Vegan Mofo Day 21: Indian Spiced Lentils

Let me first start off by saying that I was hoping to make fettuccini alfredo last night but due to a few missing ingredients I had to pick something else. I needed something that wouldn’t take too long and something that didn’t require a trip to the grocery store. I have this big list done up of recipes from magazines I can go to when my mind is drawing a blank on what to make and the Indian Spiced Lentils with Spinach and Rhubarb from Vegetarian Times was calling out to me. I’ve only ever enjoyed rhubarb in sweet forms and really wanted to try it in a savoury meal for a change, so even though I don’t like cooked spinach and even though I don’t like raisins in savoury dishes, for some reason I decided to make this in hopes that the immaculate flavour would overpower my dislikes.

Well, the flavour was nice, but damn do I not like slubby spinach in my food! I really should have chopped it or torn into smaller pieces. I always feel bad when I try a recipe and don’t like it but really I should have known better then to make this one. It’s not like it’s a horrible dish, it was nicely spiced and had a lovely flavour but I just have a lot of trouble getting past the spinach and raisins, what can I say, I’m all about the texture! I also ate this as is, when it would have been much better served over some kind of grain. I’m really happy about my addition of green beans, they added a nice little crunch in amongst all the smoothness.  The rhubarb was also surprisingly noticeable, you could really taste the tartness but in a good way; I guess the raisins are added to help balance out the tartness. I really need to find a substitute for raisins in savoury recipes, I tend to not like a lot of Moroccan recipes for this reason, as they seem to always be listed as an ingredient.

Now that I have totally turned you off from this dish, here’s the recipe!

Indian Spiced Lentils with Rhubarb
Makes 6 servings
Slightly adapted from Vegetarian Times (June 2011 issue)


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 2 tablespoons yellow mustard seeds
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons cumin seeds
  • 2 teaspoons coriander seeds
  • 1 1/2 cups red onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 3 tablespoons fresh ginger, minced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • pinch red chili flakes
  • 1 cup brown lentils
  • 3 1/2 cups vegetable stock
  • 1/2 lb fresh or frozen  rhubarb, cut into 1/4 inch slices
  • 1 cup green beans, cut into 1″ pieces
  • 4 cups baby spinach leaves
  • 1/2 cup cilantro or parsley


In a skillet, over medium-low heat, add one tablespoon of oil.  Once heated, add the mustard, cumin and coriander seeds. Cover skillet, and cook 2 minutes, or until seeds begin to pop. Cook 1 to 2 minutes more, or until popping stops, shaking skillet often. Remove from heat, cover, and set aside.

Heat remaining one tablespoon of oil in saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and raisins; sauté 8 minutes, then add ginger, garlic, chili flakes and turmeric. Saute a few minutes more or until onions begin to brown. Stir in lentils and 3 cups broth; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer 25 minutes. Stir in rhubarb, green beans and remaining 1/2 cup broth; cook 5 minutes. Add spinach, cover, and cook mixture 5 minutes more. Stir mixture to incorporate rhubarb and spinach leaves, then stir in spice mixture. Serve garnished with cilantro or parsley.

3 thoughts on “Vegan Mofo Day 21: Indian Spiced Lentils

  1. Mandee says:

    Hehe, you haven’t turned me off but I often feel like I do the same thing on my blog

    I don’t like cooked spinach either but I did like it in the mushroom pie I made last week, which was strange for me. As a sub for raisins you could try cranberries or is it the sweet, chewy form that you don’t like?

    Anyway, I would give this a go just to see what rhubarb is like in a savoury dish.

    • Maggie Muggins says:

      Ha, ha, well that’s good, I don’t want to make it seem like it’s gross or anything.

      Cranberries might be a good idea, I might give that a shot, thanks. It’s just something about the flavour of the raisins, I can’t quite figure it out but I just can’t stand them in savoury dishes.

  2. Erin says:

    Raisins are gross, I hate them so much that I don’t even bother trying to substitute them with anything else- they just don’t get included. I’m intrigued by the rhubarb in this, though.

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