It’s a common problem. You dutifully make your grocery list, purchase the items, get them home, and then think, We have nothing to eat!
This isn’t the case when shopping at the farmer’s market. Fresh produce, meats, and cheeses come at you from all sides, angling for a way to jump in your bag. Preserves longing to be draped across a baguette slice beckon. Everyone attempts to be noticed and shows off its best color, primping as it sees you coming.
Except the humble mushroom. The mushroom knows it can’t compete with the vibrancy of early spring carrots, the lush heads of lettuce, or even a giant fish gaping at you from its bed of ice. The mushroom keeps to itself, knowing you’ll come over eventually, brought by curiosity of the long line or recipe-tested experience. It can’t wait to join the rest of the gang in your bag, but it doesn’t need to be showy. It just Is.
This recipe is great for any meat-eater who is lost when it comes to the challenge of a meatless meal. Keeping the mushrooms in large slices helps create the illusion of meat, and lentils have tons of protein. Adding in tomatoes, onion, and fresh spinach makes the dish reminiscent of a stew. It’s filling as is, but for a complete meal add a green salad and serve with naan bread for scooping.
You’ll notice the recipe calls for garam masala. This is an Indian spice blend that is often sold premade, but there are many recipes online for creating your own garam masala mix. Depending on the spices in your mix, decrease or increase the amount used. Also, feel free to substitute olive oil for the coconut oil, but I feel the coconut oil really adds another layer of flavor to the dish.
Indian-Spiced Mushrooms and Lentils
1/2 cup red lentils
1 cup water
1 1/2 tablespoons garam masala
2 tablespoons coconut oil
2 cups sliced button mushrooms
1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes
1/2 red onion, diced
2 cups baby spinach, torn into bits
In a small saucepan, combine lentils and water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and cover.
In a large flat bottom skillet, heat coconut oil over medium-high heat. Stir in garam masala and heat until fragrant. Add onions and mushrooms and cook until onions are softened. Add tomatoes and lentils, and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes. Add spinach and cook another 10 minutes.
Serve immediately, though the dish is even more delicious as leftovers, as the flavors get to mambo in the fridge.