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Friday, November 11, 2016

Random Food Fridays - Red Lentil Coconut Dahl and Raisin Almond Quinoa

It really is Fall here in the Valley. Our street-side leaf pick-up has begun. Chinese pistache and liquidambar trees are alight. Our big ol' plane trees are dropping their giant, leathery leaves. There is no nip in the air. Not yet. This is California, after all. We're expecting a high of 77 tomorrow. I'm ready for some chill!

I'm also ready for some soup! This dahl is not quite soup, but it is an amalgam of this red lentil soup recipe from Under Cover Caterer and this recipe from kiwiandbean. It is hearty and spicy and a little bit sweet. Like many of the recipes I share, this is one you can make your own.

Red lentils are easy to work with and a great dried legume for beginners. There is no presoaking and I've never had to do any of the sorting or washing that is necessary with larger beans.

Also, they are pretty.

We've been moving into lower carb eating these days. (More to come on that situation.) However, I know that I can never go so low-carb as to give up beans. This dish is full of fiber, nutrients and healthy fats and spices. This is my idea of real comfort food.

Red Lentil Coconut Dahl
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 cup diced onion
1 cup diced carrot
1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
2 large cloves of garlic, minced
2 tsp. sweet curry powder (I like Penzey's)
1 tsp. turmeric powder
1 tsp. dried ground cumin
1 tbsp. fresh grated ginger
2 tbsp. tomato paste
1 15 oz. can diced tomatoes and their juice
1 can full fat coconut milk (around 13 oz.)
3 cups water
1/4 cup unsweetened dried finely shredded coconut
1 1/2 cups dried red lentils
1 tbsp. lemon juice
t tsp. hot sauce (I like Tapitio)
Salt and Pepper
2 tbsp. butter or coconut oil

Heat the oil in a large pot. Add the onion, carrot, bell pepper and garlic. Saute over medium heat until beginning to turn translucent. Add the spices and stir to coat the veggies. Stir and cook for a minute or so, until the spices become fragrant. Add the tomato paste, diced tomatoes, coconut milk and water. Increase heat and bring to a boil. Stir in the lentils. Return to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, stirring often, until it is thick and the lentils are tender. Add salt, pepper, lemon juice and hot sauce to taste. (To my palate, beans need salt, so don't be shy.) Once the seasoning is to your liking, finish by stirring in the butter or coconut oil. Serve with hot grains of some sort. Try this quinoa:

Raisin Almond Quinoa
2 cups flavorful broth - chicken or veggie
1 tsp. diced dried onion
1/4 cup raisins
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
Salt, to taste (omit if your broth is salted)
1 cup quinoa
1/4 cup slivered almonds

Place the broth in a medium sized pot with a tight fitting lid. Add the dried onion, raisins, cinnamon and salt. Bring to a boil. Stir in the quinoa. Cover and reduce heat to low. Allow to cook, covered for 15 minutes. Remove lid, fluff and stir in the almonds.

This is a perfect compliment to this red lentil dish, but is a quick and easy side dish for any meal.

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