Our family loves curry.
In fact, though we like experimenting with cuisine from all cultures, I would say that Indian is one of our favorites.
Now, before I go on, let me say that this lentil recipe isn't really curry – so don't run away if you are not a curry fan.
Most people who don't like curry don't like it due to its being spicy. This dish is not that, and in fact, it feels like a real comfort food to me. In fact, another recipe on my site that actually does feature curry is in fact my most requested recipe EVER.
Most Indian food, however, can be quite time consuming. So when I can get the taste of Indian spices in a fast, one pot meal, then I have the best of both worlds.
‘Cause these days, who has a lot of time to spend in the kitchen on elaborate steps? I have many other things that need to be done.
Like photo albums (please don't ask how many years behind I am. I need to start a support group for moms with empty photo albums :-).) Care to join me?
Anyhow, back to the recipe.
This recipe is adapted from a dish simply called “Red Lentils” by Southern Living.
It's a pretty “Blah” name for a truly amazing dish.
It's quick on its own, but really lickety-split in my pressure cooker. If you don't have one of these yet, put it on your Christmas list now.
I know, I should get better at planning meals, but it sure is nice to not have any idea what you are going to have for dinner at 5:30 and have dinner on the table at 6:15.
And it can be done — without packages —
In 9 minutes in the pressure cooker.
Mom is happy and my family is happy too because they aren't having popcorn, carrot sticks, and hard-boiled eggs (or sardines for my egg-allergic son) again because mom forgot to plan :-). (Did I mention that we never eat out and we don't buy processed foods :-)?)
Here are some other of my super fast recipes that are “go to's” when I'm short on time.
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Ways to Serve Curry Lentils
This dish tastes great served over rice (which, by the way, I can cook in 20 minutes flat in my pressure cooker. Woo-hoo!) I always use brown rice due to its higher nutritive qualities (UPDATE: 5/16 – we sometimes eat white rice since there is now a concern about arsenic in brown rice.
Mostly we have actually greatly reduced grains so we serve this alone or with veggies or cauliflower rice.)
It would be fabulous over gluten-free pasta or spiralized veggie noodles too.
Naan is the perfect accompaniment for this Indian Lentil recipe. If you're avoiding gluten, you can make or purchase a gluten-free naan or make this Focaccia Flax Bread for a gluten-free flatbread option.
4. Add Ins
Next time I plan to add seasoned chicken pieces to this dish. Specifically, I think that sauteing small chunks of chicken in coconut oil and my Homemade All-Purpose Seasoning would be a wonderful addition.
My Chat Masala spice mix tastes great on this. We have this on our table at all times and put it on everything. Except – ahem – desserts :-).
If you are like us and you just LOVE curry dishes, see my recipe for Sweet Curry Powder – DIY – it is real winner and great money saver!
Recipe Notes for Indian Lentils
- Onion options
Instead of an onion, you can use 2 Tbsp minced onion plus a bit of water to reconstitute.
- Broth options
Here is a great place to buy bone broth. You can also find the same brand on Amazon. Vegetable broth is also fine – see my Homemade Vegetable Broth Mix.
- Lentil OptionsAlthough this recipe was originally meant as a red lentil dish, you can use any kind of lentils and the main photos were taken of the dish made with traditional lentils. The glycemic index of red lentils is a higher so brown is a better choice if you're watching carb intake. And make sure that you read my post on How to De-Gas Beans. It's a must! The lentils in the following photo are red lentils. Note that red lentils turn yellow when cooked.
- Basil optionsYou can use fresh or dried basil, but fresh will yield a more dramatic flavor and presentation. If you choose to grow your own herbs, this post on the how to preserve herbs shows what to do with your bumper crop. If using dried, substitute in 2-3 Tbsp organic dried basil.
Easy Indian Red Lentils (vegan, gluten free)
- 3-4 Tbsp organic coconut oil (or other healthy fat)
- 1 onion (diced)
- 8 garlic cloves (minced)
- 28 oz chicken broth (3 1/2 cups) (see Recipe Notes)
- 28 oz diced tomatoes (of course, fresh is fine also)
- 2 1/2 cups lentils (rinsed)
- 1 tsp organic turmeric
- 1 tsp organic ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp organic pepper (optional. I left it out due to my youngest not liking spicy foods)
- 1/2 cup basil
- salt (to taste - I use about 2 tsp)
Melt oil in a large, heavy pot over medium heat.
Add onion and garlic. Saute 5 minutes or until the onion is soft.
Add broth and next 5 ingredients.
Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low.
Simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, approximately 30 minutes or until lentils are tender. (Red lentils will cook quicker than brown or green.) If using a pressure cooker, bring to a boil.
Place the lid on the cooker and bring up to high pressure. Cook for 9 minutes on high (you may need a few more minutes since the tomatoes counteract the cooking of the lentils slightly. Conversely, you could add the tomatoes after cooking the beans and then let the resulting dish cook for a bit).
Let pressure come down naturally. Remove lid carefully.
Stir in basil and salt to taste.
Wonderful, fast, savory Indian cuisine in no time!
Do you have a favorite go-to dish when you forgot to plan dinner?
Please share for all of us sometimes-scattered moms!