Food First: Indian Lentils with Rice


mcmahon-wideFood First means making what you eat a priority. Making it simple, not more complicated than it needs to be! Food First means using food as your medicine. Farm before Pharma, I say! Food First means listening to your own body and giving it what it needs to get back in balance.

If you are like me, you may have gathered a lot of recipe books over the years. Some are hardly ever used and look barely read, while others have worn out bindings, spills on the pages and possibly even a burned corner or two. My favorite cookbooks are the ones that make preparing and eating real, whole foods a simple and enjoyable part of my day.

Back in the 1990s, my mom gifted me a copy of the Reader’s Digest Live Longer Cookbook that had a large “Meatless Main Dishes” section. At that time I was living on a cattle ranch in Idaho, dying to learn how to work more vegan and vegetarian dishes into my life. This cookbook was the beginning of that journey and is now the way I prefer to eat. The recipe below was one that was enjoyed by all five kids as they were growing up. I hope you enjoy it, as well!

Indian Lentils with Rice

2 T oil
2 medium-size yellow onions, thinly sliced
3 C chicken or veggie stock
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp curry powder
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/8 tsp ground red pepper (cayenne)
1/8 tsp sugar
1 C tomato juice
3/4 C long-grain brown rice
3/4 C dried brown lentils, sorted and rinsed
4 small carrots, peeled and sliced thinly
1 C plain yogurt (or non-dairy version)
1 T. minced fresh mint, cilantro, or parsley for garnish

In a large heavy saucepan, heat the oil over moderately high heat until very hot but not smoking. Add the onions and stir to coat with the oil. Add 1/4 cup of the stock, reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook for 5 minutes or until the onions are soft. Uncover, raise the heat to moderate, and continue to cook, stirring constantly, 3 minutes more or until the onions are golden.

Add the garlic, cumin, curry powder, cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, red pepper, sugar, remaining 2-3/4 cups of stock, tomato juice, rice, lentils and carrots. Bring the liquid to a boil, then lower the heat, cover and simmer for 30 minutes.

Uncover and stir the mixture. If it seems dry, add 1/4 to 1/2 cup of water until the liquid just covers it. Continue to cook for 10 to 15 minutes or until the lentils are tender. Top each portion with 1/4 cup of yogurt and a sprinkling of fresh herbs if desired. Serves 4.

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Nutrition Julie
Nutrition Julie is a Certified Holistic Health Coach and Raw Food Nutrition Educator who is passionate about Nutrition, Health and Wellness. Julie believes that real, whole, nutritious foods are a powerful tool in living a healthy, conscious, disease-free life and works to educate, inspire and empower the people she works with through her step-by-step Food First System. For more information, visit


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