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On Fridays, my husband can come home for lunch (he works 15 minutes away), so I like to make a hot meal to give him some variety from his regular cold sandwiches. He never knows what he’ll come home to – sometimes it’s a tuna melt, sometimes it’s a stew, sometimes it’s soup. Today, it was curried lentils in tomato sauce over brown rice.
I’m on a avoid-sugar-and-white-flour kick right now, and I’m trying to stay away from bread altogether. I’ve found that cutting bread from my diet makes lunchtime tricky, so I’ve been sifting through the healthy vegetarian recipes on MarthaStewart.com searching for easy, interesting dishes that would work well for lunch – and that’s where I found this.
Granted, eating a super healthy lunch may take a bit more planning than slapping together my beloved peanut butter and jelly sandwich, but it is rewarding. Tucking into this bowl of hearty, flavorful and nutritious lentils was pretty great. It’s spicy and delicious, with just the right amount of kick. It’s very filling, and it’s loaded with good-for-you nutrients like folate, potassium and iron. Lentils are also a good source of fiber and protein. A meal that’s both incredibly healthy and incredibly delicious? I don’t want to brag, but there were some high fives after lunch.
Curried Lentils in Tomato Sauce
Adapted slightly from Martha Stewart Everyday Food, March 2007
- 2 cups dried lentils, rinsed and picked over*
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 1 piece fresh ginger (2 inches long), peeled and finely grated (my piece was big and fat so there was a lot of ginger)
- Coarse salt
- 2 teaspoons curry powder
- 1 teaspoon garam masala (optional – I used it)
- 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 jar (26 ounces) best-quality store-bought tomato sauce (I used Prego Chunky Garden Combo)
- 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice (from 1 lime)
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro, plus more for garnish (optional)
- Cooked brown rice, for serving
- In a medium pot, combine lentils with 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce to a simmer and cover. Cook for 20 – 30 minutes, topping off water as needed. Lentils are done when easily mashed with a fork.
- In a large saucepan, heat oil over medium. Add onion and ginger; season with salt. Cook, stirring frequently, until beginning to brown, 5 to 8 minutes.
- Add spices; cook, stirring, until fragrant, 30 to 60 seconds.
- Add tomato sauce, lentils, and 1 cup water. Simmer until slightly thickened, 5 to 10 minutes. Test lentils – if they are still a bit gritty as mine were, add another half cup of water and continue to simmer for 10 minutes. When the lentils are ready, stir in lime juice and cilantro; season with salt.
*The original recipe called for 2 cans of lentils, rinsed and drained.