$3.91 RECIPE / $0.98 SERVING
Lentils are inexpensive, simple to prepare, and flavorless.
This week, I decided to prepare one of my favorite spiced lentils with carrots. Warm cumin, garlic, and ginger combine with the subtle sweetness of ginger, cinnamon, and carrots to create an extraordinary flavor.
On a bed of polenta, rice, or mashed sweet potatoes, serve these spiced lentils with their sauce. You will be in lentil nirvana.
SEASONED BUT NOT HOT
These lentils are seasoned with a variety of warm, sweet, and savory spices, but are neither spicy nor hot.
I did add a quarter teaspoon of crushed red pepper to the mixture, which gives the finish a tiny kick, but I wouldn’t call it hot by any means. If you are sensitive to hot flavors, you can decrease or omit the crushed red pepper.
WHAT KIND OF LENTILS TO USE
This recipe calls for either brown or green lentils (not French green lentils, which take much longer to cook). This sort of lentil softens after simmering for 20 to 30 minutes and retains its shape.
Soaking is not necessary. I do not recommend red, orange, or yellow lentils for this dish since they break down quickly when cooked and will leave you with a texture similar to mush or porridge.
HOW TO DISPLAY SPICED LENTILS
You may serve these lentils on their own in a bowl with crusty bread for dipping, or you can spoon them over any type of starch.
Mine was served over a cornmeal mash (similar to polenta or grits), but you could also serve them over rice, mashed white potatoes or sweet potatoes, farro, or any other grain you want.
These lentils with spices would make an excellent vegetarian or vegan meal prep, in my opinion.
They will store nicely in the refrigerator for four to five days, and reheating in the microwave should be rapid. Additionally, they freeze well, allowing you to save a few extra parts in the freezer.
SPICED LENTILS WITH CARROTS
- 1 yellow onion ($0.32)
- 4 cloves of garlic ($0.32)
- 1 tsp fresh grated ginger ($0.10)
- 4 carrots (about 2 cups chopped) ($0.56)
- 2 Tbsp. olive oil ($0.32)
- 1 tsp ground cumin ($0.10)
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon ($0.05)
- 1/2 tsp allspice ($0.05)
- 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper ($0.02)
- 1 cup brown lentils ($0.67)
- 3 Tbsp. tomato paste ($0.15)
- 1/4 cup chopped dried apricots or raisins* ($0.75)
- 3 cups vegetable broth ($0.40)
- 1 Tbsp. chopped parsley (optional) ($0.10)
- Peel and dice the carrots, mince the onion and garlic, and grate the ginger.
- In a deep skillet, combine the onion, garlic, ginger, and olive oil. Sauté the onions over medium heat until transparent and tender (about five minutes).
- Carrots, cumin, cinnamon, allspice, and crushed red pepper should be added to the skillet. Continue cooking for an additional two minutes.
- Next, include the uncooked lentils, tomato paste, raisins, or chopped apricots, and stock into the pan. Stir the broth until the tomato paste has dissolved. Cover the skillet and increase the heat to high.
- Bring the broth to a rolling boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer the lentils in the broth for 30 minutes with the cover on, stirring regularly.
- The lentils and carrots should be quite soft after 30 minutes. Taste the lentils and season as necessary with salt and pepper (this will depend on the salt content of your broth, I did not add any).
- Serve the lentils with crusty bread for dipping, on a bed of polenta or mashed potatoes, or with crusty bread for dipping. if preferred, top with chopped fresh parsley.
*Raisins (golden or purple raisins) are the most cost-effective option for this recipe, but I happened to have dried apricots on hand, so I used those instead of purchasing raisins expressly for this recipe.
NUTRITION IN SPICED LENTILS WITH CARROTS
- Serving: 1.25 cup
- Calories: 314 kcal
- Carbohydrates: 49 g
- Protein: 14 g
- Fat: 8 g
- Sodium: 851 mg
- Fiber: 18 g
HOW TO MAKE SPICED LENTILS WITH CARROTS – STEP BY STEP
- Peel and dice four carrots. Dice one yellow onion, four cloves of garlic, and around one teaspoon of fresh ginger. Add the onion, garlic, and ginger along with 2 tablespoons of olive oil to a deep skillet. Sauté the onions over medium heat until transparent and tender.
- Add the carrots along with 1 tsp cumin, 12 tsp cinnamon, 12 tsp allspice, and 14 tsp crushed red pepper to the skillet. Continue cooking for an additional two minutes.
- In a skillet, combine 1 cup of uncooked brown lentils, 3 tablespoons of tomato paste, and 3 cups of vegetable broth.
- Additionally, add a quarter cup of chopped dried apricots or raisins to the pan. If using dried apricots, dice them to a size comparable to raisins.
- Stir until the tomato paste is evenly distributed throughout the liquid. Cover the skillet, increase the heat to high, and bring the broth to a full boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat to medium-low and continue simmering the lentils with the lid on for 30 minutes. Stir periodically.
- The lentils and carrots should be soft after 30 minutes. Taste the dish and add salt if necessary. Depending on the saltiness of your broth, you may need a small amount to bring out the flavors.
- Serve the lentils with crusty bread for dipping, polenta or mashed potatoes, or both. if preferred, top with chopped fresh parsley.