Meatless Mondays: Curried Lentils and Rice
I honestly cannot be bothered to photograph my food, so please pardon me. (Unlike my brother, whose vacation photos consist largely of pictures of what he ate…)
But one of my favorite REALLY EASY things to make when I want something seriously health-ful, easy, meatless, and requiring not many ingredients is this lentil-and-brown-rice dish–delicious and easy, good complete protein, whole grain, just absolutely nothing bad to say about it.
Curried Lentils and Rice
In a saucepan with a lid, bring 4 cups of water to a boil. (You could use broth if you’d like.)
- 1 cup brown lentils (rinsed and picked)
- 1 cup brown rice
- 1 tbs or so curry powder or garam masala of your choice
- 1 28 oz. can (or quart jar) diced tomatoes with their juice
Stir and bring back to a simmer; cover and simmer for about 40 minutes or until rice and lentils are cooked but not mooshy.
That’s it. You may want to play with the amounts of spices, you may decide to add onions or garlic or sauteed mushrooms or other veggies. You may wish to omit the tomatoes. You can do pretty much whatever the heck you want; it’s still delicious. The lentils and rice take about the same amount of time to cook (don’t substitute white rice, or it’ll go to mush before the lentils are done!), and all that really matters is having two cups of water to one cup of lentils/rice. This makes about 7 cups, which would probably feed 3-4 people, or 2 with lunch leftovers…
If you don’t have curry powder or garam masala–you can make do with your own spice blend, even if you don’t have all the ingredients. Curry powder recipes are available all over the internet, but basically they seem to be a combination of coriander, cumin, and turmeric, with maybe a little cayenne if you like the heat. (I happen to love Pensey’s hot version…) Garam Masala, an Indian spice blend, is another where there are about as many versions as there are Indian grandmas who make them, and it’s a lot like curry only you usually have some “sweet” spices like cinnamon, cloves and/or cardamon, and leave out the turmeric. (By the way, to really do this right you’d toast the spices in the pan first, then grind them, and THEN start the rest of the recipe; I really don’t ever do that…)
Which is to say, if you have cumin and cinnamon but not the others, throw some of that in with some black pepper, and it’ll probably be delicious. Futz around with spices, and don’t be afraid to mess things up.