Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Lentils with Sun Dried Tomatoes & Spinach

This is not a perfected recipe.  It's more of a recipe posted to show what you can do with things that are just in your pantry and fridge.

Lentils with Sun Dried Tomatoes, Spinach, and Ham

Makes four side dish servings

8 sun dried tomatoes (the dried type)
1 cup lentils (I prefer the red ones)
4 bay leaves
6 oz frozen spinach (usually one 85g serving from the bag)
2 tsp butter or olive oil
2 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp fenugreek powder - or a commercial curry powder
Salt to taste


Bring a cup of water to a boil.  Cover the tomatoes with the boiling water and set aside.

Rinse your lentils, then place them in a saucepan and cover with water.  I was planning to add salty ham to the lentils, so I didn't add any salt at this point.  Lentils break up a bit when cooking (unlike beans), so salting them after cooking works pretty well. 

Add the bay leaves and bring to a simmer. Red lentils cook pretty quickly, so check them after 10-12 minutes.  Brown lentils take 20-30 minutes, but check anyway.  Add water as necessary.

When the lentils are tender, add the frozen spinach and stir.  Cover the pan and turn the heat down to low for 5 minutes.

Remove the tomatoes from the hot water and chop or cut them into slivers.  Add the tomatoes to the lentil mixture.

Heat a small skillet over medium high heat.  Add the butter or olive oil.  Add the cumin seeds, stirring constantly until the are dark and very fragrant.  Stir in the fenugreek powder and let it become fragrant. If this is a side dish (no meat), scrape the spices into the lentils, then deglaze the pan with a little water to get the good stuff.  Stir well.

Or, if you are going to add some chopped or shredded meat TO the lentils, you can heat them in the pan with the spices.  So, if that's you, add the meat and heat through.  When it's hot, add the meat mixture to the lentils.  Deglaze the pan with a little water and pour it into the lentils, stirring well.

If they are soupy from the water, simmer a few minutes, uncovered, then salt to taste.

Serve and eat.  I was out of yogurt, but that would have been an excellent garnish on the top.

The picture doesn't do it justice, but my talent is not in snapping pictures of food.  I'll be importing that talent from Eastern Europe.

Nutrition, per serving

Calories 213, Fat 3, Carbs 33, Fiber 16, Protein 15


Red lentils cook faster than brown, but overcooked, can get mushy, fast.  You choose, red or brown.  Both are good.

Use any leftover meat you like.  Shredded chicken, ham, or pork are all good here.  I suppose two sunny side up eggs would be good, too!

Oil packed sun dried tomatoes would be fine, but will obviously add some fat.  Not a problem, just know it.

Fenugreek is a major component in most supermarket curry powders, which are merely blends of spices.  We're not going for perfection here.  Use it if you got it.  I have multiple jars of curry powder in my cupboard, so sometimes I use it, too.


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