Saturday, May 10, 2008

Warm Lentil and Rice Salad

Last night I tried a recipe from a new book I bought on the cheap at Costco. Yes, I know ... Costco is eeeeevil. We're weaning ourselves one step at a time.
Anyhow, the book is called Gourmet Vegetarian: The Vegetarian Recipes You Must Have by Jane Price. It's part of the Kitchen Classics series. The recipe looked amazing and since I'm a huge fan one-pan/dish meals, I decided to try the Warm Lentil and Rice Salad.
So, I scanned the ingredients to see what I needed to shop for, not really paying attention to the amounts called for. Green lentils, basmati rice, red onions, garlic, olive oil, butter, scallions, cinnamon, paprika, cumin, and coriander.
Sounds like another healthy and tasty recipe. Awesome.
I had most of that stuff already. I knew I could replace the butter with Earth Balance, the Basmati rice with brown Basmati rice, and I also knew I would replace the olive oil with peanut oil, because I think it tastes better with those spices. Finally, I knew I would chuck the scallions because they were used like a garnish and I don't really like them anyway.
I got to cooking last night and came to the part where it was time to measure out the oil. I typically try to stick with recipes that call for no more than 2 tablespoons of oil. So imagine my utter shock when I realized that this recipe called for 1 cup of olive oil.
You read that right.
1. Cup. of. Oil.
PLUS, 1 3/4 ounces of butter!
Holy vegan coronary, Batman! After some debate, both with myself and The Husband, I decided to go for it and just see how it turned out.
Unfortunately, I have to report that this recipe rocks. It was so tasty I wanted seconds but restrained myself because I knew how fattening it must be.
For the record, however, I really do feel like the oil can be cut -- at least to 3/4 of cup and maybe in half. The butter can be eliminated altogether. Here's how I plan to make it next time:
  • 1 cup green lentils
  • 1 cup brown Basmati rice
  • 4 large red onions
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 3/4 cup peanut oil
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons ground sweet paprika
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  1. Cook the lentils and rice in separate saucepans of water until the grains are just tender, then drain.
  2. Meanwhile, finely slice the onions. Cook the onion and garlic in the oil for 30 minutes, over low heat, until very soft. Stir in the cinnamon, paprika, cumin and coriander and cook for a few minutes longer.
  3. Combine the onion and spice mixture with the well-drained rice and lentils. Stir and add freshly ground pepper, if desired. Serve warm.
Yum! Though it certainly won't help move me towards my new health goal, it's a great recipe. I had leftovers for breakfast in a whole wheat pita.
At some point this weekend, I hope to burn off some of those fat grams and calories by playing DDR on our Wii. I'm a total geek and I don't care.  W00t!

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