I have mentioned here and again that I have quite a number of vegetarians in my world, so that while I am not a vegetarian myself, I am always seeking out ideas for meatless food.
My mom recently had surgery (she’s just fine, thank you very much), and when someone I love is under the weather my knee-jerk reaction is to grab a skillet. I would clearly make a lousy doctor, but I do make a good recovery cook. So several meat free recipes were concocted this weekend, and the name of the game was comfort food.
When the word meatless comes up, the need for a source of protein is not far behind. Often my answer is beans, beans, beans. Thankfully they are plentiful, cheap, and so wildly varied.
One of my go-to beans is lentils, often starring in a soup, but here sharing the spotlight with some carrots and dried fruit. Lentils are amazing because the cook fairly quickly and require no soaking. Gotta love that in a bean.
You can use multi-colored carrots instead of plain orange, though their colors do fade in the cooking, so the drama you will get excited about when they are raw won’t quite follow thorough to the finished dish. Still, there will be some subtle color variations, which is a nice thing.
You can serve with plain yogurt (give it a sprinkle of ground cumin or coriander for prettiness of you like), or a little drizzle of good olive oil at the end is also a very nice thing.
My mom is not shy about telling me when something is “not her favorite thing I’ve ever made.” This was one of her favorite things I’ve ever made. And so, this will be making a encore appearance on Thanksgiving.
Other bean dishes we’ve known and loved (not all vegetarian):
- Red Lentil, Fennel and Chicken Slow Cooker Soup
- Hearty Lentil, Vegetable and Grain Soup
- Chunky Cicerchie (or Chickpea) Soup
- Spicy Chicken and Black Bean Enchiladas
- Salmon and White Bean Bruschetta
- Bright, Herby Three Bean Salad
- Buffalo Chicken and White Bean Chili
- White Bean and Roasted Cauliflower Spread with Sauteed Brussels Sprouts
Lentils and Carrots with Dried Apricots
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 medium onion chopped
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 1 pound carrots peeled and thinly sliced
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin optional
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- ½ cup lentils preferably small Italian or French ones
- 2 ½ cups vegetable broth
- ¾ cup dried apricots or dried pears diced
- Plain Greek yogurt to serve (optional)
- Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic, and saute until tender, about 5 minutes.
- Add the carrots, ground coriander, cumin (if using) salt and pepper and sauté for one minute until the carrots are nicely coated with the seasoned oil.
- Add the lentils and vegetable broth, and bring to a simmer. Adjust the heat and continue to simmer, stirring occasionally and leaving the pan partially covered, for about 25 minutes until the lentils are tender (the timing may vary with the type and age of the dried lentils), and the liquid is pretty much absorbed (if towards the end the mixture looks dry, add a bit more broth or water).
- Add the apricots, taste for seasoning, and cook for 1 minute more, until the apricots soften a bit. Serve, hot, warm, or at room temperature. Dollop on a bit of yogurt if desired.
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