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Posts Tagged ‘lentils’

We are so lucky to have a great year-round market here in Charlotte that features local farmers, specialty food and craft vendors. I try to make it to the Atherton Mill Market a couple of times a month during the winter to pick up fresh eggs, local cheeses and whatever winter produce looks good.

My produce purchases have featured a lot of greens, sweet potatoes and various winter squash. I love all of these foods but I’m guilty of sticking to the same preparation methods due to ease and lack of time. I actually had some downtime last night to spend in the kitchen so I started researching recipes that used the ingredients I had on hand and found an amazing sounding vegetarian curry on Smitten Kitchen.

Deb’s recipe was for Curried Lentils and Sweet Potatoes with Swiss Chard. I used her recipe as a guide but made quite a few changes based on what I had on hand in the kitchen. I used collards instead of swiss chard but I think any winter green would work well in this dish. I also omitted some ingredients that I didn’t have and substituted others. The resulting dish was still incredible and I couldn’t get over how well all of the flavors came together. I am a big fan of curry and I loved this vegetarian combo that was protein-packed thanks to the lentils.

I served the curry over brown rice and topped it with plain Greek yogurt and a sprinkle of almonds. The Greek yogurt was a nice touch to cool it down a bit (I was a little heavy handed with the cayenne pepper – I love spice!). I can only imagine that the leftovers will be even better after the flavors have a chance to develop even more with time.

Curried Lentils and Sweet Potatoes with Greens
(Recipe adapted from Smitten Kitchen, original source The New York Times)

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 medium onion, diced
1 large garlic clove, minced
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger (or 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, peeled and grated – I love fresh ginger but didn’t have any)
3/4 teaspoons garam masala
3/4 teaspoons curry powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 to 3 cups vegetable broth as needed
1 sweet potato, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
3/4 cup dried lentils (I used green)
1 bay leaf
1/2 pound greens such as swiss chard, collards, kale, etc., center ribs removed and leaves thinly sliced (I used about 7 big leaves)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, or more to taste
Zest of 1/2 lime
1 tablespoon lime juice
Plain Greek yogurt and sliced almonds for topping, if desired

Directions:

Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and cook until soft and translucent, about 5-7 minutes. Add the garlic, ginger, gramam masala, curry powder and cayenne and sauté, stirring constantly, for about one minute. Will be very fragrant.

Stir in 2 cups of broth, sweet potatoes, lentils and bay leaf. Increase to high heat and bring mixture to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to medium and partially cover (leave the lid ajar). Simmer for 25 minutes. (If lentils soak up all the broth, add up to 1 more cup of stock, slowly, as needed.) Stir in greens and salt and continue cooking until lentils and greens are tender. Start checking after about 25 minutes. It can take up to 45 depending on your greens and lentils.

Just before serving, stir in lime zest and juice. Serve over desired base – rice, quinoa, etc. or on its own. Top with garnishes of your choice.

Yield: 2-3 main course servings

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I love everything about summer dinners. Eating outdoors, using herbs from the garden, farmer’s market veggies and grilling. I enjoy entertaining during the summer. Everything is simple but fresh and very relaxed. We had friends over for dinner last weekend and I was able to spend the evening chatting rather than rushing around in the kitchen. The appetizer and side dish were made a head of time and the main and vegetable were done on the grill. It doesn’t get better than that!

While looking for side dishes that could be prepared ahead of time, I came across this Mediterranean Lentil and Couscous Salad. First, I have a serious fondness for anything that involves Mediterranean flavors and liked that that base of the salad was lentils and couscous. The inclusion of tomatoes, feta, arugula and fresh herbs really made this stand out. Second, I have an appreciation for recipes from Gourmet and usually find them to be winners.

I let the salad sit overnight to really let the flavors develop. It was a hit with our guests and the perfect side for a summer cookout. I enjoyed the leftovers for lunch the next few days!

Mediterranean Lentil and Couscous Salad
(Recipe source Gourmet magazine)

Ingredients:

1 cup French green or brown lentils
3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 1/4 cups water
1 cup couscous (I used whole wheat)
1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 large garlic clove, minced and mashed to a paste with 1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup fresh mint leaves, chopped
1 bunch arugula, stems discarded and leaves washed well, spun dry and chopped
2 cups cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup kalamata olives, pitted and chopped
1 cup crumbled feta
1/4 cup fresh basil, julienned

Directions:

Place lentils in a small saucepan and cover with 2 inches of water. Bring to a simmer and cook for 15-20 minutes or until lentils are tender but not falling apart. Drain and transfer to a bowl. Stir in one tablespoon vinegar and salt and pepper to taste. Cool lentils completely.

In a saucepan, bring water to a boil and add couscous and salt. Remove from heat and let couscous stand, covered, 5 minutes. Fluff couscous with a fork and transfer to a large bowl. Stir in 1 tablespoon oil and cool completely.

In a small bowl, whisk together garlic paste, remaining 2 tablespoons vinegar, remaining 3 tablespoons oil and salt and pepper to taste. Stir lentils and dressing into couscous. Chill salad, covered, at least 3 hours and up to 24.

Just before serving, stir in remaining ingredients, top with basil and season with salt and pepper. At this time I also added another drizzle of olive oil and a splash of vinegar but that’s totally optional.

Yield: 8 servings

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