By Lindsey Proctor, Contributing Writer
What’s your most favorite food in all the world? I always had such a hard time answering this question, until one day I was discussing it with a co-worker, and she rephrased the question this way – “When you’ve had a hard day, what’s the thing that you want to go home and eat? What’s your comfort food?” and I thought for a moment and answered “I do believe that would be curry.” I love the simplicity and ease of making it, the distinct spicy flavors, and the warmth that comes with it.
These curried lentils have all of those qualities – spicy, unique Indian flavors tempered with some creamy coconut milk, ease of preparation, and the ability to warm and comfort you on a chilly day, plus the added benefits of being quite nutritious! Dr. Weston Price considered lentils the most nutritious legume, and they are high in calcium, potassium, zinc, iron, and B vitamins.* They don’t have a lot of flavor on their own, which makes them great for dishes such as this because they take on the flavors of the other ingredients and seasonings you add to the dish. After a short soaking period to neutralize the phytic acid, (so plan ahead) lentils pack a lot of nutrition at little cost.
And little cost is what we’re looking for! When Kimi asked us to come up with a recipe for October that cost no more (or not much more!) than $1.00 per serving for the Healthy $1 Menu, my mind automatically went to the standard frugal staples – beans and rice. I knew I needed something with lots of flavor and spices to take it from boring to interesting, and curry was a natural choice for me. The two apples sitting on the counter were a last-minute addition, and I’m glad I added them, because, along with the onions, they add good texture to the dish.
Here’s the cost breakdown for each ingredient, total ingredient cost, and the total cost per serving. All prices are taken from a nation-wide department store chain – the blue one. 😉
Lentils – 1 1/4 cups (8.5 oz) dry lentils = $0.60 ($1.12 / lb)
Jasmine Rice – 2 cups (14.4 oz) uncooked rice = $1.00 ($1.14 / lb)
Apples – 1/2 lb (2 medium) apples = $0.75 ($1.50 / lb)
Onion – 1/2 lb (1 med-large) onion = $0.50 ($0.98 / lb)
Coconut Milk – 1 cup (a little over half a can) = $1.07 ($2.14 / 14 fl oz can) (or you can make your own for even less!)
Garam Masala Seasoning – 3 tsp = $0.70 ($2.30 / 1.7 oz jar)
Curry Powder – 1/2 tsp = $0.29 ($3.48 / 1 oz jar)
Ginger – I couldn’t come up with an estimate for this. I used about a teaspoon of fresh-grated ginger root and it didn’t even register on my gram scale. I do know the average price for ginger root is $3.00 – $4.oo per pound, and if you peel it and keep it in the freezer and grate some off as needed, like I do, it lasts through many, many meals.
Coconut Oil – 2 TB for sautéing – $0.50 ($6.98 / 14 oz jar)
Total Ingredient Cost = $5.41
This recipe makes 6 servings so the total cost per serving = $0.90
*Fallon, Sally Nourishing Traditions pg. 507
Tip: Since this recipe only calls for half a can of coconut milk, why not double the amount of lentils, freeze both them and the coconut milk (in separate containers of course! 🙂 ) and then you’ll have a head start the next time you want to make this dish!
- 1¼ cups lentils, uncooked (3 cups cooked)
- 2 cups Jasmine rice, uncooked (4 cups cooked)
- 1 medium-large onion, chopped
- 2 medium apples, peeled, cored, and thinly sliced
- 2 TB coconut oil
- 1 cup coconut milk
- 3 tsp Garam Masala seasoning blend
- ½ tsp Curry Powder
- 1 tsp grated fresh ginger
- To prepare lentils: Place lentils in a quart-sized jar. Add 2 TB whey or lemon juice, and fill with warm water until lentils are covered. Cover jar and leave in a warm place for 7 hours. Drain, rinse, and place in a pot with three cups of water. Cook until lentils are soft and most of the water is absorbed, about 30 minutes.
- To prepare rice: Bring 4 cups water to a boil. Add rice, lower heat, cover and simmer until rice is cooked and water is absorbed, about 15 minutes. Fluff with a fork before serving. (I like to boil my water while I'm preparing the curry, and then simmer the curry while the rice is cooking.)
- To make Curried Lentils: In medium skillet (8-inch), heat coconut oil over low heat until melted. Increase heat to medium, add apples and onions. Cook until onions are translucent and apples are soft, about 10 minutes.
- Add garam masala, curry powder, and grated ginger. Toss with apples and onions and cook until the spices are slightly toasted.
- Add lentils and coconut milk. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Serve over rice and enjoy!
Lindsey Proctor is a twenty-something foodie, with an emphasis on great tasting real food. She lives with her parents and sister on Hickory Cove Farm, a small, natural and sustainable farm in South-Central Pennsylvania where they raise Alpine and Nubian dairy goats, and a flock of pastured laying hens and a few roosters. Her favorite place to be is out in the pasture with her goats, but she also enjoys spending time in the kitchen cooking, baking, preserving food, and cheese making. She also enjoys photography, music, and a really good cup of coffee, and blogging at The Life Of Linz. She views her life in the country as a great blessing and it is her firm belief that she has been placed there for a purpose; to help others get back to living and eating the way she think God intended us to – a simple, fresh, local, and seasonal way of life.
Latest posts by Lindsey Proctor (see all)
- Coconut Orange Ginger Beef Stir-fry - July 18, 2014
- Why We Drink Raw Goat’s Milk - January 27, 2014
- Apple Oatmeal Mini Loaves (Soaked whole grain and naturally sweetened!) - December 7, 2013
Coconut milk isn’t mentioned until the very end. How much coconut milk is called for? Thanks!
Christine, she does give the amount of coconut milk under the cost estimate at the top – 1 cup of coconut milk. 🙂
I adore curried anything. This recipe sounds delish. Must try it!
Good catch, Christine! I’ve updated the printable recipe to include the coconut milk. 🙂
What a delicious dish, can’t wait to try it, thanks for sharing.
I don’t have time to soak my lentils beforehand. Is there a reason you include that step? Can’t I just cook them per the package directions (15-20 min)?
Yes! Though if the package only says 15-20 minutes, I’d say you must have red lentils which will fall apart once cooked, creating a very different texture. Just so you know. 🙂
I made this with red lentils and they did fall apart. It was delicious. I’ll do it again.
It was also fine as leftover. I’m a recent widow so recipes that are good cold as well as reheated are a real help.
I’m making the pumpkin chai latte tonight.
I’m so glad it turned out! I actually love red lentils and use them often. Hope the pumpkin chai latte is a success too for you. 🙂
Oh no I just added uncooked (soaked) lentils when they should have been cooked!!!
I’ve added more liquid and will keep my fingers crossed.