Tag Archives: greens

Spinach and Beluga Lentils with Quinoa

During a recent visit to Rainbow grocery in SF, I picked up some beluga lentils. These tiny, black lentils cook quickly and dont loose shape. I had eaten beluga lentils before, but never cooked them myself. My fail-safe way of trying out any new variety of dal or any new type of green leaves is to cook them together – like a spinach-dal. When served on a bed of quinoa, it makes for a highly satisfying and nutritionally balanced meal.

Once the lentils are cooked, this dish comes together in 15 minutes. There used to be a time when every greens ‘n’ dal I would make would comprise of onions, tomatoes, ginger, garlic and tons of dry spices, with the same formula used over and over again. But lately, I’ve come to realize that omitting a bunch of these ingredients and simplifying the process leads to a highly flavorful and vibrantly green entree. 

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Ingredients (measurements are very flexible)

  • Chopped Spinach, frozen – 1 1lb. packet (of course you can use fresh)
  • Tomato – 1, medium sized, chopped (~ ½ cup)
  • Green chilies – 1, minced (I used a super-sized serrano chilie)
  • Fresh Red chilies – 2, minced (optional)
  • Ginger-garlic paste – 2T
  • Beluga Lentils – ¾ cup
  • Salt – to taste
  • Oil – 1T
  • Asafetida – A pinch

Directions

  • Cook/pressure cook beluga lentils in sufficient water to cover it. 
  • Heat oil in a pot and oil is hot, add ginger-garlic paste; stir it around.
  • Add asafetida, minced chilies and tomatoes; stir and let cook in medium heat.
  • Add spinach and about ½ cup of water and cook for about 5-7 minutes, until spinach is soft and mixture is bubbling.
  • Add beluga lentils and salt to taste and cook for 5 more minutes.
  • Serve hot with quinoa or rice.

Easy Dal and Collard Greens

As a vegan, I often get asked where I get my calcium from. I must admit that getting the recommended amount of Calcium takes a bit more mindfulness than I would like to let on, but I have come to realize that this applies to everyone, no matter what their dietary restrictions. Mindfulness in eating healthfully is key, no matter what the diet. Of course I have a bottle of Calcium supplements and I drink a lot of fortified non dairy milk, but I feel most satisfied when I get my Calcium through leafy greens. I had bought of bunch of Collards after reading Madhur Jaffrey’s recipe for Collard greens in her book World-of-the-east Vegetarian, which is really a delightful book. Its vegetarian, but nearly every recipe is adaptable to be vegan.

The collard greens (or Haak as its called in the book) is very simply cooked – stir fried with mustard oil and then cooked until tender with nothing but salt, asafetida, hot red chillis and green chillis to add to its flavor. The recipe calls for ½ cup of oil, while I only used 1 tbsp for about 4 loosely packed cups of chopped collards. I appreciated the simplicity of the dish as I could detect each and every ingredient.

Based on a quick research, I cooked one average sized bunch of collards and it has about a 5 cup pre-cook yield, so at least 300mg of Calcium to estimate conservatively.

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And the protein for the day was a very simple and really quick dal that came together in under 30 minutes. A simple search will result in a million variations for making dal, but here is my go-to recipe when I need it really quick. My super easy version, which is really perfect after a long day’s work!

Ingredients and Directions For Ridiculously Easy Dal:

  1. Pressure cook a cup of dal – I used ½ masoor dal and ½  mung dal (both skinned and split) with salt and turmeric. These cook really really fast, and hence my lentils of choice.
  2. In the meanwhile, chop ½ an onion, ½ a tomato and 1-2 green chilies very finely & do something else while dal cooks.
  3. After dal is cooked, heat 2 tsp of oil and add 1 tsp cumin and 1 tsp mustard seeds when the oil is hot (med-high heat).
  4. Add chopped onion, green chilies and 1 tbsp of ginger-garlic paste and let it brown a bit. 3-5 minutes
  5. Add tomato and stir another minute.
  6. Now add dal + 1 cup of water or more if you like it a thinner consistency.
  7. Here is where you go all out with spices: I used cayenne to taste, 1 tsp amchoor powder, ½ tsp cumin and ½ tsp coriander powder.
  8. Close the pot, bring to a boil, garnish generously with finely chopped cilantro and done!
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We had this with store-bought rotis and an evening of Netflix and quickly called it a night!