Like other legumes, lentils are low in fat and high in protein and fibre, but they also have the added advantage of cooking quickly. Lentils have a mild, often earthy flavour, and they're best when cooked with quite strong spices.
The best and most delicate lentils are the peppery French green lentils. These tend to hold their shape well but take longer to cook than other lentils. The milder brown lentils also hold their shape after cooking but become mushy if overcooked. Indian markets also carry a wide variety of split lentils, called dhal (also spelt 'dal'). Lentil curry is usually eaten with Indian breads and rice.
2/3 cup diced onion
2/3 cup diced carrot
2/3 cup celery
1 Tbsp minced garlic
1 Tbsp curry powder
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp dried thyme
¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
¼ tsp cayenne
1 cup sorted and rinsed dried brown lentils
3 cups water or vegetable broth
4 cups trimmed and shredded spinach stems
2 tsp tamari or rich soy sauce
1 Tbsp olive oil
- In a large sauce pan over medium heat, sauté the onion, carrot, celery and olive oil, stirring often for 5 minutes.
- Add the garlic, curry powder, cumin, thyme, black pepper and cayenne and sauté for 1 more minute.
- Add the lentils and water, stir well to combine and bring to the boil. Cover, reduce heat to low and simmer. Stir occasionally for 20 minutes.
- Add the spinach and tamari, cover and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes more or until lentils are tender and most of the liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat.
- Taste and adjust seasonings and serve over cooked grains or pasta
Serves 4 people
Recipe supplied by Antoinette Maake, Botriver, South Africa
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