Lentils, lentils and more lentils … oh my! March 22, 2010

I’m a lover of the lentil … have you guessed yet?  How could anyone hate these glorious little gems?  So easy to cook, so versatile, so delish, so cheap!  There are so many kinds to choose from too – keeping the boredom at bay.  So, after weeks of adding lentils to just about anything and everything (okay, I was on a bit of a bender you see), here two of my faves, that are ridiculously quick and beyond simple to compile:



1 cup dried green lentils

1 bay leaf

1 cup quinoa

1 tsp each turmeric, salt and coriander

¾ cup raisins or cranberries

¾ cup walnuts

2 green onions, diced

¼ cup fresh parsley (or half the amount dried)

4 Tbsp lemon juice

1 Tbsp honey

1 Tbsp  white wine vinegar

¼ tsp salt

3 Tbsp olive oil

Pepper to taste


1. Add add lentils and bay leaf to 3 cups of water and cook thoroughly (read package for specific timing).

2. Meanwhile quinoa, tumeric, coriander and salt to 2 cups of water,  bring to a boil, cover and simmer, 10-12 min.

3. Once both pots are cooked, cool then mix together.

4. In a separate bowl whisk together the lemon juice, honey, vinegar, salt, oil and pepper,

5. Stir in dressing to main grains, then add chopped walnuts, cranberries, chopped green onion and minced parsley and combine thoroughly.



1 medium onion

2 Tbsp veggie broth

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tsp ginger

½ tsp turmeric

½ tsp salt

1 cup tomatoes, diced

½ cup chickpeas (canned)

½ cup mixed beans (canned) – I used black eyed peas

1 cup cooked lentils (red cook the fastest but almost dissolve completely)

1 ½ cups water

1 cup leafy greens (I used baby spinach)


1. Sauté onion in oil for 3 min, then add garlic, ginger, turmeric, salt, tomatoes, broth, beans and lentils, simmering covered, until ingredients are softened and flavours are well combined (approx 5-10  min).

2. Add 1 cup greens, simmer again for 2 more minutes.

3. Serve hot over rice, naan, pr pita!


Rice and Peas, Peas and Rice July 31, 2009

It is Caribana weekend here in metropolis,  and in honour of this long standing glorious tradition, I am posting my take on a classic: rice and peas. There is more to this celebration than parades, whistles and sweat, there’s the delicious and cheap food.  I am a big time lover of caribbean inspired culinary delights, as they’re often ridicously tasty, cheap and easy to make.  Most of the ingrients are pantry staples, so it makes a spontaneous night of heart-and-belly-warming eats a snap. I know, I know, there aren’t any real “peas” in this dish … but hey, aren’t you as sick as I am at saying you’re having yet another dish of rice and beans?  Rice and peas just sounds nicer.


1 can (or 2 cups cooked) red kidney beans

1 can coconut milk

2 cups of brown rice, soaked overnight

1 small onion, chopped

1 clove garlic, chopped

1/4 tsp dried thyme

1 TBSP canola spoon oil


Scotch Bonnet Pepper (although this is totally optional)


1) Rinse cooked beans thoroughly, place in a pot and add coconut milk and enough water to make four cups of liquid.

2) Add in onions, garlic, thyme and oil, bring to a boil.

3) Add rice and stir for 1 minute, add hot pepper whole, by placing pepper on top and allow to simmer.

4) Reduce heat to med-low and continue to simmer for about 35 min (or until rice is cooked).

5) Remove pepper (you can discard or add it to another dish you may be making – but watch out … it’s HOT) and serve.




Kashmiri Kidney Beans and Turnips April 24, 2009

I LOVE Indian food – winter, spring, summer and fall. This fragrant and heart-warming dish is a winter staple in the Indian state of Kashmir (or so I hear – although it seems for Fall-like to me) – but can obviously be enjoyed any time of year. It is a straightforward recipe, and results in an immensely satisfying meal. It’s high in fibre and nutrients, and is low in fat and calories, so what more can a gal ask for? Serve over basmati rice – or with a warm piece of fresh Naan bread.


1 turnips, peeled and cubed

1/2 cup water

1/4 tsp salt

1 (14.5 ounce) can kidney beans, drained (but save liquid for later)

1 tbsp and 1-1/2 tsp vegetable oil

1/4 tsp whole cumin seeds

1/4 tsp whole fennel seeds

1/2 cup finely chopped red onion

1/4 tsp minced fresh ginger root

1/4 tsp minced garlic

1 cup chopped tomatoes (or use canned if you want)

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp paprika

1/4 tsp turmeric powder

1/4 tsp ground ginger

1 tbsp water

1/4 tsp garam masala


1) Place turnip into a saucepan with water and salt, bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until the turnip is soft (about 5 min).

2) Once tender, stir in kidney beans, and cook 5 min more.

3) Meanwhile, heat vegetable oil in a skillet over medium-high heat – stir in cumin and fennel, and cook until the spices toast and become fragrant, about 1 min.

4) Stir in onion, and cook until it turns golden brown, about 5 min.

5) Stir in minced ginger and garlic, cook and stir for 30 seconds, then add tomatoes and salt, and continue cooking until the mixture turns pasty.

6) Finally, stir in paprika, turmeric, ground ginger, and a bit of water (about a tbsp) – cook 2 min more.

7) Add tomato mixture to turnip, and add back in liquid from kidney bean can, and simmer 10 min.

8] Season with garam masala before serving over a bed of basmati rice!



Lentils, Sweet Potatoes, and Swiss-Chard Curry February 10, 2009

Don’t be afraid of curry, that’s my motto.  There are so many varieties, ranging from the sweet to super hot, so find one that is right for you.  I like ’em all.  This one is another work-week quick fix … and once you have it nailed down, it’ll surely become a go-to.  You can sub in a bunch of different ingredients for each major veg (try regular potatoes or spinach).  Did I mention the health benefits here?  You can guess I’m sure – just look at that ingredient list!


2 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons ginger, grated (for fresh, make sure you peel & grate first)
1 1/2 teaspoons garam masala
1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder
1 jalapeno pepper (seeded if desired), minced
4-5 cups vegetable broth
2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 4 cups)
1 1/2 cups dried lentils (I use green)
1 bay leaf
1 pound Swiss chard, center ribs removed, leaves thinly sliced (or you
can sub fresh spinach)
1 tsp salt (or to taste)
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
Finely grated zest of 1 lime
Juice of 1/2 lime


1) In large saucepan, heat oil over medium heat.
2) Add onion to pan and saute until translucent, 5 to 7 minutes.
3) Add garlic, ginger, garam masala, curry powder and jalapeno, and
cook (while stirring) for 1 minute.
4) Stir in 4 cups broth, sweet potatoes, lentils and bay leaf, then
increase heat to high and bring to a boil.
5) Once boiled, reduce heat to medium, partially cover, and simmer for
20-25 minutes.
Note – if lentils seem hard still, add up to 1/2-1 cup stock, as needed
6) Stir in chard with salt and pepper, and continue cooking until
lentils are nice and tender and chard is cooked (approx 30-40
7) Before serving, stir in cilantro, lime zest and juice – then spoon
into bowls and savor!!!lentils-for-sprouting


Aaloo Baingan August 14, 2008

Filed under: Indian,Veggie Mains — s mcdowall @ 8:38 pm
Tags: , , ,

My take on an Punjabi classic. Don’t be scared my pets, as all the ingredients are readily available at most regular run-of-the-mill grocery stores, plus if you’re not a fan of curries, this is a good place to start. Lesson the chilies if you’re not into anything too spicy. This is the right heat amount for me, but I have a HIGH tolerance for spice. You can also used canned ginger for this, and your best bet for cooking oil is either vegetable or canola.

1 tbsp cooking oil
½ tsp cumin Seeds
3 cloves of garlic (peeled & chopped)
1, 1-inch piece of ginger root (peeled and chopped)
1 green chili
1 medium onion (finely chopped)
1 medium tomato (finely chopped)
¼ tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp red chili powder (or to taste)
1 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp cumin powder
1 large potato (peeled and cut into small pieces)
3 Eggplants (cut into medium pieces)
2 cups of water
Salt and pepper to taste

1) In a large pot heat oil, add cumin seeds. and once they’re lightly browned add the chopped garlic, ginger root and whole green chili and stir for one minute.

2) Add in the chopped onions and fry until golden brown (at this point remove green chili and set aside).

3) Add chopped tomatoes and fry until the oil starts to separate and the tomatoes are soft.

4) Add in turmeric powder – fry for a minute – then add in red chili powder, coriander powder and cumin powder and mix for another minute.

5) Add in the potato pieces, fry for 5 minutes, then add the eggplant pieces and fry for another 5 minutes.

6) Add in 2 cups of water – when water comes to a boil, stir, lower heat to low, cover and let cook for about 20-30 min.

7) When eggplant and potatoes are well done, garnish with coriander leaves, mix and serve HOT!


LENTIL DHAL August 13, 2008

Some of my all-time favourite dishes are Indian or Pakistani. So many veggie options and so rich and creamy. I would eat naan all day every day if I could! It outranks chocolate for me – now that’s quite a statement! Many of these dishes are easy to make, once you get the spices and technique down. Dhal is usually made with lentils, and can be served alone, over rice or in a naan or pita. It’s super healthy too, and can be full of heat or not … that’s up to you.


1 tbsp coconut oil (you can substitute canola here, but it will detract a bit from the overall flavour)

1 med brown onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, crushed

1 tsp ginger, finely chopped

1 red chili, seeds removed and finely chopped

1 tsp Garam Masala

1/2 tsp ground turmeric

1 cup red lentils, rinsed and drained

1 x 400g can chopped tomatoes (plain is best)

2 cups water

Salt and pepper to taste


1) Heat coconut oil in a heavy pan, add onion, garlic, ginger and chili and sauté until the onion is golden

2) Add Garam Masala, turmeric and lentils and sauté for another minute.

3) Add tomatoes and water and bring to boil – then simmer, cover and cook for 15 min.

4) Salt and pepper to taste, and continue to cook until dhal has a thick consistency.

5) Serve hot! Garnish with sprigs of fresh parsley.


– keeps well in fridge for a few days

– serve over hot naan bread or over basmati rice

– for a spicier version, keep a few of the chili pepper seeds and add while simmering


Cauliflower Dahl January 20, 2008

Indian food is often a treat, as it’s mainly perceived as being super high in fats/carbs/sodium. So excuse me for being super excited about a really low fat and highly tasty version of cauliflower dal (PS: dal = red lentils). Most supermarkets now adays have many of the spices you’ll need, however if not you may need to make a trip to your local Indian grocer or Little India, if you’re lucky like me. It may seem like a lot of steps involved, but it’s actually quite easy to make, with minimal ingredients.

1 1/2 cups masoor dahl or red lentils
4 cups water
1 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp canola oil (or cooking spray)
1 tbsp panch phoran
1 large onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/8 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp ginger paste (or 1 tsp minced ginger)
16 ounces diced tomatoes (or 1 can)
1 head cauliflower, cut into small florets
1/2 cup water

1. Pick over and rinse the lentils and add them to a pot with the water and turmeric.
2. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to low.
3. Simmer until the dal is tender, about 20 to 35 minutes.
4. When done, add salt and set aside.
5. While the dal is cooking, chop and cook the vegetables – heat a large, deep skillet, and add the canola oil and shake it to spread it around.
6. Add panch phoran and stir.
7. When seeds begin to pop, add the onion, garlic, pepper flakes, and ginger paste (stir and cook until the onion softens, about 2-3 minutes).
8. Add the tomatoes, cauliflower, and water, and stir.
9. Cover and cook until the cauliflower is just tender, about 10 minutes.
11. When the dal and cauliflower are both done, add the dal to the cauliflower mixture and stir well (you might want to take a quick taste to see if the seasoning is sufficient; add more salt if needed).
12. Simmer gently for about 10 minutes to allow flavors to blend.
13. Serve hot (with or over basmatti rice is best).