Lentils, Spinach

Red Lentil Masala + Spinach

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Red Lentil Masala + Spinach

Serves 4  | Prep Time: 20 minutes | Cook Time: 35 minutes

I know this isn’t a dish you’ll be making after a busy day; but I put it in here for you because you can plan ahead. Make the masala paste 2-3 days in advance then make the lentils. You’ll be glad you did.


For the masala paste

  • 1 ½ teaspoons cumin seeds
  • 1 ½ teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 2 inch piece of ginger (peeled and cut into pieces)
  • ⅛ to 3 teaspoons red pepper flakes (see note)
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 2 teaspoons garam marsala
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • ⅓ cup packed cilantro leaves

For the Lentils

  • 1 tablespoon olive or coconut oil
  • 1 small red onion (diced)
  • 2 cloves garlic (minced)
  • ⅓ cup masala paste
  • 1 cup stewed tomatoes
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • ½ cup red lentils, rinsed
  • 2 cups spinach (packed)(about 1 bunch)
  • ½ to 1 cup low-sodium vegetable broth (or water)

Chef Tips


Step 1 (for the masala paste)

To make paste, toast cumin and coriander seeds in a dry skillet until fragrant. Use a mortar and pestle (or a spice grinder) to grind spices.

In a small food processor, add ginger and pulse until broken into small pieces. Add red pepper flakes, smoked paprika, cumin, coriander, garam marsala, and salt. Pulse a couple more times to incorporate. Next, add nut oil, tomato paste, and cilantro leaves. Pulse until paste forms and everything is well incorporated. Set aside.

Step 2 (for the lentils)

Heat a skillet over medium heat. Melt coconut oil (or olive oil) and add diced onion, cooking until translucent, 4-5 minutes. Add in minced garlic and cook for one more minute. Stir in masala paste and cook for 1-2 minutes, then add stewed tomatoes and coconut milk. Stir together and bring to a boil.

Add in lentils and reduce heat to low. Cook, stirring often, until lentils are tender, 20-25 minutes. If liquid has absorbed but lentils are still not tender, add ½ cup of vegetable broth and cook until lentils are tender. Remove from heat and fold in spinach.

Serve with your favorite grain, extra cilantro, and a dollop of plain greek yogurt.