I may have shared before how I’m part of a diverse online community of (mostly) mothers drawn together by our love of all things sloomb*. This community is so great because we don’t just talk about cloth diapering. Actually, there’s more off-topic posts than diaper related I think. There’s this tribe of thousands of us, and if you ask a question, you’ll get some really helpful advice covering all spectrums of thought. It’s truly an amazing thing.
Why am I even talking about this on a lentil recipe post? Well, because my love of lentils has come in handy a few times in this online community. When times are tight (and let’s face it, we’ve all been there) and people ask for advice on how to stretch their grocery bill, I almost always chime in with a comment about lentils. After all, I have some experience with times being tight growing up and relying on lentils for sustenance growing up. I am not ashamed to share that with people. The lowly, humble lentil saved the day on more than one occasion when I was younger. I only wish there was more creativity in how they were prepared so that we could have enjoyed them more, as I don’t actually recall loving the lentils as a fussy pre-teen. (Sorry mom!)
Now that I’m all grown-up, sort of, mostly, I like to pride myself on being able to prepare lentil dishes for my family that not only keep our budget on track and our bellies full, but actually taste good. Enter, this recipe.
The great thing about this recipe is you can make adjustments based on your budget and what you have on hand.
Maple syrup can be pricey so if you don’t have any on hand or don’t want to spare what you do have to go into this recipe, then use honey. If affordable, quality honey isn’t available to you, then go with some brown sugar.
Red lentils have got to be one of the cheapest, most readily available legume out there. I can’t imagine that you’ll have a hard time finding red lentils to keep as a pantry staple. Green or brown lentils will also work in this recipe but you’ll find that they don’t cook as fast, so you’ll either want to soak them first (which I feel like is counterproductive to using lentils during the busy week because they’re supposed to be speedy) or cook them longer.
This recipe calls for a small amount of whatever type of greens you might have on hand. If I have some mixed spinach and baby kale that is starting to go, this is the perfect way to use it up. In these photos, I’ve used some organic kale that was left over from when I made shakshuka the night before (which btw was really tasty!) and cut up way too much. It was wilted and needing to go, so into the casserole dish it went. You add it right at the end just before serving so it doesn’t get overcooked but has enough time in the hot lentils to get steamed through.
Oh and one final note about the salt in this recipe. It calls for soy sauce and also vegetable stock so there’s going to be a bit of saltiness already, especially if you use a bouillon cube in place of homemade vegetable stock. Don’t go too crazy adding salt because the saltiness will just soak up into those lentils and that’s not a good thing if there’s too much.
- 1 cup red lentils
- 2 cups vegetable stock (or 1 vegetable bouillon cube + 2 cups water)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup, honey or brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons gluten free soy sauce (such as Bragg's)
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 small onion, minced
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- ¼ teaspoon red chili flake, optional
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 1 cup finely chopped greens (kale, spinach, arugula, etc)
- Preheat oven to 375ºF.
- Combine all ingredients in a casserole dish with a lid.
- Bake in preheated oven until lentils are tender, about 1 hour. (Bake longer - about 30 min more - if using green/brown lentils.)
- Remove from oven, stir in chopped greens and place lid on for 5 minutes to let steam through.
- Serve hot over cooked brown rice or quinoa.
I serve this over rice that I’ve cooked super quickly and totally perfectly in my Instant Pot 7-in-1 electric pressure cooker. I’ll be sharing more about my lovely Instant Pot in the next little bit. Meantime, if you’re thinking about getting one, might I suggest ordering through Amazon? (affiliate link, thank you!)
*not sure what sloomb is? You can check out a little bit more about our experiences and adventures in cloth diapering and a bit about wool here.