils. Typically the lentils of choice are moong dal (green gram) or brown lentils. You can make it with either brown or white rice. Cooking with brown rice takes longer and most times I double cook it in a pressure cooker. Also it is not as fluffy as when cooked with white basmati. Kichdi is convenient and fairly easy to cook. Perfect for that office lunch box or a week night dinner. It goes well with some raita (yogurt dish) or plain yogurt on the side.

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Kichdi made with whole moong dal and white basmati rice is shown above.

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Kichdi with brown rice and whole moong dal is shown above.

For the Kichidi:
1 cup rice (brown or white)
1/2 cup whole moong dal (green gram)
1/2 onion chopped
1-2 bay leaves
1 jalapeno sliced (optional)
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp cumin powder
2 garlic cloves (optional)
a small piece of ginger (optional)
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp garam masala
1-2 tbsp shredded coconut
pinch of turmeric
salt to taste
some cilantro chopped
1 tbsp oil
1 tsp ghee (optional)

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For the Raita
1 cup yogurt
1/4 red onion chopped (optional)
1/4 cucumber shredded or finely cut
1 roma tomato chopped fine
some cilantro chopped
salt and fresh ground black pepper

To make the raita mix all the ingredients and set aside.

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To make the kichdi, if using whole moong dal, soak overnight or atleast for 8 hours. If using de-husked, split moong dal not preparation is needed.

I usually like to make the kichdi in a pressure pan or pressure cooker. My 7liter pressure cooker comes with a pressure pan that is very convenient to cook. Especially when I need to saute my vegetables in oil first before steaming them.

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My really old pressure pan shown above, that is perfect for steaming and making one pot meals such as kichdi, vangi bath, pulao etc.

Rinse rice and drain all the water and set aside. To make the kichdi, heat some oil in a pan. Add turmeric and cumin seeds and fry lightly. Add onion, garlic and jalapeno and fry till the onions are lightly brown. Add moong dal and rice and fry lightly. Add salt and all other spices and coconut. Always adjust spices for personal preference. Mix well. Add 2 cups water and a tsp of ghee (optional). Close the pressure pan lid and cook until two whistles. If using an electric rice cooker, transfer the ingredients to the rice cooker after light frying and add water and cook. If cooking in the open, add water and bring to a boil. Reduce flame and cook until all water evaporates and the rice is fluffy. Adding more water as needed.

Garnish with some cilantro and eat warm with plain yogurt or raita.

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A. Soup. A. Week. French Lentil Chili

This week’s soup is simple, yet tasty. Being vegetarian I thrive on lentils for my protein fix. And of course on dairy. Lentils be it brown, blue or any other color are comforting and delicious. Personally I am so fond of lentils that nothing can replace them  One of these days I might talk about all the lentils and dry beans I have in my kitchen.. Maybe…

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Ingredients:
2 cups French lentils
1 zucchini chopped
1 green bell pepper chopped
3 medium tomatoes chopped or 1 can diced tomatoes
1-2 jalapenos minced
1/2 onion chopped
3-4 garlic cloves minced
1 tsp cumin powder
1/ tsp paprika
salt to taste
a few red pepper flakes (optional)
5-6 cups water or replace with broth
1 tbsp oil
salt to taste

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Soak the lentil in water for 8 hours or over night.

Heat the oil in large pan. Add onion and garlic and fry lightly for 5 minutes. Add zucchini, jalapeno, tomato, cumin powder, salt, paprika, tomatoes, red pepper flakes. Rinse and wash the soaked lentils. Add to the pan and add water or broth and bring to a boil.

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Lower to medium low and continue to simmer for 2 hours.

Enjoy hot with a dollop of sour cream, pickled jalapeno and salsa. There is nothing as soothing as lentil chili on a cold, dark winter’s day!

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Last week’s A. Soup. A Week. was Haitian Pumpkin Soup

See Also:
Vegetarian Chili