I arrived home from school today with no ideas for dinner. I’ve been recovering from a visit from my mother-in-law (which was great, by the way), studying for 3 exams, and revising a paper this week. As you can imagine, menu planning has been low on my list of priorities. Fortunately, after poking around in the pantry for a while and visiting my recipe box at www.allrecipes.com, I decided to give a particular recipe for lentil soup another try. The first time around, I wasn’t very impressed. Tonight, though, dinner was great! I made a lot of modifications, so I think it’s fair to say that what I’ve written below is “my” recipe.
It’s a great way to sneak in those amazingly healthy dark, leafy greens, while also benefiting from the protein and fiber in red lentils. If you’ve peeked at my other red lentil recipes, you already know that they are the easiest kind of lentil to digest, and with these spices, they are even kinder to the tummy. As always, if you are especially sensitive, consider soaking your lentils for at least 12 hours, then dramatically reduce the amount of liquid in the recipe. Diabetics, hypoglycemics, vegans, and health-conscious people, this recipe is for you!
Spicy Red Lentil and Kale Stew
1 to 2 tablespoons virgin, unrefined coconut oil (or ghee or extra virgin olive oil)
1 large onion, chopped
4 large garlic cloves, minced
2 cups red lentils, rinsed and drained
2 large tomatoes, seeded and chopped
6 cups water
2 teaspoons dried basil
1.5 teaspoons ground cardamom
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper, according to your heat preference
1/2 teaspoon curry powder
3 to 5 cups chopped kale
1 tablespoon high-quality sea salt
In a Dutch oven or a wide and deep saute pan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and saute until very tender.
Stir in the lentils, tomatoes, water, and all the seasonings. Bring to a boil, then cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 35 minutes.
Toss in the kale and salt, combine thoroughly, and cook for 10 more minutes.
Adjust seasonings and serve.
NOTE: If you do not have kale, I’m sure that other dark, leafy greens would be delicious as well. Collard greens, Swiss chard, and spinach would probably make good substitutions. Also, canned diced tomatoes work just fine in place of the fresh ones.