Coconut Lentils with Sweet Potato and Mango
Lentils are the most utilized staple in my kitchen. They are wholly nutritious, readily available, and so pleasingly affordable. I was never a fan of lentils growing up, until I gave our rocky relationship another go during my early vegan years. I'm so glad that I did. If you want the full truth, lentils are as much of a nutritional powerhouse for dogs as they are for people, and since our beloved greyhound, Hansel, was absolutely fanatical about lentils, I began to prepare them more often. He was our King, and he harbored impeccable taste. And while Hansel's lentils were always prepared clean with some mixed vegetables and sweet potato, I'll dress up these lentils a bit more for you to enjoy.
2 cups red lentils
2 cups canned, light coconut milk
2 cups prepared vegetable broth (plus a touch more, as reserve)
1 sweet potato or yam, cut into very small chunks
1 cup chopped mango
1 Tbsp ginger
1 tsp coriander
1 tsp turmeric
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 to 2 serrano peppers (optional)
2 Tbsp. algae or grapeseed oil
1 lime, juiced
This dish is prepared in an almost identical fashion to the chana masala recipe. First, saute the chopped onion, garlic and minced peppers with your oil in a saute pan set over medium-low heat. Once translucent, add the ginger, coriander, and turmeric. Incorporate until a thick paste is achieved and the bouquet of spices has opened up (see above). Take a moment to enjoy. The turmeric is going to color everything in the pan and this is entirely okay. After a few minutes, add the coconut milk, vegetable broth, lentils, and sweet potatoes. Stir to combine and turn down the heat just a notch, as we don't need for it to boil, just simmer. The dish will continue to thicken as the lentils soften and open up, so giving it a regular stir will prevent them from sticking to the pan. This process will take about 35 to 40 minutes until the lentils and sweet potatoes are soft, but not mushy. I like to add the mangoes now to gently cook through.
Should the lentils become very thick, go ahead and thin it out a bit with some reserved vegetable stock, to your liking. I typically add a splash or two towards the end myself to keep it from drying out. Finalize your seasonings with a dash of salt, pepper, and fine tuned spice adjustments. Squeeze some lime, stir, and take off the heat to plate.
I typically enjoy this dish on its own, but it is also wonderful paired with an equally fragrant saffron rice. It is also a dish that might just improve overnight, so I've ensured leftovers with this recipe. Garnish with an extra splash of lime, cashews, coconut flakes and chili, for an added pop of color, texture, and flavor.