Friday, February 1, 2013

Better Than it Looks

This was my lunch yesterday - leftovers from dinner the night before. I play this card a lot because I find that something hot is much more satisfying for a workday lunch than a cold sandwich, or the like. But I'm telling you, it's better than it looks. Especially if you don't drizzle tahini salad dressing on top (it's just so delicious). I like to think of it as an uber-flexible, use-what-you-already-have-in-the-pantry delicious Indian spiced lentil stew. For those of you squeamish about foods with this curious yellow-green glow, fear not. It may look like something unmentionable, but it tastes amazing. It's just the turmeric giving it that glow, and turmeric is good for you. Deliciously spiced and hearty, yet quick and easy - all the while making you feel like you just sidestepped Indian takeout.

Indian Spiced Lentil Stew

Adapted from this recipe on

Serves 4-6

1/2 red or yellow onion, diced
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 clove garlic, pressed
1 Tbsp diced fresh ginger
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/4 tsp ground cloves
chili pepper flakes to taste
1/2 tsp coriander seeds, smashed (optional)
1 C red lentils
2 C vegetable stock
1 C water
1 C diced red potatoes
1 can chickpeas/garbanzo beans
salt and pepper to taste
squeeze of fresh lime

Place the lentils in a fine-mesh strainer and rinse. Set aside. 

Heat olive oil in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat (I use my dutch oven). Add the onions and saute until starting to soften. 

Add the cumin, turmeric, cloves, pepper flakes and coriander and stir to coat the onions. Toast for a minute or two until spices become very aromatic. Add the garlic and ginger and stir another couple of minutes. Add the lentils and potatoes and stir to coat. 

Pour the stock and water into the pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer 10-15 minutes, until lentils and potatoes are tender. 

Stir in the rinsed and drained chickpeas. Season with salt and pepper to taste. If desired, use a potato masher (in the pot) to mash up some of the potatoes. Alternatively, use an immersion blender, food processor, or regular blender to make a smoother soup. I used the potato masher method because I don't have an immersion blender and was too lazy to transfer the soup to my food processor. 

Add a squeeze of fresh lime juice and garnish with sour cream and cilantro, if desired. This soup keeps well and makes great leftovers. I imagine it would also freeze well! 

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