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Spiced Lentils (Good plain, excellent in these Vegetarian Tacos)

Spiced Lentils

These spiced lentils are amazing. I found the recipe online -- I wanted to make some sort of vegetarian taco and thought that lentils would be a good place to start. This recipe really appealed as did the end result illustrated above.

I followed the inspiration recipe below fairly closely, though I thought the cooking time was way off and reduced it by nearly half. I upped the spice quotient by a lot, and stirred in some braised Lacinata kale at the end, as well as some dried mint oil, both of which I made for the tacos, had leftovers of, and thought would be a bonus to the flavors of the lentils. The lentils are still really good without those two additions though.

These lentils would make a good side dish for pork - grilled chops or a roast -- or whizzed into a delectable soup, or as part of a Buddha bowl with some sort of grain and avocado, but are equally delicious plain.

The tacos below -- for which these lentils were originally made -- are also pretty incredible and I will be making them again, this time for guests. I highly recommend that you do too!

This recipe will make about three cups of cooked lentils.

1 cup lentils ( I used Beluga but French or brown will work just fine)

1 small onion, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

2 tsps cumin powder

1 tsp coriander powder

1 tsp mustard seeds ( I used yellow)

1 Tbsp olive oil

2 tsps red wine vinegar

Add the oil to a large pan along with the spices. Turn the heat to medium and heat for 30 seconds or so, stirring constantly, until the spices smell very fragrant.

Add the onion and garlic to the pan, along with some salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, for a few minutes, until the onion has started to soften and is translucent.

Add the lentils to the pan and stir to combine with the spiced onion mixture, before adding three cups of water to the pan.

Bring to a boil, lower the heat to medium-low and partially cover the pan. I checked cooking time at 18 minutes and the lentils were nearly done. Cover completely, remove from the heat, stir in the red vinegar and salt to taste, and set aside for ten minutes to finish cooking.

Drain any remaining liquid from the lentils before serving, unless making soup.

If following my lead and straying even further from the original recipe than I already did, stir in one head of Lacinata kale, that you have finely cut and cooked for five minutes in a tiny bit of olive oil and two teaspoons of olive oil along with a finely chopped clove of garlic, ana a tablespoon of hot olive oil into which you have stirred one teaspoon of dried mint, in order to release its fragrance.

Spiced Lentils

The tacos illustrated above are made with mini corn tortillas, the braised Lacinata kale with garlic described above, the lentils from the recipe above, sour cream, pickled rhubarb and Nipitella oil. Make them. You will not be sorry.

Don't be afraid of this recipe. Use whatever greens you have taking up fridge space, add the spices and alliums to a can of chickpeas from your pantry instead of to lentils. Don't have pickled rhubarb in your fridge? Why would you? Quick pickle some red onion instead. Use the Japanese pickled ginger you bought for another recipe and haven't had a use for since. Use Greek yogurt instead of the sour cream that I needed to use up. Heat up a teaspoon of dried mint in a tablespoon of olive oil if you don't have any dried Nipitella. Don't have dried mint? Chop up some fresh mint and sprinkle it over the tacos. Use tarragon instead. You catch my drift. Have fun with this recipe. It tastes like fun.

Inspiration recipe, here.


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