Monday, March 4, 2013

Slow Cooker Curried Lentils with Sweet Potato and Kale

Look, slow cooker meals aren't always pretty, but that's not why people love them. When there is a warm meal waiting for you at home you really don't care so much what it looks like. Especially if it is healthful and flavor-packed. 

As I've mentioned before, I'm a bit of a slow cooker novice. I've had some failures (gray soup anyone?), but I've had great success with curries. The low and slow heat is ideal to bring together veggies and spice. It just may not win any food beauty pageants.

These curried lentils are nice to have around for weeknight meals and lunches. Combined with greens and brown rice, you have super healthy bowl. 

When I'm doing a slow cooker meal, I always prep the ingredients the night before. Make sure any need-to-be cooked ingredients are taken care of and chop all the rest. 

When you've done a bit of prep the night before, you just dump everything in the day-of. More time to snuggle with your pup in bed or to be indecisive about your outfit.

When you get home you'll have some gnarly looking lentils, but this actually means they're ready to go. Nom nom... brown mushy stuff. Saute up a bit of kale and prepare the rice (I used the microwaveable kind from Trader Joe's). Dinner on the table by time the Husband has walked the dog. #winning

Slow Cooker Curried Lentils with Sweet Potato and Kale
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 inch fresh ginger, peeled and grated
1 tablespoon curry powder
1 tablespoon garam masala
1 jalapeno, chopped
2 celery ribs, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2 sweet potatoes, chopped
1 1/2 cups lentils
3 bay leaves
4 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 bunch kale, washed, ribs removed and chopped
3 cups brown rice, prepared
1 tablespoon cilantro, minced

Heat two tablespoons olive oil in a medium pan. Add onions and cook until translucent, add garlic, ginger, curry, garam masala and jalapeno; saute for 2-3 minutes. Reserve until ready to add to slow cooker.

In a large slow cooker, layer carrots, celery, sweet potato and lentils. Top with onion mixture and bay leaves. Add chicken stock and cook on low for 5 hours.

Heat one tablespoon olive oil in a large pan and saute kale, adding salt and pepper. Saute for 3-5 minutes until slightly wilted.

Serve lentils with brown rice and kale. Top with fresh cilantro.

Some recipe inspiration from Smitten Kitchen.

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