Lentils and rice are a fantastic combination for this time of the year when, as the air gets drier, our bodies need foods that contain moisture. This is my go-to lunch for late fall. It’s vegetarian: a good balance for those meat-heavy holiday meals. The spices are warming and stimulate good digestion. You can eat the pared down version or embellish it, making each meal feel like a special preparation even though the leftovers take no time to throw together. Convinced yet? Here’s the recipe:
Warming Winter Lentils
1 cup long grain basmati rice (I prefer white with this recipe, but brown is fine if you’re looking for that extra nutritional punch)
6 ½ cups water
1 tsp. cumin seeds
2 Tbs. unsalted butter (or ghee!)
1 cup onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. powdered turmeric
2 Tbs. fresh ginger, peeled and minced
2 cups dried red lentils, rinsed
Coarse salt to taste
- Rinse rice with cold water and then place in a medium-sized pot with 1 ½ cups of water. Bring to a boil; while you’re waiting, pre-mince the ginger & garlic and pre-dice the onions. Once the water reaches a boil, reduce to a simmer and set a timer for 20 minutes if using white rice, 35 if using brown.
- Place a medium-sized saucepan over medium heat. Add cumin seeds to toast, shaking the pan every few seconds for about 1 minute, or until fragrant. Transfer toasted cumin to a plate. Add butter to the pan and once heated, add onion, garlic, and ginger. Stir ever few seconds with a wooden spoon for about 5 minutes, or until tender, being careful not to burn. Add turmeric and toasted cumin. Stir to combine.
- Add the lentils and remaining 5 cups of water to the spice mixture. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and partially cover. Cook until mixture thickens, about 15 minutes. Stir in coarse salt to taste.
- To serve, spoon out some rice and top with lentils. Embellish as you see fit!
Embellishments – put these on top!
- fresh cilantro
- mango chutney (store bought or homemade)
- plain yogurt
- sliced avocado
- oven roasted carrots
- diced cucumber mixed with a splash of salt, sugar, and white vinegar