Red Lentil Mushroom Masala with Coconut Cream
Lentils are the dried seeds of legumes, which are called pulses. Other pulses include chickpeas, dried peas, and dried beans. They are popular in the Middle East and India where many varieties grown. They are delicious and rich in protein, fiber, and minerals, and contain virtually no fat. This makes lentils one of our favorite vegan proteins.
Brown lentils are the most popular sold in the U. S., and are soft. They do not hold their shape, but will add a wonderful thickness to stews and soups.
Green and French Le Puy lentils retain their shape and are perfect for salads or a side dish. Simply tossed them with fresh herbs, extra-virgin olive oil, lemon and sea salt and fresh ground pepper. Puy lentils come from the beautiful region of Le Puy in France, and they are known for a robust, hearty flavor.
Black, or beluga lentils are small and round, unlike other common lentils, which are lens-shaped. Beluga lentils become shiny when cooked, which makes them look like caviar, hence the name. They are similar to the Puy lentils in that they retain their shape and add wonderful color and texture to salads and sides.
Red and yellow lentils are split with their skins are removed. Hulled, split lentils are called dal, or dhal, and used to make thick stews, which are an important part of Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi, and Nepali cuisine. Served with rice and chapati, roti or papad, the soft and creamy dal stew is a staple meal in South Asia.
Lentils are popular among vegetarians and vegans because they are high in protein and packed with minerals. They have a rich, earthy flavor and works well in many dishes. Lentils are also a wonderful meat replacement for vegetarian and vegan meals. Try a lentil burger, a vegan chili, or lentil and mushroom meatballs for a new twist on some old favorites.
There are many benefits to incorporating lentils into your diet. Because they are small, it only takes about 20-25 minutes to cook firm, but tender. You can also cook them until they break down completely, for texture or for thickening, about 40-45 minutes.
Lentils can be sprouted then eaten raw. Ground the sprouted lentils into a meal in a food processor to make patties to cook lightly or dehydrate them in a dehydrator.
Sharing and giving is a gift and changes lives. It opens hearts and creates kindness. It is joyful and truly a happy feeling we must feel each day. We present our rich, earthy, vegan Red Lentil and Mushroom Masala with Coconut Cream.
Prep Time: 10 min
Cook Time: 35 min
Total Time: 45 min
- 1 cup red lentils
- 2 cups mushrooms
- 1 medium tomato
- 1 medium onion
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- ½ can coconut cream
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
- ½ tablespoon garam masala
- ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
- ½ teaspoon kasuri methi
- ½ tablespoon turmeric
- 1/3 teaspoon red chili powder (optional)
- 1/3 cup cilantro
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- 3 cups water, more if necessary
- Sea salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
- Heat the coconut oil and add the coriander seeds, garam masala, cumin, turmeric, red chili powder. Fry about 1 minute.
- Add chopped onions. Cook them until golden brown.
- Add the mushrooms and cook until all the moisture is gone. On medium-high heat let them caramelize a little for more flavor. Do not burn the spices.
- Add the red lentils and sauté for a minute with the spices and onions.
- Add chopped tomatoes.
- Add tomato paste and incorporate it thoroughly into the lentil and onion mixture.
- Add the bay leaf, kasuri methi.
- Add water. Add more, if needed, as the lentils cook, about 20-25 minutes. We like a medium soup consistency, not too thick.
- Add sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste.
- Add the coconut cream and cilantro and stir well. Let it heat up then turn the fire off.
Shakti Chris Nekrasova