Red lentils are my go-to when I need to make lunch before work. I particularly like lentils because they’re a good source of protein and they cook relatively quickly. I can throw a bunch of ingredients in a pot and they simmer while I have coffee, angina breakfast and get ready to go to work. I usually start the lentils at about 7:15 and they’re ready at around 7:45 – 7:50.
While most people think I’m insane for getting out of bed before 6 AM, health care I work late hours and have a long commute, mind so mornings are my time to workout, relax a bit and get some stuff done. If I wait until after work, I’m almost certainly too tired to do much other than make dinner and get in bed. But, I digress.
I added some quinoa to my usual lentil recipe for some extra protein and complex carbs. Everything was seasoned with Indian spices for earthiness and then brightened up with lemon and cilantro. A tasty and filling lunch.
Red Lentils with Quinoa, Lemon and Cilantro
16 oz. Red Lentils
8 oz. Quinoa
1 15 oz. can Fire Roasted Tomatoes ( I like Muir Glen)
3 cups stock (your choice of chicken, beef or vegetable)
2 cups water (may need another cup)
1 pinch salt
2 tbsp. Tandoori Seasoning*
Juice of 1 lemon
1 cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
Heat a heavy pot on medium heat, add the red lentils and quinoa and toast for about 30 seconds, or until they are slightly fragrant. Add the tomatoes, stock, water, salt and Tandoori Seasoning and mix thoroughly. Reduce the heat to medium low and cover. Let everything simmer for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Taste and make sure the lentils and quinoa are cooked through and tender without being mushy. If they’re not thoroughtly cooked, but most of the liquid is absorbed, simply add more water, a few tablespoons at a time. Once they’re ready, remove the pot from the heat, add the lemon and stir thoroughly. Serve and top with a small handful of the chopped cilantro leaves.
*I used Penzey’s Spices Tandoori Seasoning that I received as a gift. If you can’t find this, use a 1/4 tsp. each of coriander, cumin, sweet paprika, ginger, cardamom and powdered saffron.