If the only lentils you stock in your pantry are the brown ones, you’re totally missing out. Red lentils are one of my favorite stealth sources of protein. Because they break apart when cooked, they add creaminess and protein to recipes without being as obvious as beans, tofu or tempeh. Kare from Kitchen Treaty uses them to make a protein-packed marinara; they make this butternut squash soup worthy of a meal. But in these Curried Red Lentil Bowls, red lentils aren’t just a supporting player. They are the star!
A serving of red lentils has 13 grams of protein–not to mention fiber and plant-based iron too. Unlike so many other beans and legumes, lentils cook up super fast, making them perfect for weeknight dinners. After 10 or so minutes on the stovetop, they’re done. Boom!
I pair this simple red lentil curry with sprouted brown rice for even more protein and complex carbs, but cauliflower rice is delicious too if you want to cut down on carbs a bit. Or use any whole grain you have on hand! Because the curry is so creamy, like an Indian dal tadka, you’ll want to pair it with something to make it feel like more of a meal and less like a particularly thick soup.
The best part of a meal bowl is adding all the pretty garnishes–I love fresh lime juice with this curry and I always whip up an easy chutney made with fresh mint and cilantro for drizzling over the top. Toasted cashews, hemp seeds, mango or tamarind chutney, and green onions are all tasty additions too.
Photos by Ana Stanciu
Sprouted Brown Rice and Curried Red Lentil Bowls with Mint Cilantro Chutney
Curried red lentils are paired with rice and homemade chutney for a nourishing plant-based dinner.
For the Curried Lentils:
- 1 tablespoon coconut or avocado oil
- 1 small onion diced
- 1 1-inch piece ginger, grated
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 teaspoon Madras curry powder
- 1 cup split red lentils rinsed and picked over
- 2 1/2 cups vegetable broth
- Salt and pepper to taste
For the Mint Cilantro Chutney:
- 3/4 cup packed cilantro leaves
- 1/2 cup packed mint leaves
- 1/4 cup chopped white onion
- 2 tablespoons chopped golden raisins
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 2 teaspoons avocado oil
- 1/8 teaspoon ground coriander
- Salt to taste
- 4 cups cooked sprouted brown rice or any whole grain you have on hand
- Mint and cilantro leaves lime wedges, or any other garnishes you like
Melt the coconut oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for 5-7 minutes, until softened and just beginning to brown. Stir in the ginger, garlic, and curry powder; cook for about 1 minute, until fragrant. Add the lentils and stir to coat.
Add the broth and bring to a boil. Partially cover the saucepan and reduce the heat to a slow simmer. Cook for 10-12 minutes, or until the lentils have fallen apart, then uncover the pan and cook for about 5 minutes more, until thickened. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
While the lentils are cooking, make the chutney. Combine all of the ingredients in a food processor. Process until smooth; taste and add more salt if needed.
Divide the rice and lentils into four bowls. Drizzle the chutney over the top and add a squeeze of lime juice, additional herbs, and any other garnishes you like.