Thursday, December 8, 2011

Simple Spinach and Lentils with Rice and Quinoa

I know I like to make a lot of dishes that involve multiple ingredients, lots of prep and lots of pots and pans.  But, sometimes I want something super simple, but hearty, and tonight was one of those nights.

I had leftover golden lentils in the fridge, so I decided to do something with them.  I also picked up a big container of baby spinach after yoga (we go through two containers a week here), and decided I would incorporate that in the dish as well.

To start the dish, I sauteed some minced shallots in Earth Balance.  I then added some tomato paste concentrate.  When the brown bits started to appear in the pan, I added a couple of pours of vegetable broth.  I used Safeway Organic brand, which, unlike some other boxed broths, doesn't contain soy. Pacific Organic's vegetable broth is also soy-free.

I then added a few handfuls of the cooked lentils.  As the lentils integrated with the sauce, I futzed a bit with the dish, adding vegetable broth as I thought it needed more liquid, and tomato paste as it needed more color.  I then added several handfuls of roughly chopped baby spinach.  As the spinach wilted, I added even more to get even more green into the dish.

To season the lentils & spinach, I added some freshly ground black pepper and a few drops of sriracha, a Thai hot sauce that has become pretty trendy over the past few years. It's made of chili peppers, distilled vinegar, garlic, sugar and salt. Some srirachas have fish sauce as an ingredient, but the one we use, which is made by Huy Fong Foods, does not.  

Despite the fact that there was salt in the vegetable broth and and in the sriracha, I decided it would benefit from a little bit of sea salt, so I stirred some in.

I wanted some sort of grain to go with the dish, but I hadn't cooked any up in advance.  Situations like this call for microwave bagged rice.  While some microwave bagged rices and grain mixes aren't veg friendly or have lots of unnecessary additives and tons of sodium, I have found a few I like courtesy of Seeds of Change and Safeway Select.  Tonight, I opted for Safeway Select Brown & Wild Rice with Quinoa.  90 seconds in the microwave and, voila, rice

I put the rice in a bowl and then ladled in some of the spinach & lentil mixture and gave it a quick stir.  I was so happy with this dish.  The sriracha had a nice heat that pleasantly snuck up on me, and I loved the texture and combination of flavors.  The warm lentils, rice & quinoa and spinach were very filling and satisfying, the perfect dish for a cold, winter day. 

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