My wife and I recently got together for a great meal with a couple who are really good friends and vegans. Why point out the vegan thing? Because they’re strict vegans, and my wife’s and my diet are pretty much the antithesis of veganism. So, out of respect, any food I cook and serve to them must be free of animal matter.
This can be a bit of a dilemma because, while you’ll find a lot of vegan food on this site, very little of it is actually a main dish. So, I went hunting for a good vegan main dish to bring to their place. I actually found a new-to-me vegan lentil dish in the December 2006 edition of Gourmet magazine, so I made that, plus this vegan lentil dish and veganized naan.
The beauty of this dish is its simplicity: only a few easy preparation steps. And, aside from the coconut milk, it’s super good for you and goes well with basmati rice or naan.
Here’s what you’ll need:
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped peeled fresh ginger
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 (2 1/2-inch) fresh jalapeño or Serrano chili, finely chopped, including seeds
- 2 cups water
- 1 1/2 cups dried red lentils (10 oz)
- 1 (14-oz) can unsweetened coconut milk
- 1 lb zucchini, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
- 1 cup loosely packed fresh cilantro leaves
What to do:
In a large, heavy pot or saucepan, cook the onion in oil over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until edges are golden, about 6 minutes.
Add the ginger and garlic and cook, stirring often for a minute.
Add cumin, coriander, turmeric, salt, and chili and cook, stirring for another minute.
Stir in the water, lentils, and coconut milk, simmering for 5 minutes, covered, stirring every minute.
Stir in zucchini and simmer, covered, until the lentils and zucchini are tender (about 15 minutes).
Season with salt and serve with cilantro sprigs scattered on top.
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