Indian Spiced Lentils with Poached Eggs
These Indian spiced lentils are a fast, healthy, flavorful dinner for the whole family – gluten free and vegetarian, too!
Last night, in the car on the way back from our local babywearing meeting, a neighbor and I were chatting about starting her daughter on solid food soon. She confessed that her big, irrational fear of parenthood is choking.
It’s not to say that it won’t happen, but chances are pretty slim that her daughter will try to eat some piece of food that is too big, it will get lodged in her throat, and she will choke to death. Babies put things in their mouth, sometimes they choke, but a watchful parent will react quickly and clear the airway.
But it started a discussion on how every parent has a “thing” that they worry about needlessly. Something they know likely won’t happen, something they can probably fix if it does — and yet, they still can’t stop thinking about it. For me, it’s having a picky eater.
Yes, I know it’s not a big deal, at all. But as someone who loves food and loves to cook, I get so sad at the thought of toddler-aged Ryan refusing to eat everything I offer. A tiny toddler terrorist, demanding nothing but macaroni and cheese and cereal.
I know I can force him to lead a poor, sheltered life, free of typical toddler food, but someday, he’ll experience it, love it, and demand it all the time, and my mother will tell me the macaroni and cheese story for the billionth time.
My mother has told me many times that she cooked everything for me from scratch. Then one day I went over to her friend’s house for a playdate with her son and they served good old Kraft Macaroni and Cheese from the blue box. I could not stop talking about it for days and telling my mother what a great cook her friend was. So yeah, I know that will happen to me someday as well.
But! That doesn’t mean that I can’t try my best to expose Ryan to as many flavors and textures of food as possible now, so he’s less likely to find them strange or unfamiliar and reject them in the future. I find myself on a constant quest for things which are flavorful, a little spicy, something he can finger-feed himself (soups are a bit challenging at the moment!), and most importantly — FAST. I usually don’t get home from work and the gym until after 7 and my goal is for us to eat dinner by 7:45, so I feel like it’s always a mad dash to cook dinner.
Enter these Indian spiced lentils, topped with poached eggs. It’s fast (30 minutes!), it’s healthy, it’s definitely flavorful, and it’s absolutely 10 month old approved. Two sticky, Indian spiced lentil covered thumbs up from Ryan, who happily ate this for dinner and for lunch two days later in the week, alongside some sautéed garlicky green beans and roasted carrots dusted with cumin.
The hardest part about this? The poached eggs. Let me share a little secret: invest in some egg poaching cups, and then spray the heck out of them with cooking spray. I made poached eggs for years without them, but some of the egg white always escapes and seems to get crusted along the side of the pan. My husband dreaded poached eggs because of the amount of scrubbing required to clean off the egg film. Thanks to the egg cups, cleanup is a breeze, and no vinegar necessary in the water. Plus, the eggs always come out delightfully oval shaped every time.
Indian Spiced Lentils with Poached Eggs
A fast, healthy dinner for the whole family – gluten free and vegetarian!
- 1 cup dried lentils (I used a combination of red and green)
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 large onion, diced
- 1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomato, drained
- 2 teaspoons garam masala
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 4 large eggs
- freshly ground pepper, to taste
- 1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
- Bring 3 cups of water to a boil in a large saucepan. Add lentils and bay leaf, cover, and reduce the heat. Simmer for 20-25 minutes, or until lentils are tender. Drain the lentils and discard the bay leaf.
- With 10 minutes left for lentils to cook, heat a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil to coat the pan. Add in onion and tomato; sauté until onion is translucent and tender, about 10 minutes. Add in the garam masala, cumin, salt, cayenne pepper, and garlic. Sauté 2 minutes, then add the drained lentils. Cook for a minute or two to coat with the onion mixture, then remove from heat.
- Meanwhile, add water to a large skillet, filling two-thirds full with water. Bring water to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer. Break eggs into well-greased egg cups. Gently place egg cups in pan, cover the pan, and cook for 5 minutes. Remove the egg cups from the pan using tongs.
- Place a scoop of lentil mixture on each plate, then top with poached eggs. Sprinkle with freshly ground pepper and a tablespoon of Greek yogurt.
Recipe adapted from Cooking Light
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