Tuesday, March 17, 2015

How Lentils Could Save the Earth, Part II


In the first installment of "How Lentils Could Save the Earth," I introduced the almighty, super-studly, protein-rich lentil, and explored where it came from, how it's used, and why it's a fabulous, inexpensive and should be an important part of our diets. Now, I'd like to share a nifty recipe that has the power to change your mind about lentils forever--if you didn't love them already, you will after one bite of this.

Coconut Lentil Curry, with Garden Vegetables

1 medium onion
2 tablespoons ghee or butter
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger root
10 cloves minced or crushed garlic
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
6 cups water
1 12 ounce can unsweetened coconut milk
1 cup lentils (the standard size--not the small ones), rinsed and sorted
2 medium or 1 large zucchini, cut into chunks or half discs, as you prefer
1 (14 to 16 ounce) can chopped tomatoes, or 2 fresh tomatoes, diced
2 large or 3 medium carrots, cut into half discs
3 cups fresh greens (spinach is particularly wonderful, as it melts right in. If using Swiss chard, remove the spines and use just the leaves, chopped)
Salt to taste, but add only after lentils are cooked

  1. Saute the onions in the butter or ghee until tender and translucent.
  2. Add all the ingredients except the greens and the salt to a pot. Simmer for 20 minutes, or until the lentils are well-cooked (no more than 30 minutes). Taste the soup and add salt to taste. I recommend using either Vege-sal vegetable salt blend (it's tasty and works like vegetable stock), or Himalayan pink sea salt, which has fantastic health properties. Anyway, be sure not to add salt until after the beans are cooked (this is true of all beans, as salt hinders bean water absorption). If using Swiss chard, add now and cook until tender (five minutes). If adding spinach, add and cook only for one minute, until wilted.
  3. Serve over basmati rice, or basmati rice pilaf. Also include minced, fresh chili peppers, for your guests to add in as they like. This dish is also wonderful when sprinkled with cayenne powder and/or smoked paprika.