Saturday, February 5, 2011

Earthy Shade of Winter (Spiced Lentils & Roasted Cauliflower)

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Sick of winter? Yeah, me too. Soup and stew season, for sure. The cold also lends itself to cravings for heavy, meaty food – and I was in the mood to make something a little healthier. This pair of vegetarian dishes were absolutely splendid side by side.

The cauliflower recipe originally called for golden raisins, but I thought the cranberries gave a much brighter flavor. The lime juice was a last minute addition to the lentil recipe. Lime juice just goes so well with greens and earthy flavors for balance.

To drink? A dirty, funky Bordeaux. Decant well, people. Enjoy!

Spiced Lentils with Mushrooms & Greens

  • 1 c. lentils
  • 1/2 lb. sliced portabella mushrooms
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. coriander
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. turmeric
  • 1/2 lb. Swiss chard or other greens, large stems discarded, leaves chopped coarsely
  • 1 tbsp. chopped parsley
  • juice of a lime

In a small saucepan, bring the lentils, some salt, and 2 1/2 c. water to a boil. Cover and cook over low heat for 30 minutes or until lentils are tender.

In another saucepan, heat a tablespoon of olive oil over moderate heat. Add the mushrooms, some salt, and a splash of red wine. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, for 6-7 minutes, or until mushrooms have given off most of their liquid. Add spices and cook, stirring, for 1 minute or until fragrant. Add the greens and cook, stirring, until wilted – about 3-4 minutes.

Add the lentils with the cooking water to the mushrooms & greens. Bring to a simmer. Simmer 4-5 minutes. Add the parsley and lime juice.


Roasted Cauliflower with Dried Cranberries

  • 1 head cauliflower, cut into small florets
  • 1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp. dried cranberries
  • 1/4 c. grated Parmesan or Pecorino cheese
  • 1 tbsp chopped parsley

Preheat the oven to 375. Spread the cauliflower florets in a baking pan and drizzle with vinegar and a tablespoon or so of olive oil. Toss until coated. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and toss again. Roast for 40 minutes or until tender.

In a small skillet, heat a little olive oil over medium heat. Add the cranberries and saute for a minute or so, until berries are hot. Add the raisins to the cauliflower along with the parsley and cheese and toss to mix.