Spicy Red Lentils

This spicy and warm dish is perfect for cooler weather but is great any time of year. It is a rich, hearty, nourishing and satisfying dish.


Clockwise from bottom left: cooked lentils, coriander, uncooked lentils, turmeric and cumin

I started incorporating lentils into my plant-based diet as an alternative to beans. I love beans but was starting to get a little bored with them. At the same time I began learning about ayurvedic eating and lentils are essential in ayurveda because they are easily digestable. Of all the many colored lentils, red lentils are my favorite. They have a rich, mellow flavor that pairs exceptionally well with the sweet potatoes in this recipe. I also love the color scheme of the red lentils with the sweet potatoes and warm-hued spices.



Sauteed sweet potatoes and onion
Minced garlic and ginger and spices
Rinsed lentils
Lentils, spices, sweet potatoes and onion


Simmering the lentils, vegetables and spices

Ingredients


2 Tbsp coconut oil

1 cup finely chopped onion

2 cups finely diced sweet potato

2 tsp ground ginger

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 cup red lentils

2 tsp ground coriander

2 tsp ground cumin

2 tsp ground turmeric

Couple dashes of cayenne pepper (more or less, depending on heat preference)

1 cup canned diced tomatoes

Salt


Optional:

1 15 oz can lite coconut milk


1. In a large saucepan over medium-low heat, heat oil, and sauté onion until softened. Add sweet potato, and sauté for about 5 minutes. Add minced garlic; stir, and reduce heat to low.


2. Add lentils, coriander, cumin, turmeric, ground ginger and red pepper to pan. Stir until lentils are well coated with oil. Add tomatoes and 4 cups water. Raise heat to bring to a boil, then reduce heat until mixture is at a fast simmer. Cook uncovered until lentils and potatoes are soft, stirring occasionally, about 25 minutes.


3. Season to taste with salt, and continue to simmer until mixture has thickened, about 10 minutes. Whisk to blend lentils and sweet potatoes. If lentils are too soupy, increase heat and cook for a little longer.


If using coconut milk, add now and simmer 5-10 minutes more until well incorporated and hot.


4. To serve, place lentils in a serving bowl and sprinkle with chopped cilantro. If desired, shave thin strips of fresh coconut on top. Serve hot, by itself or over hot basmati rice.


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