This red lentil recipe was inspired by the complex flavors of Indian madras curry and the subtle sweetness of tomato sauce. At 14 grams per 1/4 dry cup, red lentils pack more protein than most legumes, making them a great choice for vegetarians. Red lentils are also an excellent complement to plain rice and make for a nutritious, inexpensive meal. See easy print recipe at the end.
This recipe requires a slow cooker. Alternatively, you may cook the lentils on a stove-top for 20-35 minutes on medium fire, using the same ingredients.
When cooking beans or lentils, I like to cook a big batch that can last a whole week. Then, I reheat them for quick lunches or side dishes for dinner. Red lentils are great by themselves or with rice. My 4 year old also loves them and I like to have them handy to add more protein to her diet if she refuses to eat meat.
A note about the calabaza squash: calabaza squash is a great addition to cooked legumes because of their subtle sweetness. In addition to their nutritional value, soft calabaza squash helps thicken soups, giving them a more appealing consistency.
Indian-inspired red lentil recipe
- 2 cups of dry red lentils
- 1 heaping cup of cubed calabaza squash
- 1/2 big white or red onion chopped
- 6 cloves of garlic peeled and crushed (about 1 teaspoon crushed)
- 2 cups of tomato sauce pasta sauce works too
- 1 tablespoon madras curry powder
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 4 cups of water
- Clean and rinse the lentils as needed.
- Place the chopped onions, cubed calabaza squash, garlic and red lentils in the slow cooker, mixing with a spoon.
- Add the water.
- Set the slow cooker on low temperature for 4 hours and cover.
- After two hours, add the curry powder and the tomato sauce. Stir.
- An hour later, taste the lentils and add all or half the salt, per your taste.
- Add the pepper when the 4 hours have elapsed, stirring once more.
- Serve alone or over plain rice.
Recipe NotesIf you are making this dish for less than 8 people, store the left overs in the refrigerator and reheat as needed on a sauce pan, using low fire for 10 to 12 minutes. Enjoy!
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