Jun 172014
 
Download PDF

Smiling FamilyI’ve already shared 3 other recipes for Lentils and Rice, and here’s one more. Lentils are a great resource for folks like me who are trying to eat better on a tight budget. They are affordable, healthy and quick cooking. They’re low in fat, low in sodium, and have a low glycemic index. They’re high in protein, fiber and folacin. They are gluten-free, easy to prepare and versatile. Plus they taste good. If you’re unfamiliar with lentils then you owe it to yourself, your family and your budget to learn more about them.

This is my Italian version of Lentils and Rice. I’ve also shared my recipes for Curried Lentils & Rice, Taco-Style Lentils & Rice and Garlic & Herb Lentils & Rice. They are all made from WIC-friendly foods and can be prepared exclusively from foods available at most dollar stores. Whoever said access to healthy foods is impossible, has never spent any time in my kitchen. Dollar stores are available in most neighborhoods, especially low-income areas. Even if you don’t have access to supermarkets, you probably have access to a dollar store. Next time you’re there pick up a package of brown rice and a package of lentils and experiment some with the delicious (and nutritious) meals you can make from such simple fare.

Italian Style Lentils & Rice

Italian Lentils & Rice

Ingredients

  • 1 cup brown rice
  • 1 cup dry lentils
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon powdered chicken bouillon or 3 bouillon cubes
  • 1 teaspoon low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes or ground red pepper
  • 2 tablespoons dried onions
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • Optional: 15-ounce can of tomato sauce or two 8-ounce cans

Directions

If necessary rinse the brown rice and lentils to remove any debris. In a 2-quart saucepan combine the brown rice, lentils and water. Set the pot to heating on high. Add the remaining ingredients (except the optional tomato sauce). Bring the mixture to a boil. Stir it all up with a fork or spoon. Reduce the heat to very low. Place the lid on the pot. Allow the lentils and rice to simmer over low heat for 45 minutes to an hour. You may stir the mixture now and then while it cooks, but you don’t have to.

When the lentils and rice are done cooking you may stir in the tomato sauce if you want to. I don’t add the tomato sauce while it cooks, because this makes the lentils take longer to soften. So after the lentils are tender stir in the tomato sauce if you like. The dish is good either way. It’s just a fun way to change things up and add an extra serving of vegetables to your diet too.

When it’s done cooking serve it in bowls. You may top it with fresh chopped tomatoes or well drained low-sodium canned tomatoes. It’s also good topped with spaghetti sauce. A sprinkle of cheese–mozzarella or parmesan or whatever you have on hand, makes it more acceptable to people who are trying lentils for the first time. Dairy-free, vegan cheese such as Daiya, is available in some large supermarkets. It’s delicious served over this dish.

Makes 6 servings, about 1-cup each.

Per Serving: 252 Calories; 4g Fat; 12g Protein; 44g Carbohydrate; 11g Dietary Fiber; trace Cholesterol; 224mg Sodium. Exchanges: 3 Grain(Starch); 1 Lean Meat; 1/2 Fat. Fat 13%; Carbohydrate 69%; Protein 11%.

Exchanges: 3 Grain(Starch); 1 Lean Meat; 1/2 Fat.

– – – – –

NOTE: If you need a faster cooking version then replace the regular lentils with orange lentils and the brown rice with long grain white rice. Cook for 20 minutes.

Orange lentils are sometimes called red lentils. They are available at most Health Food Stores and some well stocked supermarkets. They cook in about 15 to 20 minutes, as opposed to the 30 to 40 minute cooking time for regular lentils.


Healthy Convenience Mix

This recipe is easy to turn into a homemade convenience mix. GFCF convenience foods are very hard to come by at the market and usually they are prohibitively expensive. This homemade convenience mix tastes good and is very good for you too. As above, if you need a quicker cooking version free feel to use orange (red) lentils and long grain white rice in place of regular lentils and brown rice. It will cook in about 20 minutes, as opposed to an hour.

1. Get out a quart-size zipper bag. Combine in it the following:

  • 1 cup brown rice
  • 1 cup dry lentils
  • 1 tablespoon chicken bouillon powder or 3 bouillon cubes
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes or cayenne pepper
  • 2 tablespoons dried onions

Zipper the bag closed. Label and date it. Store on the pantry shelf until needed.

2. When you’re ready to prepare it follow these directions:

Into a 2-quart saucepan measure the following:

  • 4 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil

Add the contents of your zipper bag. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low. Cover & cook for 45 to 60 minutes.

After cooking you may stir in 15 ounces of tomato sauce if desired.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: