Saturday, January 26, 2019

Mediterranean Lentil Bowl

Recently the wife and I have begun to enjoy "bowls." Rice bowls, farro bowls, and even quinoa bowls. Well, alright, maybe not quinoa bowls, but we will defend the right of others to make that choice.

The first such dish I ever had was a lentil stew with vegetable condiments.  Now, people would call it a bowl. Whatever the name, lentils remain my favorite.

For this dish, I read several lentil bowl recipes and discovered the ingredients and spices lie all over the map. Paprika,  Cumin, Nutmeg, Cardamon, Turmeric ... the possibilities were amazing. Recipes named cucumber, fried potatoes, brown rice,  cheese, and kale as possible toppings. I think the bottom line turned out to be that you can use anything that appeals to you. So I did.

To justify the addition of Mediterranean to the title, I stole a tahini based dressing recipe and made it. Then I changed it to improve it.

NOTE! The ingredients below are out of whack! The dressing amounts are for four "bowls." The bowl ingredient measures make two large servings. To come out even, half the dressing or double the bowl ingredients.

Bowl Ingredients

1 small sweet bell pepper, seeds and pith removed and thin sliced in strips
1 large Roma tomato, seeds and pith removed and thin sliced in long strips
1 medium carrot, peeled and thin sliced at an angle
1 double handful fresh spinach leaves, stems removed, thin sliced in strips
6 Kalamata olives, pits removed and sliced
3 white button mushroom, stems removed, cut in half and thin sliced
1 peeled and sliced avocado
1 cup of green or black lentils
3 cups of chicken or vegetable broth
1 Tbs.+  minced dill leaves

Dressing Ingredients

3 Tbs. Tahini
3 Tbs. Rice Vinegar
2 Tbs. vegetable oil
1 Tbs. dark sesame oil
2 Tbs. boiling water
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 large clove garlic, minced and turned into a paste
1 teaspoon sugar
1 large pinch salt
3 grinds black pepper
1 large splash sriracha (or to taste)


Combine the dressing ingredients and whisk thoroughly to blend. Set aside to allow the flavors to meld.

Place the lentils and broth in a medium saucepan, add a large pinch of salt, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer 20 to 25 minutes with the lid mostly on. You want the lentils done but not mushy. Keep an eye on the lentils and add additional broth if needed.

Rinse and process the vegetables.


Drain the lentils and mix in the spinach and dill. Toss to wilt the spinach. Taste and adjust salt and pepper. Allow to cool until merely warm.

Make a small mound of the lentils in the center of the service bowl. Arrange the remaining vegetables around the edge of the bowl, leaving the lentils visible. Ladle the tahini dressing over the vegetables and enjoy.