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Saturday, June 28, 2014

Lentil, Spinach and Mushroom Dahl with Apricot Chutney Yogurt

I've been catering seminar lunches at my favorite Physio Therapy place- Entropy. Their focus is on complex  conditions and restoring hope - something I can personally speak deeply about. Preparing food for this group is like cooking for friends who admire healthy options, we all are connected  through our strive for wellness, which goes beyond just food.

Dahl is basically a stew that can be made from lentils, chickpeas or black beans. For this dish I went the lentil route, the organic green lentil route. Then I stuffed  it full of mushrooms and spinach and topped it off with cumin, garam masala and a touch of curry.

A veggie lentil stew isn't necessarily boring, but my chutney yogurt creation is what really brings this dish alive. Pulling from my recent Moroccan visit, a touch of sweet really shines with ethnic spices and the creaminess calms the heat (if you decided to go heavy on the jalapeno.)

This dish pretty much cooks itself, it just needs your love and  some good friends to appreciate it.

Happy Healthy Tips: Lentils pack a punch of protein, give a good dose of magnesium (important for sleep) and is a great source for fiber (keeping our digestive track working.)

Lentil, Spinach and Mushroom Dahl 

1 cup onions, diced
1/2 cup celery, finely dice
2 tbls olive or coconut oil
2 heaping tbls ginger, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 jalapeno with seeds
1 tbls cumin
1 1/2 tsp curry
1 tbls garam masala
3 cups sliced mushrooms (I used shitake & button)
2 cups dried (and rinsed) green organic lentils
1/2 tbls white vinegar
8 cups broth or water
6 cups spinach, roughly chopped
1/2 - 1 tsp salt (to taste)

Saute the onions and celery in the oil, covered, over low heat, just getting them to sweat and slightly soften but not browned.

Turn the heat up to medium high and add in the ginger, garlic, jalapeno, cumin, curry, garam masala, mushrooms and lentil. Let the mixture simmer, stirring often. The pan will start to get dry. Deglaze with the vinegar and a little of the water/broth. Add in the remaining liquid and bring to a boil.

Cover, reduce heat and simmer until the lentils are soft, but still have texture to them, this took me about 45 minutes. Stir in the spinach and salt, turn off the heat and let the dahl sit and rest for a few minutes.

Serve over brown rice or with warmed, crispy tortillas.

This dish is really lovely as is.But if I were to cook this just for me, I would heavy-up on the spices and add in a full jalapeno. 
 *recipe makes enough for about 14 people when served with rice.

Apricot  Yogurt Chutney

2 cups Greek yogurt
4 dried apricots
2 dates
2 tsp honey
juice from 1/2 lime or lemon
Pinch of salt
dash of cinnamon

Soak the apricots and dates in water  (just place in a bowl and cover with with water) for a few hours. Remove from water and chop. Whisk together the chopped fruit, yogurt, lime, salt and cinnamon.

This is a thick chutney; whisk in a few tablespoons of water for a lighter consistency.

Serve with the lentils or use as a dip with tortillas or sliced apples.

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