Thursday, March 3, 2011

Red Lentils with Stewed Tomatoes

I try to keep the language clean and family-friendly around these around these parts. I never know who might decide to stop by and check out my little piece of the internet – don’t want to scare anyone off, of course. Not that I’m a total potty mouth or anything. I just like to keep it safe enough for my Grammy or my mother-in-law to read. I imagine you’d do the same.

That being said, it is with some difficulty that I describe today’s recipe to you. Stan’s exact words were, “This is freaking phenomenal.” Except he didn’t say freaking. I’ll let you use your imagination to guess what he really said. (Yeah, so maybe he’s the potty mouth in the family.) Language aside, Stan was right. These lentils are, indeed, freaking phenomenal.

This recipe is one of my favorite kinds – those that take little time and little effort and produce huge flavor. Dinner can be ready in 15 minutes (plus however long it takes water to boil where you live). When it’s done you will have bowls of warm, fragrant lentils, redolent with Indian spices, and studded with chunks of juicy stewed tomatoes. Ladled over rice or served with Naan, this healthy meal will have you going back for seconds… and possibly having to watch your language, too.

One Year Ago: Oatmeal Pancakes

Red Lentils with Stewed Tomatoes
Adapted from Dish by Trish

1 cup dried red lentils, rinsed and picked over for stones
3 1/2 cups water
1 tsp. fine-grain sea salt
1/2 tsp. turmeric
2 T. flavorless oil (canola, vegetable, etc.)
3/4 cup onion, finely chopped
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. ground coriander
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
Dash of cayenne pepper
1/2 cup canned stewed tomatoes, with their juices
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 tsp. fresh lemon juice

Optional garnish: chopped cilantro

In a large pot, bring the lentils, water, salt, and turmeric to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover the pot, and simmer the lentils until tender, about 15 minutes.

While the lentils are cooking, heat the oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, chili powder, coriander, cumin, and cayenne pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, until the onions start to soften, about 5 minutes.

Add the tomatoes, garlic, and lemon juice and cook for 3 more minutes.

Stir the onion mixture into the cooked lentils.

Serve hot, garnished with chopped cilantro if desired.

Note: While you could certainly serve these lentils like a soup/stew, I like to serve them over brown rice. Sometimes I’ll stir some cooked kale or spinach into the rice to up the nutrition even more.


  1. The trouble with lentils husband doesn't like them. Having said that, I adore them and have been looking for a way to convert the lentil-hater that I married (gasp!)and this is it. I'm going to make this for Sunday supper and serve it over rice with naan bread.

  2. LC - It's delicious with both rice and naan, so I wish you luck converting your husband!

  3. Made this for dinner two nights ago and it was delicious! I added about 1/4 cup of chopped cilantro at the end and loved it. As did my husband (who is not a huge lentil fan!).

  4. Deanna - Thanks for letting me know you liked it! I'm glad both you AND your husband were fans of the recipe :)

  5. Thanks for the recipe Katie! I'm very excited to give this a whirl. I have never had lentils but i have been wanting to try them since I have read about how good they are for you.

  6. Timyra - You're welcome! This is a great recipe to try to introduce you to lentils. Let me know how you like it!

  7. Katie, this was a hit with my lentil-hater of a husband (a miracle, I tell you)and I thoroughly enjoyed the lunchtime leftovers. This is going into my Meatless Monday rotation.

  8. LC - So glad to help with your lentil miracle!

  9. Great recipe- although mine turned out looking nothing like yours! It wasn't as pretty but still tasted great. The tomato mixture is wonderful! I've gotten lot of great recipes from your site- thanks! ---Joanna

  10. Joanna - You're welcome! What did yours look like?? I'm glad you liked it, whatever it looked like :)



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