Lentils and Rice

The struggle between preparing a healthy and delicious meal for yourself at home or throwing your hands in the air and going out for food is a challenge most of us face on a regular basis. The latter is often more expensive, time consuming and not as satisfying or nutritious. If you’re like me, you prefer eating at home and cooking your own meals as often as possible yet our friend/enemy ‘time’ doesn’t always allow such a union to come together. I created this recipe on a day I was short on time before heading out for the afternoon. From the moment I started pulling out the ingredients to the moment I sat down to eat exactly forty minutes had passed. The dishes, well, that’s another story.

Lentils and Rice
4 cups of vegetable stock or water, 2 tbsp reserved
1 1/2 cups brown lentils, sorted and rinsed
1 bay leaf
1 med onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 celery stick, chopped
1 med carrot, chopped
1 hot pepper (seeds removed), minced
1 can diced tomatoes
a handful of fresh parsley, chopped
1/8 tsp cumin
1/8 tsp cayenne
dash of cinnamon (optional)
splash of lemon (optional)
fresh black pepper and sea salt, to taste
1 1/2 cups of rice, cooked according to package directions
1. Place lentils, vegetable stock or water, minus the two tablespoons, and the bay leaf in a pot and bring to a boil.
2. While lentils are boiling, chop and prep the rest of your vegetables.
3. Heat remaining 2 tbsp of vegetable stock in a soup pot. Add onions, carrots and celery and saute until translucent. Add garlic and stir for an additional two minutes.
4. Add diced tomatoes and the rest of the ingredients, minus the salt and pepper, and bring to a light simmer.
5. Add lentils to soup pot and simmer until flavors are integrated and the lentils are tender.
6. Season with salt and pepper and serve over rice.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4-6
**This dish can easily be turned into a soup by simply adding more vegetable stock or water.

 

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Southern Style Black Eyed Peas

Oh how I love a plate of black eyed peas, brown rice, roasted brussel sprouts and bbq tofu. It is such a comforting combination of flavors and makes me oh so very happy. This is one of my favorite dishes to order at The Bye and Bye in Portland so I decided to create my own version. The picture below has grilled yams instead of tofu, which was a lovely complement to the meal.



Southern Style Black Eyed Peas

2 1/2 cups dried black eyed peas, soaked at least 4 hours
2 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 celery stalk, diced
1 jalapeño, seeded and diced
1/2 small can tomato paste
1 tsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp liquid smoke
1 bay leaf
4 cups of water or vegetable stock
1/8 tsp cayenne
1/2 tsp thyme
salt & pepper

1. Saute onions, garlic and celery over medium heat in oil.
2. Add jalapeño and continue stirring until vegetables are soft and fragrant.
3. Add a splash of water to deglaze then add the rest of the ingredients except thyme, salt and pepper.
4. Bring contents to a light boil, reduce heat and simmer partially covered for at least one hour, stirring occasionally.
5. Once most of the liquid is absorbed the beans are ready. Season with thyme, salt and pepper, serve over brown rice and enjoy!

Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 1 1/2 hours
Servings: 4-6

 

 

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Curried Chick Peas and Tomatoes

It will soon become apparent that I am obsessed with chick peas. I eat them as often as possible in soups, salads, hummus, cooked dishes or simply by themselves. This dish beautifully pairs fragrant indian spices with tomatoes and chick peas. The list of spices is extensive, though I consider them all staples in my kitchen. I generally serve this dish over coconut jasmine rice but it would be delicious over any cooked grain of your choice.

Curried Chick Peas and Tomatoes

2 tbsp of grapeseed oil (or other neutral flavored oil)
1 med onion, chopped
5 cloves of garlic, minced
1 inch piece fresh ginger, minced or 1/2 tsp dried ground ginger
1 14.5 oz can fire roasted tomatoes with green chilies
1 14 oz can coconut milk
1 60z can tomato paste
3 1/2 cups cooked chick peas or 2 cans drained and rinsed
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp cayenne
1/2 tsp fresh black pepper
2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp turmeric
juice of half a lime (about 2 tsps)
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

1. Warm oil in a large saute pan or wok
2. Add onions and cook until translucent
3. Add fresh garlic and fresh ginger (if using) and stir for about 2 minutes
4. Add fire roasted tomatoes with green chilies and cook for 3-5 minutes
5. Add coconut milk and tomato paste and bring to a light boil
6. Stir in chick peas and all the dried spices (including salt and pepper) and cook together for 20-30 minutes on medium low heat
7. Remove from heat and add fresh lime juice and cilantro
8. Serve over rice

Notes:

  • If you don’t like a heavy tomato taste, cut the fire roasted tomatoes and tomato paste by half
  • If you prefer a non-spicy version use fire roasted tomatoes (or plain diced) without green chilies and omit the cayenne

Total Prep and Cook Time: 45 minutes to 1 hour
Servings: 5-6 if served over rice

 

 

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