My poor family. They’ve eaten lentils so many times for dinner the the past few months. Earlier this summer, I entered a recipe contest for the National Lentil Festival with this recipe but didn’t win. Even though I didn’t even get honorable mention with this recipe, it’s still really tasty and oh, so good for you. According to my kids, this recipe makes lentils taste good. I’ll take that as a big, fat compliment!
Lentils are easier to cook than dried beans because you don’t have to let them soak first and they take less time to cook. My pressure cooker directions say not to cook lentils in the pressure cooker because they get too foamy and will clog the steam release mechanism (you know, the thing-a-ma-jig). If you’re thinking about using a pressure cooker, make sure to check your instructions.
These are not fancy lentils in this recipe. They’re the simple brownish, green ones. Look for them on the aisle with dried beans in a plastic bag that reads “Lentils” or check the bulk bins section of your grocery store. They’re inexpensive and so good for you.
Indian Spiced Lentils with Pork
- 1-pound ground pork
- 2 cups lentils
- 2 green peppers, diced
- 2 cups carrots, diced
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 2 Tablespoons ginger, grated
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
- 1 can coconut milk
- 4 cups broth ([url href=”https://gogingham.com/2013/04/how-to-make-chicken-broth/” target=”_blank” title=”How to Make Chicken Broth”]make your own chicken broth[/url] but vegetable or beef works, too)
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon curry
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- In large skillet, cook pork thoroughly and set aside in bowl.
- Add olive oil to skillet and warm oil.
- Add peppers, carrots and onion and sauté about 7 minutes.
- Add the cumin, curry, turmeric and cayenne pepper.
- Add garlic, ginger and lentils and sauté about 2 minutes.
- Add coconut milk and broth and bring to boil.
- Once boiling, reduce heat and simmer with lid on for about 45-50 minutes.
- Add cooked pork back to skillet and stir.
- Add cilantro to skillet and stir.
- Salt to taste.
- Serve and enjoy.
- Serve lentils over brown rice, quinoa, spinach or roasted cauliflower. When serving a second night as leftovers, more broth needs to be added.
- If serving this with spinach, toss several handfuls of spinach into the pan with the lentils just before serving it. The spinach is just warmed and wilts quickly so it all fits nicely in a bowl. I like to use Earthbound Farm organic spinach – and it’s available year round.
- This dish can easily be a vegetarian one by skipping the pork and using veg broth.
- This recipe feeds our family of 4 for two nights when we eat it with cauliflower the first night and spinach the second. I suggest brownies for dessert if you serve it 2 nights in a row.
- If you don’t have broth on hand, water will do.
- You can substitute vegetables here. If you don’t have carrots on hand, skip that ingredient and put in tomatoes at the very end. Don’t like green peppers? Go with red ones instead.
- You can also freeze the lentils if your family detests eating the same meal 2-nights in a row. Let it cool completely and then place in an airtight container.
For roasting cauliflower, preheat oven to 425 degrees. Slice cauliflower and place on a prepared baking sheet (I like the canola oil baking spray from Trader Joe’s). Drizzle with a little canola oil or olive oil and coat cauliflower with oil by using a pastry brush. You don’t have to smoother the vegetables, just get a little on the cut pieces. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Bake for 25 minutes in 425 oven and then broil for a few minutes at the very end. The cauliflower is delicious. Place cauliflower in bowl and serve lentils over this.
You can roast so many vegetables using this same method. I have 2 large jelly-roll pans that get more use roasting vegetables than making jelly-rolls!
What’s your favorite way to make lentils?
Go Gingham related links:
Spicy, homemade hummus that you make from dried beans
Shrimp and quinoa salad – a summer favorite
How to roast red peppers or food you’re supposed to burn
Roasted garlic spread that’s another great dip or spread
Simple summer salad with tomatoes and cucumbers – oh, and onions and fresh dill
Very easy and tasty white bean dip
If you want to do more reading about lentils and their healthy benefits, LiveStrong has one here.