Tag Archives: lentils

Quinoa Taters

mushroom walnut loaf, quinoa mashed potatoes, sesame green beans, cornbread

The pinnacle of my dining-out experiences this week was the deliciously square meal pictured above: mushroom walnut loaf and quinoa mashed potatoes topped with delicious vegan gravy. It’s served beside sesame green beans and cornbread. This is one of the best meals I’ve ever had, at the Red Herring or otherwise.

These mashed potatoes… with red quinoa? Yes, please. The next time you think someone’s about to ask, “where do you get your protein?”, put a plate of these in front of them (with gravy, of course) and they’ll be too busy inhaling them to ask. (Quinoa is a protein-rich grain – 8 grams per cup, cooked. A medium red potato with skin on has 4 grams too.)

quinoa taters

Let’s have a close-up shot of those taters, shall we? The camera loves you, baby.

Indian Lentils + Coconut Makhani Sauce – Failed Ravioli = Soup

makhani lentil soup

There’s a best practice in debugging computer programs that recommends changing only one variable at a time in order to isolate the problem. I’ve also found this to be true when trying new ingredients, techniques, and combinations in cooking: try only one new thing at a time!

Failure to follow this rule resulted in some really bad ravioli last weekend. My vision was to combine Indian flavors in an Italian preparation: Indian-spiced lentils and carrots, stuffed into a chickpea flour ravioli, topped with a creamy makhani sauce made with coconut milk.

I’ve never made fresh pasta, or worked with chickpea flour. The result? Gummy, chewy, too-thick pasta with an odd, beany flavor. Not good.

At least the other components of the dish worked well on their own. These Indian-spiced French green lentils were simple to make and worked well as a side dish later in the week. The Coconut Makhani Sauce tasted like a warmly-spiced, slightly creamy tomato soup. They worked well together, too!

French lentilsLentils are fantastic. These are French green lentils, prior to cooking.

I’m offering the lentils and sauce as separate recipes. If you have other uses for one of the recipes, please share them!

Indian Spiced French Lentils

Ingredients:
1 tsp olive oil
1 1/4 cup french lentils, sorted and rinsed
2 cups vegetable broth
1 medium white onion, diced
1 large carrot, shredded (about 3/4 cup)
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp ground coriander
2 tsp ground cumin
2 black cardamom pods

Instructions:
In a saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion, carrot, garlic, cinnamon, coriander, cumin and cardamom pods and sauté until tender. Add lentils and broth, and stir to combine. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes, or until lentils are tender. Do not overcook lentils, or they will become mushy. Cooking time will depend on the age of your lentils. Older lentils are generally more dry and may take longer to cook, or require a bit more water.

Serve with rice, or add to Coconut Makhani Sauce to create a soup.

Coconut Makhani Sauce

Ingredients:
1/4 cup Earth Balance, melted
1/4 cup ginger, finely minced
6-7 garlic cloves, pressed
2 black cardamom pods
1 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp celery seed, crushed
5  cups tomato sauce
1/8 tsp cayenne
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon powder
Salt to taste
1 14 oz can coconut milk

Instructions:
Heat Earth Balance in a saucepan. Add cinnamon, cardamom pods, and mustard seed.

Once the seeds start to sizzle, add ginger, garlic, salt, and cayenne. Cook until small bubbles form on surface of the mixture.

Add tomato paste or tomato puree, cinnamon powder and celery seed.

Simmer the sauce for about 30 minutes, until reduced by about one third.

Just before serving, whisk in coconut milk and simmer for about 5 minutes.