Jun 172014

Curried Lentils

The combination of lentils and rice is very popular at my house. The texture is pleasing, even to meat eaters, and it’s easy to switch up the seasonings so it tastes different every time. This is a great quality for fighting off food fatigue, which is all too familiar to those of us sometimes get sick of our own cooking. This version is curried which gives it a sweet, hot, spicy flavor that is unusual and obscenely good.

This recipe uses WIC foods and can be made exclusively from items found in dollar stores. It’s also extremely economical.

Curried Lentils & Rice


  • 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 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes or ground red pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 2 tablespoons dried onions
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • Optional:  15-ounce can of tomato sauce or two 8-ounce cans


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 raisins a few slices of boiled egg or a sprinkle of shredded coconut.

Makes 6 servings, about 1-cup each.

Per Serving: 257 Calories; 4g Fat (12.9% calories from fat); 12g Protein; 45g Carbohydrate; 11g Dietary Fiber; trace Cholesterol; 251mg Sodium. 13% Fat; 69% Carbohydrate; 18% Protein.

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 20 minutes rather than 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 powdered chicken bouillon or 3 bouillon cubes
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes or ground red pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 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 Worcestershire 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.

  2 Responses to “Curried Lentils & Rice”

  1. I made your Curried Lentils and Rice recipe and it was delicious, I too love any iteration of lentils and rice. Here is a recipe that I received from a co-worker at one of our diversity pot-luck luncheons. It is an Armenian/Syrian dish, delicious and very inexpensive. One of my rotations recipes. I hope that you enjoy it as well. I usually cook the lentils and brown basmati rice together in the same pot without issue. I also add more onions. I usually serve Mujaddara with Fassoulia, which is a green bean and tomato dish given to me by the same co-worker. I have made modification to the original recipe as I follow a plant based diet.
    Enjoy and thank you, I do love your website!!!

    Mujaddara (4 servings)
    1 cup small brown/green lentils sorted
    3/4 cup basmati rice, or regular brown rice sorted
    1-1/2 cups low-sodium vegetable stock
    1 tsp salt + more to taste
    1/4 cup olive oil or veggie
    3 large onions, halved, thinly sliced or more as you like – I used 4
    2 cloves garlic, chopped I used about 4 cloves
    1 tsp ground cumin
    1/2 tsp red pepper flakes or more to taste
    1/4 tsp ground cinnamon or more to taste
    1/4 tsp allspice or more to taste
    1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
    Hot sauce to taste (chipotle is good)
    In medium pan of boiling, salted water, cook lentils on medium-low heat 30 to 45 minutes, until tender but not mushy. Drain. In same pan, heat rice, stock and 1 tsp salt on medium-high. When mixture comes to boil, cover, reduce heat to low and simmer 18 minutes, or until rice is tender and stock is absorbed.
    Meanwhile, in 12-inch skillet, heat oil on high. Add onions and cook, stirring often, 12 to 15 minutes, or until well browned. Stir in garlic for 30 seconds. Remove from heat.
    Add cumin, pepper, cinnamon and lentils to rice. Using fork, combine gently.
    Transfer to serving bowl. Adjust salt. Top with onions. Sprinkle with parsley. Serve hot sauce alongside.

    Fassoulia – Green Beans with TVP (Ground Meat)
    Yield: 6 servings

    1 cup of TVP chunks or ground reconstituted with 1 cup of boiling water or broth, may saute with olive oil and herbs, liquid smoke and 1/4 cup of dry red wine or use flavored TVP
    2 Tbsp. oil
    3 medium onions, chopped
    1 1/2 tsp. salt
    ½ tsp black pepper
    ½ tsp. allspice
    ½ tsp cinnamon
    1 tsp. crushed dried basil or use ¼ cup of fresh chopped leaves
    1 tsp. crushed dried oregano or use 1 fresh sprig
    5 clove garlic, minced
    2lb. Fresh or frozen green beans or Italian pole beans (If using fresh green beans, trim the ends, and cut into 1 inch pieces)
    1 15-oz. can diced fire roasted tomatoes
    1 10-oz can diced tomatoes with green chilies
    3 oz. tomato paste, diluted in 1 cup water or stock

    1. In a cast iron skillet, brown TVP for about 10 minutes, in olive oil, red wine, fresh herbs (of your choice- I used oregano, thyme, marjoram and a bit of tarragon) and liquid smoke and 1 large chopped onion and 2-3 cloves of garlic, stirring frequently. Place TVP meat in a bowl & set aside.
    2. Using the same skillet, saute the onions in olive oil until soft and slightly brown.
    3. Return the TVP meat to the skillet with the onions. Add salt, pepper, allspice, basil, oregano, and garlic. Cover & cook 10 more minutes.
    3. In a large pot, add the green beans. Pour the canned tomatoes, and the diluted tomato paste over the green beans; stir.
    4. Add the TVP meat mixture to the green beans. Mix together.
    5. Bring to a gentle boil, then cover and simmer for 1 hour, or until beans are tender. Add a little more water or stock, as needed.
    6. Serve with rice or bulgur pilaf.

    SPECIAL NOTE: The fassoulia tastes even better the next day, after the flavors have a chance to intensify. Oh yes, a loaf of crusty bread goes great with this, too!

    • What great recipes enracia. Mujaddara is a long time favorite of mine. I can’t wait to give your recipe a try. Fassoulia looks good too. TVP is underrated. Which is a shame because I do enjoy it so much. I have a kibby recipe that uses TVP instead of lamb and it is to live for. Thanks for sharing. 🙂

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: