We have officially entered the phase of eating from the bottom shelf of the cabinet–that’d be the dry goods shelf. The non-perishable (for a really long time) food shelf. It’s where I turn when everything else in the house is long gone, but I still want a healthy meal.
And when I want that meal to be done cooking before I graduate from PT school, I turn to lentils.
Sometimes I just don’t have the patience for dried beans.
To kick it up a notch, I decided to transform this into a pilaf with a Middle Eastern flair. With a healthy dose of garam masala (recipe here) and some canned tomatoes, this recipe went from lackluster side dish to spicy and exciting main entree.
Well, I find it exciting. I am aware that not everyone feels as passionate about ground coriander and brown rice as I do.
Brown Rice and Lentil Pilaf
- 1 onion, finely diced
- 1 T olive oil
- 1 C dried red or green lentils (I used red)
- 1 C uncooked brown rice
- 2 C broth (I used beef, but you could use chicken or veggie)
- 1 can diced tomatoes
- 1 T garam masala
- 1/2 t dried garlic (or 1 clove fresh), minced
- 1 cinnamon stick
- salt and pepper to taste
Over medium heat, sauté the onions in olive oil until browned. Once they are ready, add the spices (garam masala, garlic, and cinnamon stick) and toast for a minute or two until fragrant.
In a separate pot, bring two cups of water to boil and add the brown rice. Cook until just about tender–a little al dente is best.
Add the lentils and broth to the spices and onion. Stir and cover, allowing it to simmer on low until the broth is absorbed and the lentils are cooked (this will go faster with red lentils than green).
When the lentil mixture is ready (and the rice cooked), combine the two and stir. Add the can of tomatoes and stir in. If you want, you can add a sprinkle of sugar but it’s not necessary. Cover for a few minutes until the remaining liquid is absorbed and season with salt and pepper to taste.
My favorite way to eat lentils is to broil a green bell pepper cut in half vertically, and fill with the rice and lentil mixture.
Sadly, we had no green bell peppers.
I ran out of grocery money for the month, remember?
Don’t be like me.
We had to eat it plain–but luckily, it was still delicious (not to mention full of essential amino acids).