Monday, February 24, 2014


The flavors of all three items blend perfectly together!
  • 5 T olive oil, divided (1T + 2T + 2T)
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped onion, divided (1/2 cup + 1 cup)
  • 1 T minced fresh garlic
  • 3 cups unsalted vegetable stock
  • 2 cups uncooked french green lentils -or- black lentils, rinsed
  • 4 t + 2 t Cajun seasoning, divided
  • 2 pounds large carrots
  • 2 cups cilantro leaves
  • 2 T rice wine vinegar
  • 1 t sea salt
  • 1 t sugar
  • 1 t ground cumin
  • 1 t ground coriander
  • 1 t freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 jalapeño peppers, seeded

Starting the lentils...
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Heat a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add 1 T of olive oil to the pan; swirl to coat.
  3. Add 1/2 cup of chopped onion and minced garlic; saute about 5 minutes or until onion has a translucent golden look to it.
  4. Add vegetable stock, uncooked lentils, and 2 teaspoons of Cajun seasoning. Bring to a boil then cover and reduce heat. Simmer for 45 minutes or until lentils are tender.
  5. Place carrots in a baking pan. Drizzle the 2 T of olive oil over the carrots then sprinkle over the top the remaining 4 teaspoons of Cajun seasoning. Using your hands or utensils, make sure that the carrots are well coated with the mixture. Make sure all the carrots are laying in a single layer and bake them in the preheated oven for 30 minutes, or until tender.
  6. In a blender or food processor, combine the remaining 1 cup of chopped onion, remaining 2 T of olive oil, cilantro leaves, and remaining ingredients - vinegar, salt, sugar, cumin, coriander, black pepper, cloves, and jalapeno peppers - then process until smooth.
  7. Place the lentils onto a plate and arrange carrots on top. Drizzle about 3 tablespoons of harissa over the top of the carrots and around sides of lentils.
Use a deeper set pan for roasting the carrots.
{Original recipe from Cooking Light Magazine's March 2014 issue - recipe has been adjusted from original.}

Serves: 6 (About 5 ounces of carrots, about 1 cup of lentils, and about 3 tablespoons of harissa.)
Prep Time: About 20 minutes.
Cooking Time: About 50 minutes.

Calories - 427; Fat - 12.1 grams (sat - 1.7g, mono - 8.4g, poly - 1.5g); Protein - 21.4 grams; Carbohydrates - 63.6 grams; Fiber - 14.1 grams; Cholesterol - 0 mg; Iron - 6.6 mg; Sodium - 504 mg; Calcium - 72 mg

Details for New Cooks
OLIVE OIL - Organic and extra virgin is the best choice. The entire recipe calls for a total of 5 tablespoons but is divided up into three different sections of the recipe. Make sure to keep track. For an oil even less in fat, use non-GMO canola oil.

CHOPPED ONION - The original recipe did not specify any type of onion; I used a yellow onion. A total of 1 1/2 cups of chopped onion is used in this recipe, divided up into two different sections. (How to chop an onion - click here.)

MINCED GARLIC - Freshly minced garlic is always the best but you can use packaged pre-minced garlic as well. (How to mince fresh garlic - click here.)

VEGETABLE STOCK - This recipe calls for unsalted vegetable stock and let me tell you, I could not find any. The closest I could find was low sodium and I chose the brand that was organic and had the least amount of sodium listed.

LENTILS - The original recipe called for black lentils. When I went to the supermarket they just happened to be all out of black lentils (as well as the other kind of dry bean I was on a mission for...just my luck). I substituted for French Green lentils as they were closest in size and color and it turned out amazing. Rinse them well and no need to cook them; they go in dry.

CAJUN SEASONING - The original recipe called for more than what is listed on this version and, even though it was still an amazing dish, I felt it was just too spicy for the average person. This version should be just right! If you can't find the cajun seasoning in the spice aisle look for it near the spices that are located near the fresh seafood.

CARROTS - Wash the carrots prior to cooking and cut the tops off. Make sure they get coated well in the olive oil and cajun seasoning mix. The 30 minute mark should be the perfect length. The carrots will come out still fairly hard at the thicker ends but the skinnier ends will be very tender. Be careful when plating, the skinnier ends may break off if you're not careful.

CILANTRO LEAVES - Just pull the leaves off the stems. No need to be perfect with removing stems as they will be going through the blender or food processor.

SALT - Sea salt is a great alternative to your natural common table salt. I actually used Himalayan Pink salt in this recipe. There are some amazing salts out there with some amazing qualities. Step outside your comfort zone and explore! Look at your local health food store. 

GROUND CUMIN AND CORIANDER - Ground cumin is fairly common and, even though the ground coriander isn't as common, both were found at my local supermarket like Safeway/Thriftway. 

GARLIC CLOVES - Peel two whole garlic cloves and throw them into the blender/food processor. 

JALAPEÑOS - Wash and cut the tops off. Not sure how to deseed them? Click here for a short tutorial.

  1. The oven is being preheated for your carrots. 
  2. Use a saucepan with tall sides as you will eventually be adding quite a bit of liquid and lentils to it. 
  3. Don't cook onion and garlic longer than 5 minutes or else it will burn. Stir often during the 5 minutes. Garlic and onion cooks quickly. The garlic will end up with a roasted smell to it and the onions will become translucent and golden brown. 
  4. Add ingredients as directed and wait until mixture comes to a good boil. Cover with a lid. Don't turn the temp all the way down to the lowest setting; turn it to just above the lowest setting. (Tip: My stove runs from 0 to 10. During this step I would turn the burner down to 1 to simmer.)
  5. After your mixture has been covered and set to simmer for 45 minutes - don't forget to set a timer - the oven should now be preheated and ready for the carrots. Use a deep set baking sheet if you have one (one that has about a 1-2 inch side around the edge), rather than just a flat baking sheet (like you would bake cookies on). After drizzling the carrots with oil and sprinkling with the remaining Cajun seasoning, either use your hands or a couple of utensils to move the carrots around and ensure they are coated well and evenly. Put your carrots in the oven around the time that your lentils still have about 30-35 minutes left so that both will be done around the same time. 
  6. I always use a food processor for stuff like this but if you only own a blender it will work. Just throw all the ingredients in and blend until smooth. 
  7. Layer each item; lentils on the plate first, then lay 3-5 carrots on top, then top it off with the harissa sauce. 

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