Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Lentils and Rice

I found these colourful mixed lentils in the Indian food section of our supermarket this week. Lentils cook quickly and do not need pre-soaking. They are ideal for a quick supper. I planned to make Mom's Goulash for my husband's dinner and modified the recipe to make this vegetarian version. It turned out very well and both dishes took about 40 minutes from start to finish.

1/2 onion, chopped
1/2 bell pepper chopped
1-2 tsp oil
1 cup lentils
5 cups water
1 tsp salt
1 tsp dried oregano, thyme
1/2 tsp hot pepper flakes

14 oz canned stewed tomatoes

1 cup basmati rice

1 zucchini, sliced or diced
1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
2 cups shredded greens (I used mustard greens)

Heat oil in wok or large pan. Cook onions and peppers until softened. Add lentils and stir into the oil and vegetable mixture. Add salt and spices. (change the spice combination if desired)
Add water and bring to a boil. Turn down heat and simmer lentils for about 15 minutes until they are partially cooked. Add tomatoes and rice and continue to cook until rice and lentils are soft. Add more water if necessary. Add zucchini, mushrooms and greens (or any other combination of quick-cooking vegetables) and simmer until they are done and the liquid is absorbed. Adjust seasonings if necessary.

Makes 4-6 main servings, or 8 side dishes. We served it with cabbage and onion slaw.

(The lentil and rice mixture, without the last group of vegetables, is the right texture and consistency for making a filling for cabbage rolls. I have tried a vegan cabbage roll filling which tasted "OK" but looked very unappetizing. I liked the look of this combination and may try it with some blanched cabbage stored in my freezer)

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