Dal Makhni

I love lentils. They’re cheap to buy and easy to prepare. They’re also super healthy. Combine them with some fragrant spices, tomatoes, and a cashew cream sauce, and you’ve got yourself a delicious, Indian-inspired dish that is sure to please.

I adapted this recipe from the Vegan Yum Yum cookbook, which is one of my favorites. I highly recommend it if you’re thinking of becoming vegan or just looking for simple vegan recipes. Lauren Ulm’s food is very simple in its ingredients and preparation, making it a good starting point before moving on to more involved cookbooks, like, say, Veganomicon.

Dal Makhni

Serves 2 + leftovers

Ingredients:

2 cups long-grain brown rice
1 tbsp Earth Balance margarine
2 cups green lentils
8 cups water
1/2 cup canola or vegetable oil
1 cup chopped yellow onion
4 whole cloves
1 cinnamon stick
2 bay leaves
4 green cardamom pods
1 2-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and minced
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 28 oz. can of diced tomatoes
1 tsp salt
1 cup raw cashews
3/4 cup water

Directions:

In two separate pots, cook both the lentils and rice in 4 cups of water, each. Add the Earth Balance to the rice. Both should take about 40 minutes to cook.

After the rice and lentils have cooked for about 20 minutes, go ahead and heat the oil in a large, deep skillet (I used a soup pot). Add the onion, and cook for about 15 to 20 minutes, or until the onions start to brown and caramelize. Stir constantly and keep an eye on them to prevent the onions from burning. After they’ve browned, add the cloves, cinnamon stick, bay leaves, and cardamom pods and fry for 2 minutes. Next, add the ginger and garlic and cook for 2 more minutes.

Add the tomatoes and salt and simmer for about 5 minutes, then add the cooked lentils to the pot. Add a 1/2 cup of water if the mixture is too thick.

Blend the cashews in a blender or food processor, and slowly add the water until it forms a creamy sauce. Add the cream to the lentil mixture and reserve some on the side for an extra dollop on top.

Serve over rice.

Enjoy!

Satisfying Sleek

I love VegNews. Whenever I’m feeling a little blah about cooking, I like to look to past and current issues of the magazine for inspiration. Unlike Vegetarian Times, which I also love, VegNews is 100 percent vegan. It’s the perfect mix of recipes, articles, facts about veganism, and product reviews.

The most current issue arrived in my mailbox just a few days ago and it does not disappoint. The first recipe that I spotted was this Satisfying Sleek. It’s a Lebanese pilaf made from bulgar wheat, black-eyed peas, kale or swiss chard, and a baharat spice blend that consists of black pepper, coriander, cumin, fenugreek, ground ginger, cinnamon, and cardamom. Unfortunately, I could not locate fenugreek at the grocery stores in my neighborhood. I’m sure I could find some at one of our Middle Eastern grocery stores, but I didn’t have the time to drive across town to get it. So, I just left it out.

Anyway, the pilaf is surprisingly flavorful despite its simple ingredients, and it smells incredible! Aromas from the spice mixture filled my kitchen. I doubled the original recipe so that we would have leftovers for dinner the next day. I also served it with a dollop of hummus and lavash bread that were leftover from our Roasted Red Pepper and Hummus Wraps.

Satisfying Sleek (adapted from VegNews)

Serves 2 + leftovers

Ingredients:

1 cup bulgar wheat
3 cups vegetable broth
2 tbsp olive oil
2 large onions, finely chopped
4 cups swiss chard or kale (I used kale)
6 scallions, chopped
4 tsp baharat spice blend (see below)
2 15 oz. cans of black-eyed peas, drained and rinsed
4 tbsp fresh lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste

Baharat Spice Blend:

1 tbsp ground black pepper
2 tsp ground coriander
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground fenugreek
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cardamom

Directions:

Place bulgar into a large bowl, cover with the vegetable broth and set aside for 30 minutes.

In a large pot, heat the oil over medium heat and add the onions. Cook until soft. Add the kale, scallions, black-eyed peas, spice blend, and bulgar mixture to the pot and bring what liquid is there to a boil (my bulgar had soaked up most of the broth, so I added a half cup of water to the pot). Turn the heat to low, cover, and simmer for about 10 minutes.

Stir in the lemon juice and season with the salt and pepper.

Serve with hummus and lavash bread or pita.

Enjoy!