Have some lentils sitting in your pantry and have no idea how to spice them up? Bored of lentil soups? Would you like to replace rice or quinoa with a tasty and healthy alternative?
This Spiced Veggie and Lentils Bowl recipe is super easy to prepare and can be an excellent meal on its own or can be used as a base to a more complete meal or served as a side dish. Top it up with veggie burgers (like I did) or anything you fancy (fish, chicken) and you will end up with tasty, filling and very healthy dinner or packed lunch option.
Lentils are a great, wholesome alternative to rice and are full of nutrients. This legume comes in many shapes and colours and provides a wide range of fibre, vitamins, minerals, and some types may contain antioxidant properties. Lentils also contains healthy iron which is known to help fight fatigue and as this recipe also includes spinach – after eating it you will be as strong as Popeye!
Brocolli is another superfood – at least in my eyes. Packed with vitamins, minerals, fibre and other bioactive compounds, this vegetable is well known to be a great source of vitamin C. In fact, a cup of broccoli has more Vitamin C than an orange.
For the spice – I added harissa. Harissa is a North African hot chilli pepper paste and can be purchased in most supermarkets. You can, however, swap it for sriracha or any other chilli paste or sauce.
What can I say? This bowl is full of goodness, will keep you full for longer and will definitely spice up your cooking life.
It is a very simple recipe yet those simple once are often the best. The beauty of this lentil dish is that you can add or omit any veggies and cook it to your liking. Don’t like celery? No problem – use some finely cubed or grated carrots instead! Swap spinach for kale if that’s what ticks your fancy. The world is your oyster here!
Let’s get going then.
- 150g of dried lentils – brown or green would be the best here.
- 1 large or 2 small red onions – you can also use white of course. I just think red will work a bit better.
- 2 large celery sticks
- Around 6 mediums sized chestnut mushrooms (or closed cut mushrooms)
- Half a head of broccoli divided into small florets
- 2 or 3 large cloves of garlic – depending on how much do you your like garlic – I add 3 as garlic I just so good for you!
- Handful of spinach
- Olive oil
- Around 200ml of boiled water
- Salt and pepper
- Half a teaspoon of sweet paprika
- 1.5 teaspoons of harissa paste or other spicy sauce
- 1 heaped tablespoon of tomato puree
- 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar
- 1 teaspoon of honey
- I tablespoon of greek yoghurt
- Cook lentils in the pot of salted boiling water – the time depends on the type of lentils. I would say 15 to 20 minutes. The best test is to grab one lentil and squish it between the fingers. If it squishes easily, your lentils are ready. Feel free to add a bay leaf to the water for added flavour.
- Separately prepare broccoli florets by also cooking in salted water. Just for 3 to 4 minutes as we want them to retain the crunchiness when added to the dish. Set aside.
- Finely chop onions. Add some olive oil to the pan and toss the onions in. Fry for around 2 minutes until just lightly browned.
- Add chopped celery and fry for another couple of minutes. Slice mushrooms into small cubes and add to the onion and celery mixture. Add a sprinkle of salt. Adding salt early will stop ingredients from burning.
- Fry the mixture on medium heat and stir frequently. Around halfway through, add chopped garlic and fry for another minute or two. Once the ingredients start caramelizing add harissa and tomato puree. Stir vigorously as tomato puree has a tendency to burn easily. Legend has it that it is good to fry tomato puree for a minute or so to get rid of the sour taste.
- While stirring, add more salt and some pepper to taste as well as sweet paprika powder and balsamic vinegar.
- Now add broccoli and stir until all florets are covered in sauce mixture.
- You will see texture getting quite thick – this is the time to add water. Add it slowly and carefully as it can spit a bit and also you don’t want the sauce to become too watery. I would say no more than 200ml.
- Stir for another couple of minutes and finally add honey. You want to add honey towards the end as it tends to burn quickly. The mixture of tomato, vinegar and a bit of honey combined with spicy harissa is absolutely divine.
- Toward the end add a handful of spinach. I like to also add a tablespoon of greek yoghurt to calm the spiciness of harissa however for vegan option omit this ingredient.
- The sauce is ready. Now transport the lentils into the sauce, stir until all ingredients are well combined. Add salt to taste.
Sprinkle with red chillies, if you are feeling adventurous, or with fresh parsley and serve with greek yoghurt or spiced vegan mayonnaise on the side.
Tip: If you feel extra naughty, you can also sprinkle with grated parmesan cheese. It does sound a bit exotic however surprisingly it tastes really nice!
Let me know in comments below how did you enjoy this dish! I will look forward to hearing your thought!