One of my favorite things about our new plant-based diet is that it has expanded our palates and helped me find some new recipes. The main cuisines that I cook at home now are Indian and Mexican. There are so many curry dishes involving veggies and legumes that it makes it really easy and delicious to avoid meat. For Mexican, I’ve begun making tempeh burritos. Look for a recipe on that soon!
This Indian inspired recipe was one of the first that I made and I’ve made it several times since. It is very delicious, filling and pretty easy to make! I also cook brown rice and serve it over the top of it. This week when I made it, I also steamed some broccoli for added veggies. Adding the broccoli also helps since we eat less of the curry and have more leftovers!
Lentils are one of the best ways for vegans or vegetarians to get protein. One 230 calorie cup of cooked lentils packs in 18 grams of protein, 37% of your daily value of iron, and 16 grams of fiber. Another benefit of lentils is that they are extremely cheap! Cashews are are full of proanthocyanidins which are shown to stop cancer cells from dividing as well as a good dose of copper which help eliminate free radicals. I’m pretty sure I don’t need to remind you of the power of spinach.
I adapted this recipe from Food.com (recipe here). My comments are in italics.
- 1 onion, diced(I use yellow onion)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 teaspoons curry powder
- 1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
- 1 cup red lentil (I’ve used green lentils a couple times and it is basically the same. Remember to rinse your lentils before use.)
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt (to taste)
- 1 (14 ounce) can light coconut milk
- 1 lime, juice of
- 1 3/4 cups water
- 1/3 cup whole cashews
- 1 cup fresh spinach, roughly chopped
- 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped (optional)
- In a large pot saute the onion in the olive oil over medium heat for about 5 minutes (5 minutes is a little long – you can easily get away with 2-3 minutes here). While the onion cooks get the rest of the ingredients ready to go.
- Add in the curry powder, mustard seeds, turmeric and red lentils – cook for another 5 minutes. Watch the lentils don’t stick by stirring frequently and/or adding more oil if necessary.
- Mix in the coconut milk, salt, lime juice and water. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to medium low, cover the pot and let simmer for about 20-25 minutes. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking. Unlikely, but if you find the lentils have absorbed all of the liquid and are still not cooked, add a bit more water.
- Once the lentils are cooked they will break down quite a bit and you’ll have a reasonably thick dahl like consistency. Stir in the cashews and spinach, along with cilantro if using. Give those ingredients about 3 or 4 minutes to warm through and then you’re ready to serve. Garnish with additional cilantro, lime wedges and/or cashews.
Put it on a plate on top of the rice and let it cool for a few minutes before eating. We learned this part the hard way!