Indian Lentils

Indian Lentils by The Stay-At-Home Mommylogues

Baby B is becoming more of a big boy than a baby. He has been pitching major fits at mealtime. He doesn’t want the puréed food that I have made for him (and have a freezer full of) and he wants to feed himself. I hate this stage of feeding. He only has 2 teeth, but wants to eat everything we eat…not possible! Not to mention that it is nearly impossible to get a nutritionally complete meal in his sweet growing belly. This is why I love this recipe so much! We found it on Weelicious when we were going through the same battle with MK a few years ago and have been making it ever since. It is a hit with each member of the family and I especially love it because I know everyone is getting a healthy meal.

It isn’t all that hard to make, but does take a little while, so schedule it for a night when you have help with the kids. It makes tons of leftovers which can be frozen for later or eaten throughout the week. I usually make it and then we all eat it for lunches. It’s perfect for a quick meal for B when we’re eating something he can’t have. Oh, did I mention that it is dairy, egg, gluten, and soy free?!?

So here we go:

First get out all of your ingredients. I usually get out the ginger, cumin, coriander, turmeric, olive oil, shallot, tomato paste, and lentils first. You will have time to prepare the other veggies while your lentils are cooking.

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First, chop your shallots.  I was out of shallots, so they aren’t pictured here.  But I would definitely not leave these out by choice.  They help the lentils retain all of the flavor.  Don’t worry about it being too “oniony”.  I’m not a big onion fan and these don’t bother me at all.

Mix together the ginger, garlic, cumin, coriander, turmeric, and water. She calls it a paste, but mine is always very liquidy (which seems to work fine).

Then, make your tomato paste mixture, by mixing together 3 Tbsp of paste to 3 Tbsp of water. The Kroger brand tomato paste has no additives in it, while the name brands do (check your labels people, you never know what you’re going to find). You will not use an entire can of tomato paste (even the tiny cans that cost only $0.67 at my Kroger). Let’s don’t be wasteful…freeze what’s left in ice cube trays.

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Next, go ahead and sort through your lentils and wash them up so they are ready to use. I have learned that if I go ahead and prepare all of my ingredients for this first part of the recipe before I turn the stove on, this meal is so much more enjoyable to make. I am usually one of those grab as you go cooks, that doesn’t get anything ready before I start cooking. I learned the hard way that this is not a good plan when you have 3 kids 2 kids and a husband roaming around your kitchen while you’re trying to sort and wash lentils in 30 seconds before the tomato paste and spice mixtures burn.

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Now, that you have everything ready to go, heat up your oil and cook the shallots for about 1 minute. Add the spice mixture (the first concoction you mixed up) and cook for a minute or so on medium heat. Then, add in the tomato paste mixture.

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Once most of the liquid is cooked out and it looks like a paste, you will add in 5 cups of water and your lentils. I like to add in my water first so I can make sure I get all of the paste that may be stuck to the bottom of your pan un-stuck (yes, that is now a word according to the SAHMommylogues). Bring the mixture to a boil, throw the lid on top, and take a breather while it cooks for 25 minutes.

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Don’t wait too long though, because you will need to get together your second batch of ingredients….

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Chop your carrots into little coins (or whatever other fancy design you may wish). If you have a little eater like we do, you will want to chop them up as small as he/she will need them to be.

You can use fresh green beans, but I love the convenience of the organic frozen veggies from Whole Foods. My kids live off of these, especially the mixed vegetable bag. It’s so easy to make sure they get enough veggies throughout the day when you have these in your freezer. You can place the frozen beans directly into the pot as they are in this recipe. No need to thaw.

Chop some kale. Once again, for small mouths you will want to chop it pretty small. It will cook down considerably, but it may be long and stringy depending on how you chop it.

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I put my carrots, green beans, and kale in a medium glass bowl along with the salt and cilantro. So when my 25 minute rest break is up, I can just dump the whole bowl in the pot, recover and cook for an additional 15 minutes.

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We love to serve this over brown rice or quinoa. If you’re doing the same you may want to put your rice on as you are starting to make the lentils to make sure it all gets finished in time.

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Here is the full recipe that we can all thank Weelicious for…

Indian Lentils

(Serves 4-6)

Prep Time:5 minutes,
Cook Time: 50 minutes,
Total Time: 55 minutes

Ingredients
1 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated
1 garlic clove, grated
1 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium shallot, minced
3 tablespoons tomato paste (mixed with 3 tbsp water)
1 1/4 cups green lentils
1 cup green beans, chopped
1 cup carrots, cut into coins
1 1/2 cups kale, shredded (i used dinosaur kale)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped

Preparation
1. Mix the first 5 ingredients in a bowl with 1/4 cup of water to make a paste.
2. Heat the oil in a large saucepan and saute the shallots over medium heat for 1 minute.
3. Add the spice mixture and cook an additional 1-2 minutes.
4. Add the tomato paste mixture and cook an additional 1-2 minutes or until the liquid is almost evaporated.
5. Add the lentils and 5 cups of water. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Partially cover the pot and cook for 25 minutes.
6. Add the vegetables, salt and cilantro and cook for an additional 15 minutes or until vegetables and lentils are tender.
7. Serve.
*Allow to cool and place in appropriate tupperware or ziploc bag, label and freeze up to 4 months. When ready, defrost in a pot over low-medium heat or in the fridge for 24-48 hours.

I hope your family loves this healthy, tasty dish as much as mine does. Please let me know if you tried it and what you thought (good or bad, I can take it I promise). 😉

This recipe has partied at:

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