Carbs and greens and spices, oh my!

Posted in cooking

I’ve been so swamped lately I haven’t had much time for cooking. Between packing boxes (we move in two weeks!), the infant massage instructor’s course I took over the weekend, and having a fairly busy spring at work, I’ve been eating a lot of prepared stuff. So tonight I really wanted to make something simple and delicious for dinner.

Rich and I purchased a copy of Veganomicon a few months ago, figuring we could certainly add more vegan dishes to our diet. So far, all of the recipes I’ve tried have been really great, but I think tonight’s tops the list. The recipe was for lentils and rice with caramelized onions, served with spiced pita crisps. To that I added a simple spinach dish I grabbed from Leslie at Definitely Not Martha. The results were fabulous – homey comfort food with lots of flavour and pretty healthy too! The only changes I made were reducing the amount of oil used to lower the fat content, and not cooking the dish as long as they said it needed – I found the lentils were cooked through a good 15 minutes before they said they would be.

Delicious dinner from Veganomicon

Lentils and Rice with Caramelized Onions

3 large yellow onions, sliced into rings
1/2 cup olive oil
1 cup brown basmati rice
1 cup red lentils, sorted and rinsed
1 cinnamon stick
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1 1/2 teaspoons cumin

Preheat the oven to 400F. Place onion rings into a large baking dish and cover with oil, tossing to coat. Put into the oven and bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until nice and deep brown. If they are slightly burnt on the edges, that’s ok too – they’ll still be really tasty. Set aside to cool.

Bring 4 cups of water to a boil in a large pot. Once boiling, add in the rice, cinnamon stick, allspice and cumin and allow to return to a boil. Lower the heat to medium, cover, and let cook for 15 minutes.

Now add in the lentils and stir gently. Bring the mixture back to a boil and then turn the heat to low. Cover again and allow to cook for 30 to 45 minutes. I found it was done after 30 minutes, the original recipe says 45 – just check to see if the lentils are nice and tender and that’s when it is done. Remove from the heat and allow it to sit for 10 minutes, then fluff the rice and lentils with a fork.

Remove the cinnamon stick and add in the onions with the oil. Serve with pita crisps and your choice of greens.

Spiced Pita Crisps

4 whole wheat pitas
olive oil for brushing
spice combination of your choosing: I used garlic powder, cumin, salt and pepper

Slice the pitas open along the edges and carefully peel the two halves apart. Brush each with olive oil and then sprinkle with the spices of your choice. Bake in a 350F oven for about 10 minutes or until browned and crisp but not burned. Allow to cool, the store in a ziplock bag.

Really Freakin Tasty Spinach

Ruthlessly stolen from Leslie at Definitely Not Martha

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
5 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 lb fresh baby spinach
2-3 tablespoons soy sauce or tamari
1 tablespoon brown sugar

Heat vegetable oil in a large frying pan or wok on medium-high heat. Add in the garlic and cook just until slightly browned, then add in the spinach. Cook until slightly wilted. Add in the soy sauce and brown sugar and toss to coat. Eat.

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