As you may have noticed, I’m not the kind of person who just throws together things in the kitchen without at least a map, a compass, 1001 enthusiastic reviews on AllRecipes or an old friend’s sworn solemn oath in written from, that a certain recipe is 100% guaranteed to blow my socks off.
Sure, I’ll make numerous adjustments while I work on something to meet my personal preferences, but aside from grilled chicken, eggs, and casseroles, I rarely go on my own intuition.
Because you see, my intuition has often led me to all kind of kitchen disasters: a strawberry pie that had exploded in the oven, a caldo verde that looked like vomit, Crock-Pot meat that was cooked to shoe leather, etc…
So, as you see, these days I tend to use recipes, possibly true and tried recipes.
Which brings me to this Red Lentil and Spinach Tikka Masala.
Not long ago (9 months back to be precise) I perfected a recipe for Chickpea Tikka Masala.
I love it, you guys love it.
No, let me rephrase that you guys LOVE IT so much that it has quickly become one of the most popular recipes on this blog.
So I decided the time was ripe for another Tikka Masala dish.
Enter red lentils.
I still don’t understand why people call them red, since they are actually orange, and turn yellow when you cook them.
Anyways, I love them because being smaller and thinner than plain greenish-brown lentils, they bring cooking time down to like 20 minutes, without need to soak in water.
I always have a big bag of red lentils in my pantry. They’re cheap, versatile and they make for beautiful food.
And guess what? Red lentils are perfect with Tikka Masala.
And since they cook so fast, this dish comes together in 30 minutes flat.
Make the gravy, add the lentils, and cook until they’re ready.
I added some fresh spinach for a pop of color and goodness.
If you want a big dish of comfort and healthy food, that’s exactly what this (Vegan) Red Lentil and Spinach Tikka Masala is.
This recipe has become my favorite lentil dish, hope you’ll like it as much as I do.
Red Lentil and Spinach Tikka Masala Print this recipe!
2 tablespoons vegetable oil (I used coconut oil)
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated
1 tablespoon Garam Masala
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 teaspoons sweet paprika
1 teaspoon turmeric
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 (14.5 oz) cans diced tomatoes
1 can full-fat coconut milk (I used BPA-free Natural Value)
1 cup red lentils, rinsed and picked over
2 cups spinach, roughly chopped
1 teaspoon fine grain salt
Fresh chopped cilantro for garnish
Heat olive oil in a large saucepan (or skillet) over medium-high heat.
Add onions, a pinch of salt, and sauté until translucent, about 6 minutes.
Add garlic and sauté for 1 more minute. Add ginger and spices and sauté for 30 seconds.
Add diced tomatoes and coconut milk and give a good stir.
Bring to a simmer, cover, and cook for 5 minutes.
Remove from the heat and puree with the help of an immersion blender (alternatively you can puree in batches in a blender — be careful not to splatter the hot liquid onto yourself though.)
Add lentils, and salt, cover, and cook on low until tender, about 20 minutes, stirring every so often.
At this point if the liquid has absorbed but the lentils are still not tender, add ½ of water and cook on low until lentils are tender (don’t overcook them though or they will become mushy.)
Remove from the heat and fold in chopped spinach.
Take a taste and adjust seasoning as needed.
Sprinkle with chopped fresh cilantro and serve.