Lentil Stew (or Dal) with Greens
1cup whole American lentils (Green) with skin on (If using Indian Lentils, soak them overnight in the water and cook in a pressure cooker);
1 tbsp., about 4 large garlic cloves chopped
1 medium onion sliced
3cups baby spinach
1 red bell pepper cored, seeded and cut into strips
1cup, 8oz, tomato sauce
1 tsp. turmeric powder
1 tsp. curry powder (optional)
salt and pepper to taste
To serve 4 tbsp. ghee or butter and garnish with chopped radishes, cilantro or scallions.
Heat 4 cups water in a large, heavy bottom pot bring to a boil and make layers: sprinkle the lentils, garlic, onion, spinach, bell pepper, turmeric, curry powder, salt and pepper to taste. Increase the heat to medium-high and bring to a boil, lower the heat, cover and cook on constant simmer for 20 minutes, do not stir. Add tomato sauce, cover and cook on medium heat for 5 minutes until it is heated through.
Serve garnished with butter/ghee, radishes and/or cilantro and serve with or without grain bread, chutney, pickles etc. We cook various beans, mostly with spinach and other dark greens such as beats, collard green etc. every day.
Spinach and other leafy greens cooked with tomatoes and beans are very good for the eyes and brain. Spinach & kale have copper, chard, collard green, beets and other dark leafy greens contain vitamin K, iron and magnesium etc. Magnesium increases serotonin level which helps depression and anxiety. If you eat beans with grains it is easy to digest. So serve with grain bread you will have double protein, amino acids and a lot of other nutrients essential for the body.
There are several types of lentils: green lentils (large and greenish brown), lentilles du pub (dark olive green almost black), red and yellow lentils (split and peeled), black lentils (black and small). Indian lentils are small and dark brown, have rich, complex flavor. You have to soak them for a few hours and cook for at least an hour. We mostly use green lentils, which cooks in 15-20 minutes. Cook them whole with skin on to get all the nutrition: protein, iron, and fibers. Instead of water, you can also use chicken stock.