The idea for this meal came from a number of sources: my resolution to eat more vegetarian dishes this year (after hearing from several friends that it’s really a good thing), my resolution to spend less money this year (you can’t get much cheaper than lentils), and finally my resolution to rid myself of germs once and for all (cayenne pepper scares away sickness).
Nick doesn’t seem to share my veggie-centric dreams, so I did pick up a rotisserie chicken to go alongside but I personally found that there was enough going on without it to keep me full and satisfied. These lentils also make the perfect lunchtime meal and they reheat exceptionally well. I have a feeling that this is about to become my new favorite friend Monday through Friday with slight variations on the spices and greens. Even at New York City prices, my grocery bill was only $15.00 to make this dinner and I have enough of everything left to make up two or three more batches. Lucky me!
Curried Lentils with Kale and Sweet Potatoes
- 4 sweet potatoes, scrubbed clean
- 1 red onion, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 cup red or green lentils
- 1 tbsp curry powder
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 3 cups vegetable stock, divided
- 3 cups kale, chopped with tough ribs removed
- 1 lime, juice and zest
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon, ground
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg, ground
- 4 scallions, chopped for garnish
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Bake the potatoes for about 60-75 minutes, until you can easily pierce them with a fork.
When the potatoes have about a half hour left to go, heat some oil in a deep sided pan. Toss in the onions and garlic and saute until the garlic starts to brown. Add the lentils and the spices. Mix everything together until the spices become toasty and fragrant.
Add the stock to the mixture one cup at a time. Bring the liquid up to a simmer and stir occasionally. This is similar to cooking risotto, when all of the liquid is absorbed, add another cup until the lentils are cooked. This should take about 25 minutes or so. Add the kale a little at a time and allow the greens to wilt. Stir in the lime juice and zest and then cover and keep warm while you mash your potatoes.
Remove the skins from the potatoes and place them in a large bowl. Add the cinnamon and nutmeg and use a potato masher to break them down to the desired consistency. You can add a splash of veggie stock if you need it to make them creamier, but I prefer them to still be a little chunky.
Serve up the potatoes with the lentils on top and garnish with some fresh scallions.