Spicy Lentil Pilaf with Pineapple-Walnut Salad

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What this post comes down to is me giving myself a little kick in the butt.

I have the worst habits in summer, one of which is not eating actual meals. Just snacking continually throughout the day. Actually… this habit transcends into the school year, too. It’s just me and hummus and rice cakes for the long run.

Despite being a huge fan of the spiciest foods, I don’t make them near enough. If I’m honest, I would have doubled the amount of chilli peppers in this recipe because it wasn’t spicy for me. But… apparently I have some alien taste buds that have no spice tolerance ceiling and don’t detect salt (everything tastes salty to me? I rarely season things I eat).

Spicy foods are great for a number of reasons—boosting metabolism, maintaining health, increasing serotonin levels… besides being delicious, of course. So you should totally add more spice to your palette this summer!

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Like I was saying, I’ve been eating out of hummus containers for two weeks and it’s getting pathetic. Pilaf is one of my favourite dishes. It’s simple, filling, and you can play around with flavours and add-ins. Something different each time you make it.

The salad was a last-minute idea. I am craving all things green. Big time cravings. You should have seen me scavenging for the broccoli in miscellaneous frozen vegetable mixes… or maybe it’s better you did not. To me, salad does not need any dressing, but this is coming from the same girl who eats out of a bag of lettuce like a bag of potato chips.

Yep. Green binge game going strong.

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Spicy Lentil Pilaf with Pineapple-Walnut Salad

vegan, gluten-free, soy-free, corn-free, nut-free, refined sugar-free

2 Tbsp virgin coconut oil
1 large onion, thinly sliced
4 cloves garlic, smashed
small handful dried chilli peppers
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp tumeric
1/4 tsp ginger
1.5 cups long grain brown rice, rinsed and drained
1 cup green lentils, rinsed and drained
1L filtered water
1/4 cup sultana raisins, optional
salt and pepper, to taste

In a large heavy pan, heat oil over medium-low heat. Add onion and cook until caramelized, stirring occasionally and adjusting heat as necessary, about 20-30 minutes. Add garlic and spices and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add rice and stir to coat. Let is cook dry for a few minutes, then carefully add water. Add lentils. Turn heat to high and cook until water simmers. Cover, reduce heat to low, and cook for 30-45 minutes until rice and lentils are cooked completely and pilaf is dry.

Remove from heat, add raisins, and let rest for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a salad bowl or large mixing bowl, combine 10oz chopped mixed lettuce (I used radicchio and romaine), 1/2 cup chopped fresh pineapple, and 1/4 cup coarsely chopped walnuts.

Fluff pilaf with a fork and season to taste. Dish up and serve immediately with salad. Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge.

Serves 4 as a main, or 6 as a side dish

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