As the weather starts getting cooler, the days shorter and our bodies get in autumn/winter mode, we naturally crave more heavier and ground meals. Lentils, root vegetables, soups and warm salads are my favourite healthy options for the winter time.
This recipe has been one of my favourite to go meals for a couple of years now and it is a success among vegan and non-vegan friends. It is full of flavour, texture and aromas; it makes the perfect dish for a lunch and dinner as a main or side.
So let's get to the recipe!
WHAT YOU NEED (for a 4-5 people serving)
2 cups of basmati rice
1 chopped white onion (big one)
3 garlic cloves
1 cup of brown lentils
1 tsp of the following spices : turmeric, cumin seeds, cumin powder, ginger powder, cinnamon powder - you can add less or more according to taste
3 bay leaves
1 square of good quality vegetable broth
Chopped coriander, fried onion (I buy the crunchy one from the shop) and greek yogurt or a vegan substitute to serve - optionally you can roast some root vegetables on the side
Olive oil to fry and to drizzle on top at the end
Salt and pepper to taste
Soak the lentils in hot water for about 30min before you start cooking, it softens them a bit.
In a deep frying pan or a pot add about 1/2 cup of olive oil and fry the onion and garlic until transparent. Add the cumin seeds and let them pop, always stirring (about 1-2 minutes), finally add the rice, lentils, spices and fry them for a few more minutes.
Add enough water to cover everything with one centimetre above (you can add more later if your rice is not cooked enough) and the bay leaves.. Dilute the vegetable broth in water before adding it in, adjust the salt a bit (be careful because the vegetable broth already has salt) and add lots and lots of black pepper (fresh cracked is better).
Let it simmer until all the water is absorbed, check if you need to add more water in case the rice isn't thoroughly cooked. Finish off with a handful of coriander on top and drizzle it with lots of olive oil. The fried onion is optional but it adds a nice crunch and flavour!
Serve it with greek yogurt or a vegan substitute. Enjoy!!