How many times have you needed to get a meal on the table but so did not feel like going to the grocery store for ingredients? If you’re like me, I’m going to assume – a LOT. I believe there are two types of cooks in this world: people who follow recipes and people who can “wing it.” Some people are really good at winging it and others never will be (Sorry, in my opinion, it’s more a personality trait than anything). But I believe that -like anything- the more you try, the better you get.
Despite last week’s nor’easter, Spring is in the air…according to the calendar, anyway. So this month’s Recipe Redux challenge is to Spring Clean The Kitchen: Cook with at least 3 ingredients that are actually in your refrigerator or pantry right now. Try not to go to the store to buy anything new. So I grabbed potential items from both the fridge and the pantry, and most of them ended up in the recipe!
When considering meal-planning, I always think: vegetables and protein, first. I had spinach, scallions (green onions), and fresh herbs on hand and two protein sources: eggs and lentils. Unintentionally, this meal turned into a great option for “Meatless Monday!”I understand that not everyone is going to have fresh ginger and fresh turmeric in their fridge. I just happened to, and used both not only for the great flavors but also for the health benefits of each. The main active ingredient in turmeric is curcumin which has powerful anti-inflammatory effects and is a strong anti-oxidant. Those suffering from arthritis and even post-athletic workout soreness would do well to incorporate more into their diets. I used a zester with each spice which worked great. I estimated how much of each I used for the recipe and “zested” each spice right into the saucepan to capture all of the essential oils and essence of the spice. Here’s where “eyeballing” is a skill you can develop over time because a little too much of these two spices is never going to hurt. The aroma of sauteed ginger, turmeric and scallion in coconut oil is divine and confirms that something good’s about to happen…
No well-stocked pantry is without chicken or vegetable broth. Either one of these will do in this dish. It also can’t hurt to always keep high fiber, oh-so-easy-to-prepare lentils on hand as well. Because I am such a fan of Thai-inspired dishes (and have a Pinterest board with tons of great recipes) I also like to keep a couple of cans of coconut milk on hand. The Umami paste, I’ll admit, is a bit random. I saw it in Trader Joe’s a couple of months ago and picked it up despite having no real idea what I was going to do with it. Click here to read a great review on exactly this product that I found from Epicurious. It could probably be omitted, but I like how it adds complexity and flavor to the lentils without having to add much salt, or God-forbid, MSG. You can pre-soak the lentils to reduce cooking time, or not. This dish’s prep time is largely unattended as you allow the lentils to simmer in the coconut milk and broth. Simmer the lentils until softened. Wilt the spinach in the hot broth just before serving. In a separate pan, cook your eggs to desired doneness and top the lentils. If a runny yolk is not your favorite, cook it to your desired consistency. Easy, delicious and nutritious!
- 4 large eggs
- 1 cup lentils, rinsed and sorted (I used French Green)
- 1 tablespoon + 1-2 teaspoons coconut oil, divided
- 1 can coconut milk (I used reduced fat, regular will add fat, calories and probably some nice flavor to your dish...Next time I will use Regular)
- 3-4 cups low sodium chicken or vegetable broth
- 4 green onions, choppped
- 1/2 tsp cumin seeds (or 1/4 tsp. powder)
- 1 tsp fresh ginger, minced or "zested"
- 1 tsp fresh turmeric, minced or "zested"
- zest and juice of one lime
- 4 cups baby spinach, washed
- 1 tablespoon Umami paste
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1 cup fresh cilantro, washed, leaves and stems separated
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- Melt 1 tablespoon coconut oil in a large saucepan or skillet.
- Add cumin seeds and saute until fragrant- about 1 minute. (If using cumin powder, just add with ginger and turmeric).
- Add green onion (scallions), ginger, turmeric, and saute until fragrant - about 2 minutes.
- Add lentils, coconut milk, 3 cups broth, Umami paste, lime juice, lime zest, 1/2 tsp. salt and cilantro stems. Reduce heat to low and simmer until lentils are softened, about 30 minutes for lentils that have not been pre-soaked.
- If liquid completely reduces before lentils are softened, add more broth, 1/2 cup at a time.
- When lentils have reached desired texture, heat another skillet and sprayed with cooking spray or with 1 teaspoon coconut oil. Add eggs and cook until desired doneness.
- While eggs are cooking add spinach and cilantro leaves to lentil mixture.
- Divide lentils onto 4 plates. Top each with 1 egg. Serve immediately.