Celebrating Friday with Lentils and Veggies

I’m not going to lie, I’m pleased as punch that it’s Friday.

Especially because this was my view as I walked to work.

Last weekend, I realized I needed at least one day where I didn’t do any work or chores. Working full time means I often save chores for the weekend, especially because I do like to be social during the week, but then suddenly it’s Sunday night and Monday morning is looming and I’m desperate for just one more day. Not a day of being unproductive, but a day of not focusing on productivity. So tomorrow will be no work, no chores and the only errand I want to run is looking at two wedding venues!

Thankfully, I also don’t have to visit the farmers’ market because the fridge is still brimming with vegetables from last Sunday’s grocery run. As our spring/summer CSA starts on Thursday, I am going to try to stretch everything out until then. I’m both excited and nervous to see what is in the CSA box, and more importantly, how MUCH stuff is in it. I chose the “large” option. I mean, we eat a lot of fruits and vegetables, but this could have potentially been a mistake. I’m sure I’ll be calling out for preserving/freezing/preparation tips from y’all.

But a bunch of random vegetables in the crisper drawer was also a bit overwhelming last night when faced with making dinner. I had some eggplant and cauliflower that desperately needed to be used (things purchased from the discount bin don’t last as long). I came up with this mildly spicy warming soupy dish. We ate it without a grain, but it would be great served over rice to soak up all saucy goodness.

Lentils with Cauliflower and Eggplant

Ingredients:

For vegetables:

  • 1 small eggplant, diced
  • 1 small cauliflower, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1 tbsp minced fresh ginger
  • 3 tbsp oil, butter, ghee (I used sesame because I was out of everything else, and you couldn’t tell)
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 tbsp acid (I used vinegar because I was out of lemons/limes)
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne

For lentils:

  • 1 cup dried lentils
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1/2 tsp mustard seed
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tbsp ginger
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp garam masala
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 can diced tomatoes or 2 cups freshly chopped

Method: 

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  • Mix together  garlic, ginger, oil, honey, acid, cumin, salt, garam masala and cayenne. Toss with eggplant and cauliflower.
  • Spread into a large baking dish, cover with foil, and cook for 30 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, add lentils, turmeric, and vegetable stock to a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer.
  • Heat oil in a large sauté pan. Add mustard seeds. When they begin to pop, add onions and cook until brown.
  • Add remaining spices and stir to coat. Cook for a few minutes until very fragrant.
  • Add onion mixture and tomatoes to lentils, and cook until lentils are done, 10 – 15 minutes.
  •  When vegetables are done, toss it all together. Season to taste.

I’m big into Indian flavors right now, and as you well know, cauliflower and eggplant are near and dear to my heart. And so this dish was born. It’s not fancy. It’s not particularly pretty. It’s hard to make cooked brown lentils look as good as say, chocolate peanut butter or raw brownies, but I promise they are just as delicious.

And with that, I send you off for the weekend. Anyone out there hoping to win the $540 million jackpot tonight? I wish you luck!

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