Lentils are said to have been found in Ancient Egyptians tombs as early as 2400 BC and since then they have made their way alongside meat onto certain European tables and mingled with garlic and onions on certain Middle Eastern and the South Asian tables.
They are sometimes green, sometimes yellow, sometimes red, sometimes black and sometimes brown - but they are oftentimes a healthy and tasty addition to any meal. At one point in time, they were even referred to as “the poor man’s meat.” But now there's even a festival celebrating these little orbs in Pullman, Washington!
Yes, the humble, budget-friendly lentil has quite the reputation when it comes to low fat, high protein legumes that manage to keep your cholesterol down and your blood sugars under control. And boy-o-boy are these orbs versatile!
And today, I have yet another variation of a lentil dish. Even if you happen to be over pumpkin, I have a feeling you are going to love this lentil side dish as pumpkin is only used as a thickener in it.
When the pumpkin mingles with the caramelized apples, onions, ginger and garlic, and the cumin, coriander and turmeric, it metamorphoses into something unrecognizable. And the chili powder and flakes further throw everything off kilter resulting in a dish where every mouthful will be a jubilant journey!
Now, while lentils were a traditional holiday dish on my table when I was growing up in Sri Lanka and Abu Dhabi, I urge you to not write them off this holiday season. They do go very well with a big slab of turkey or turkey leg and green bean casserole, and you can easily use your rolls to sop any leftover mouthfuls of this Spicy Pumpkin Lentil dish.
- 3/4 green apple, chopped
- 1 red onion, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated
- 1 cup dry lentils
- 2 1/2 cups vegetable stock
- 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon chili flakes, optional, can be reduced to taste or eliminated
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- cilantro and chili flakes, for garnish
- Sauté onions, ginger, garlic and apples in olive oil for 15 minutes or so on a low flame till apples and onions begin to turn golden brownish.
- Add in the lentils and stock.
- Stir in the pumpkin.
- Then season with the cumin, coriander, turmeric, chili and salt and pepper powder and flakes and bring to a boil.
- When it begins to boil, cover, lower heat and let simmer for 15 minutes.
- Garnish with cilantro and pepper flakes and serve warm.
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