And besides, this vegetarian supper was absolutely delicious! I first made it a year ago with red lentils and remember it being good. But tonight's, with black lentils that hold their shape like French lentils, was stunningly delicious. And compared to many vegetarian dishes, especially often mud-brown lentil dishes, it gets high marks for color, too.
If you (or your tablemates) aren't excited about tofu, leave it out or substitute cubes of chicken breast or pork or even lamb. And while tofu made for a hearty vegetarian supper, the lentils alone would make a great bed for grilled meat or aside roasted chicken, too.
NUTRITION NOTES ... Lentils are very high in fiber, lowering the carb counts if you count NetCarbs.
NEXT TIME ... I wouldn't change a thing!
FROM THE ARCHIVES ... For 300 DAYS OF NEW VEGETABLE RECIPES, check the Recipe Box. Most-visited sections include Weight Watchers, Quick, Picks of the Months, Best Side Dishes and the favorite for oh-so-many weeks now, Secret-Ingredient Chocolate Cake.
LENTIL, PEPPER & SPINACH SUPPER
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Hands-on time: 20 minutes
Time to table: 50 minutes (but if you do use tofu, you can't really leave the kitchen)
Makes 5 cups (tonight, a cup of the lentil mixture and a half cup of rice made for a filling serving)
1 tablespoon peanut oil
1 large onion, diced
1 red pepper, diced
1 tablespoon minced garlic (from a jar or substitute 3 minced garlic cloves)
1 tablespoon minced ginger (from a jar, too, a wonder product I find at stores that carry Indian, Thai, other similar groceries)
3/4 cup lentils, rinsed well (red lentils make a creamier sauce, tonight I used black lentils from Trader Joe's which hold their shape like French lentils)
3 cups water or vegetable stock
2 teaspoons kosher salt
5 ounces fresh spinach
3 tablespoons chopped cilantro (I forgot but it's always a nice touch)
Heat the oil in a large, deep skillet over MEDIUM HIGH. (If you're not cooking the tofu, add the cumin seed, curry and cayenne now and cook for a minute before proceeding.) Add the onion and pepper as they're prepped, stirring to coat with oil and then occasionally, until soft. Stir in the garlic and ginger and cook for a minute. Add the lentils, water and salt. Bring to a boil, then cook, uncovered for about 20 minutes or until liquid is fully absorbed, stirring occasionally. Stir in the spinach until it's cooked. Stir in the cooked tofu. Remove from heat and stir in thecilantro. Serve and enjoy!
1 tablespoon peanut oil
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon curry powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (this might be too much for some palates, especially if not served with moderating rice)
12 ounces light extra-firm tofu (there's a huge calorie difference between light and full-fat)
In another skillet, heat the oil until shimmery on MEDIUM heat. Add the cumin, curry and cayenne and cook for 2 - 3 minutes, until fragrant. Dry the tofu with a paper towel, then cut into cubes. Add the tofu to the skillet and gently stir to coat with spices and oil. Let cook until browned, stirring occasionally.
Lentils only, Five Servings: 146 Cal (21% from Fat, 19% from Protein, 60% from Carb); 7 g Protein; 4 g Tot Fat; 1 g Sat Fat; 22 g Carb; 9 g Fiber; NetCarb 13; 67 mg Calcium; 1 mg Iron; 968 mg Sodium; 0 mg Cholesterol; Weight Watchers 2 points
Lentils with tofu, Five Servings: 195 Cal (30% from Fat, 23% from Protein, 46% from Carb); 12 g Protein; 7 g Tot Fat; 1 g Sat Fat; 23 g Carb; 9 g Fiber; NetCarb 14; 97 mg Calcium; 2 mg Iron; 1035 mg Sodium; 0 mg Cholesterol; Weight Watchers 4 points
Lentils and Tofu, Five Servings, each with 1/2 cup cooked rice: 316 Cal (20% from Fat, 18% from Protein, 63% from Carb); 14 g Protein; 7 g Tot Fat; 1 g Sat Fat; 50 g Carb; 9 g Fiber; NetCarb41; 100 mg Calcium; 3 mg Iron; 1035 mg Sodium; 0 mg Cholesterol; Weight Watchers 6 points
- When you see this ◄ in the title and the Recipe Box, you know the recipe's a personal favorite. Tastes vary, of course, but the mark is one indication of another vegetable recipe that's worth paying attention to.
Adapted from Gourmet June 1999