This is my kind of comfort food. All the flavour of a take away curry with none of the fat. It is easy, quick to cook (after the chopping) and really delicious. You could serve it with some whole grain rice if you like or poppadoms but on its own is just fine and filling enough. The soft spicy lentils with the irony richness of the spinach are topped off with toasted crunchy cashews, fragrant coriander and all the flavours are brightened by the zingy lime juice.
Lentil & Spinach Dhal with Cashews & Coriander
serves 3, vegan, gluten-free
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
- 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
- 1/2 tsp panch pooran (an Indian whole spice mix) use fennel seeds if you can’t get any
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 sticks celery, chopped
- 1 carrot, finely diced
- salt & black pepper
- 1 chilli, finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 tbsp minced ginger
- 1/2 tsp turmeric
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- 1/2 tsp garam masala
- about 250 ml veg stock
- a 400 gr jar/ tin cooked lentils, rinsed
- a tin of chopped tomatoes 400 gr
- about 150 gr fresh spinach leaves (about half a bag)
- 125 gr cashew nuts, toasted in a dry pan
- 1 tbsp lime juice (about 1/2 a lime) and some wedges to serve
- a handful of fresh coriander, chopped and leaves for garnish
Heat the oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat. Add the cumin seeds, mustard seeds and panch pooran/fennel seeds until they start to pop. Then stir in the onions, celery, carrot, a big pinch of salt & grinding of black pepper. Cook for about 3 minutes until softened but not browned then add the garlic, ginger and chilli and cook for another minute being careful not to burn the garlic. Add in the ground spices and a splash of stock if it seems dry and cook for another minute.
Tip in the lentils, tomatoes, veg stock and bring to the boil. Simmer for about 20 minutes then add the spinach, put the lid on and cook for another few minutes until the spinach has just wilted. Season with salt, stir through the chopped coriander and lime juice and taste for seasoning.
Serve in warmed bowls sprinkled with a handful of toasted cashew nuts and coriander leaves with some extra lime wedges on the side.
From the lentils you get an excellent balance of protein and complex carbohydrate as well as iron, B vitamins and soluble fibre that provides sustained energy and balance blood sugar levels. The carrots & spinach are super rich in beta carotene, which helps to protect the body from cancer and benefits the skin. The spinach also provides lots of vitamin C, folate and iron. Tinned tomatoes contain lycopene, another powerful anticancer nutrient and the cashew nuts supply protein, zinc & fibre.
I really didn’t know it was this easy to eat more healthily. I thought it would be a lot more difficult to give up cheese but I really don’t miss it and, as I said yesterday, I am not hungry, which is amazing if you know me. I am always hungry!! If you are not interested in the health benefits just ignore the paragraph above and enjoy the food. I just think it’s surprising/interesting how many good nutrients you can get from food and how good it tastes. And I haven’t even started on the health benefits of turmeric yet…..
Buen fin de semana!!