Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Recipe: Moroccan Spiced Lentils

I am back with another lentil dish up my sleeve. We eat a lot of lentils here, both at home and in Nepal's ubiquitous dal bhat. While I do not tire of lentils, I do sometimes get bored with the standard South Asian spice medley that gives dal its signature taste -- cumin, coriander, fenugreek, etc.

Cinnamon was on my brain, so I decided to attempt a Moroccan-inspired lentil dish. The result is a richly flavored, savory-sweet meal that is great for autumn, even though it is decidedly not yet fall here (speaking of: I am ready for the cool dry season now. Thanks).

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Moroccan Inspired Lentils

This vegan recipe is rich in flavor but otherwise light, evoking the tastes of a classic autumn braise without the heavy, well, meat. Also great for fall? Leftovers that can be frozen! This recipe makes a lot of lentils, so if you can't eat through them as fast as we, consider freezing half to defrost later. 

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Yield: 8 cups


1/2 tablespoon olive oil
2 medium onions, chopped
4 garlic cloves, chopped
4 tomatoes, chopped
2 tablespoons garam masala
2 tablespoons cinnamon
1 tablespoon cumin
1/2 tablespoon ground ginger
2 cups dry green lentils
8 cups water
1 cup chopped carrots
1/4 cup raisins
1 tablespoon salt


1. Heat olive oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. Add onions and cook until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 2 more minutes. Add tomatoes and cook until soft, about 2 minutes.
2. Add garam masala, cinnamon, cumin, and ground ginger. Then add lentils and water. Bring to a boil, and then lower heat to a simmer.
3. After cooking the lentils for about 20 minutes, add carrots and raisins. Cook for 10 more minutes or until lentils are soft. Add salt (to taste).


I like to spoon these lentils over pureed cauliflower, which is delicious and so simple that it does not justify a recipe post of its own. Here's your recipe: chop one large head of cauliflower. Put it in a pot, cover with water, and boil until cauliflower is fork-tender, about 10 minutes. In a food processor, combine cooked cauliflower with a bit of water, salt, pepper, and 1/2 tablespoon olive oil until smooth. Add more or less water to reach desired consistency.

The lentils would also be great served over brown rice, quinoa, or any other grain.


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