Spiced Red Lentils and Greens with Basmati Rice

Spiced Red Lentils and Greens with Basmati Rice



For the lentils

  • 1 cup dried red lentils
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 3 cups water

For the greens

  • 2 – 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 2 small dried chiles (such as arbol)
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon minced ginger
  • 3 canned, whole peeled tomatoes, diced
  • 4 cups packed greens (such as kale, spinach, turnip, and/or radish), stems removed and discarded, leaves roughly chopped. (Frozen greens are a fine option, too.)
  • Salt and pepper

For the rice

  • 1 cup dried Basmati rice
  • Teaspoon of salt
  • 6 – 8 cups water

*optional garnish: lemon juice, green onion, cilantro, yogurt


Cook the lentils

  1. Rinse the lentils and bring to a boil with the water and turmeric.
  2. Lower heat and simmer for about 20 minutes until soft.

Cook the greens

  1. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a skillet (be careful to not let it smoke).
  2. Add the cumin and mustard seeds to the oil.
  3. When the seeds begin to pop (about 10 seconds), add the chili, garlic, and ginger.
  4. Lower the heat to medium and cook for a few minutes (don’t burn the garlic).
  5. Add the greens, tomatoes, and some salt and pepper. Cook another few minutes until the greens are totally wilted.
  6. Add everything in the skillet to the cooked lentils. Add a bit more water if necessary.
  7. Simmer for about 10 minutes and add more salt if it needs it.

Make the rice

  1. Bring a pot of water (about 6 – 8 cups) to boil.
  2. Wash and drain rice three times to clean and remove extra starch.
  3. Add the rice and a teaspoon or so of salt to the boiling water.
  4. Boil the rice for 7 – 10 minutes (depending on the brand of rice). When the rice starts to float and dance, it’s about ready. Test it like pasta.
  5. When the rice is just fully cooked, strain and put back into the dry pot.

Put it together

  1. Fill a small coffee cup or bowl with some of the rice and invert onto a plate.
  2. Spoon the lentils and greens onto the plate besides the rice and garnish with a squeeze of lemon, green onions, and/or cilantro.

Serve with a side of yogurt.