(MEATLESS MONDAYS/VEGAN RECIPES) This spicy and fragrant dinner is sure to satisfy even the pickiest eaters.

This vegan red lentil masala with spinach is a big, flavorful dish of comfort. The lentils are cooked in a creamy, rich sauce and finished with wilted spinach (or you can substitute kale, chard, or mixed greens).

Make an extra large batch of the masala paste and freeze for later use in another round of this dish or a number of other meals. As always, happy eating! — Global Animal

Vegan Red Lentil Masala With Spinach. Photo Credit: Naturally Ella

Vegan Red Lentil Masala With Spinach

Yield: 2 large servings (or 4 small servings)

Ingredients:

Masala Paste

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cumin seeds
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 2 inch piece of ginger (peeled and cut into pieces)
  • 1/8 to 3 teaspoons red pepper flakes (see note)
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 2 teaspoons garam marsala
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons peanut oil (or other nut oil)
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1/3 cup packed cilantro leaves

Lentils

  • 1 tablespoon olive or coconut oil
  • 1 small red onion (diced)
  • 2 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1/3 cup masala paste
  • 1 cup stewed tomatoes
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup red lentils
  • 2 cups spinach (packed)
  • 1/2 to 1 cup low-sodium vegetable broth

Directions:

  1. To make paste, toast cumin and coriander seeds in skillet until fragrant. Use a mortar and pestle (or a spice grinder) to grind spices.
  2. In a small food processor, add ginger and pulse until broken into small pieces. Add red pepper flakes, smoked paprika, cumin, coriander, garam marsala, and salt. Pulse a couple more times to incorporate. Next, add nut oil, tomato paste, and cilantro leaves. Pulse until paste forms and everything is well incorporated. Set aside.
  3. Heat a skillet over medium heat. Melt coconut oil and add diced onion, cooking until translucent, 4-5 minutes. Add in minced garlic and cook for one more minute.
  4. Stir in masala paste and cook for 1-2 minutes, then add stewed tomatoes and coconut milk. Stir together and bring to a boil.
  5. Add in lentils and reduce heat to low. Cook, stirring often, until lentils are tender, 20-25 minutes. If liquid has absorbed but lentils are still not tender, add 1/2 cup of vegetable broth and cook until lentils are tender. Remove from heat and fold in spinach.
  6. Serve with your favorite grain, extra cilantro, and a dollop of plain greek yogurt.

Notes:

I recommend making this dish once with the minimum amount of red pepper flakes in the masala paste and adding more crushed red pepper before serving if desired. The paste, with 3 teaspoons of red pepper flakes, can be really spicy.

Recipe Courtesy of Naturally Ella

More Naturally Ella: https://naturallyella.com/red-lentils-and-spinach-in-masala-sauce/

Learn more about the Meat-Free Mondays Challenge!

See more Meat-Free Monday recipes, here!

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