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Friday Tip*|Easy Meals (part two)

Happy Friday!

Keeping with our easy meals theme, I’m resurrecting a recipe that I’ve posted before.  Since we’re doing easy this month,  I think that applies to me too.

Lentils are extremely nutritious and very easy to make.  It’s just a matter of simmering with some spices (turmeric and salt) and then finishing with oil.  Brown lentils are super healthy, but they take a while – about 45 minutes to an hour.  Their cousin, pink lentils** (which you can see are actually orange) however, take about 10-15 minutes.  In fact, this light meal (which doubles as a nice snack) can be made in about 20 minutes, and it only takes that long because you need 20 minutes to make rice.

Simple, easy, delicious and pretty healthy.  Oh, and a perfect protein (legume and grain) and vegan to boot.  How’s that for covered bases?

Hope that’s helpful!

Cheers.

Indian Spiced Pink Lentils

1 cup pink lentils
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon salt
4 cups water
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 dried red chilies
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Juice of 1/2 lemon

Rinse the lentils and pick out any weird stuff (like rocks).  Drain them really well and put them in a med-small sauce pan.  Add turmeric and salt and water.  Bring to a boil, skim off the foamy part (although I don’t know why you need to do that – if you skip the skimming and nothing bad happens, let me know).  Lower the heat to a simmer and cook for about 15 minutes, covered.

Whisk lentils to break them up into a sort of chunky puree.  Simmer uncovered for another few minutes and let it get thicker.  Meanwhile, heat the oil and cumin in a small frying pan.  After about two minutes (seeds are toasty but not burned!), add the chilies and cook for another 30 seconds.  Take the pan off heat, maybe add a little more oil to cool it down (just a little), add the cayenne pepper and stir.  Add this to the lentils.  Add the lemon juice and gently stir.

Note – this stuff will thicken up as it sits around, and I think it gets better as it does.  It’s pretty thin when you first take it off the stove.  If you want to make it to eat now and like it thicker, try taking away one cup of water.  You can always add more if you need to thin it out.  Just keep an eye on it as it simmers to make sure that it doesn’t burn.

Serving this over rice is great.  You can eat it by itself as well or with some flatbread, which is a real treat!

*My schedule has changed recently and consequently, the Friday Tip may change days.  Stay tuned.
**If my world-wide-interweb sources are correct, pink lentils are skinned and split massour lentils, which are very similar to brown lentils.  I believe this is why brown lentils have considerably more fiber (over twice as much – I think it comes from their skins).  But both varieties are excellent, low-fat sources of protein.  If you need to watch your fat intake, you can use less oil in the finishing of the lentils.  I think I’ve already halved the amount from the original recipe, but you could probably do 1 TBSP of oil.  You just need enough to fry the spices.

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