I’m currently participating in my own winter Olympics of sorts, so please forgive that this is not being written in real time. Camp No Counselors resumed for a crazy winter session in Vermont. Since I’m not much of a skier, I hung back at the lodge yesterday and taught cooking classes. Other activities included a Chili Cook-Off, bracelet crafting, and tarot card reading. I was charged with project managing dinner for all 100 campers last night, so my classes may have been a veiled attempt at recruiting slave labor to prep the majority of the meal. I’ll give a full report when I return.
But onto the recipe at hand…
My weekly client is always passing along interesting dishes that I might not have otherwise tried. This red lentil recipe from Naturally Ella was one of them. She’s got a beautiful aesthetic and eye towards healthy dishes. We were also both featured in Food & Wine a few months ago for our healthy takes on comfort food, so I feel an affinity there.
I’m really terrible about keeping whole cumin seeds in my spice cabinet – I’ll always opt for ground versions of spices to save the extra work, even though I know they aren’t as flavorful. So my masala is kind of a bastardized version of Erin’s. But the finished dish still tastes great, so I’ll go with convenience over authenticity in this case.
My jar of red lentils had gone untouched for probably a year. So I decided to remake this red lentil recipe at home to use them up. Even with the wilted spinach, the dish kept in my fridge for over a week. I ate it alongside these burgers and as a protein-rich topping for quinoa. It’s just the kind of stick-to-your ribs without clogging your heart comfort food that I love this time of year.
I hope you had a great long weekend! Send me some good vibes for the color war apache relay in the snow today.
Red Lentil and Spinach Masala
- 1 tablespoon olive or coconut oil
- 1 small red onion, diced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1- inch fresh ginger, peeled and minced
- 1 serrano chili pepper, seeded and minced
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon garam masala
- ¼ teaspoon coriander
- One 15-ounce can diced tomatoes
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- One 15-ounce can unsweetened full fat coconut milk
- 1 cup red lentils
- 5 ounces baby spinach
- In a large stock pot or Dutch oven, heat the oil. Saute the onion over medium-high heat until soft, 5 minutes. Add the garlic, ginger, serrano, cumin, garam masala, and coriander. Cook until very fragrant, 2 minutes. Carefully pour in the tomatoes, scraping up any brown bits that formed on the bottom of the pan. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the liquid has reduced and the tomato chunks have softened, 5 minutes. Add the coconut milk and 1 cup water. Bring to a boil over high heat. Stir in the lentils and reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook until the lentils are tender, 25-35 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent the lentils from sticking to the bottom of the pan. Fold in the spinach and cook until wilted, 3 minutes. Serve alongside coconut rice.
This is a great make-ahead meal and can keep in the fridge for up to week.