I have to confess, I’m definitely not good with delayed gratification. Even though my birthday isn’t for another few weeks, I’ve already purchased my birthday present (half from me, half from mum and dad).
Ta-daa! Isn’t she pretty?
I’ve never had a food processor before, so this is all very exciting. Just imagine all the things I could do with it! I can chop things, and mix things, and slice things, and…
Ok, so I hadn’t really thought through why I wanted one specifically. I just knew that I’d heard people say they were life-changing/very useful, and I’d been slightly awed by how fast Jamie Oliver managed to prepare a potato and onion side dish on 15 Minute Meals a few weeks ago.
I have an impulse-buying problem when it comes to food related items. I won’t buy whatever the item is instantly, I will think it through, come up with a very good argument why I need one, talk it through with a parent and then buy it anyway. Thankfully, because I do love cooking so much, these items actually get used (apart from the poor neglected juicer, which I’d use if I spent more time in London and therefore less chance of the vegetables going off before I can use them). The slow cooker, up until the last few weeks, has been used pretty much every single week since I bought it. I hope the same goes for the processor.
Along with the excitement that my present had arrived, my return home from Havant on Friday evening also brought with it the return of my self-control, at least for the weekend. Unhealthy comfort-eating is so easy to avoid when I’ve got no hotel menu to choose from. I decided that I would further aid my cause and make something that I could freeze and easily heat up after work. No more Thursday/Friday evening takeaways for me, at least not for another 4 portions!
So I present…
Impulsive Pulses: Broccoli and Lentil Dhal
You will need:
1 cup red lentils
2 medium-large heads broccoli
1.5 medium onions
1 tsp black mustard seeds
1 tsp yellow mustard seeds
1 tsp ground cumin
1.5 tsp garam masala
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp chili powder (I used mild, but you could use medium to taste)
5-6 cups vegetable stock
2 cups almond milk
1.5-2 tbsps extra virgin olive oil
Nutritional yeast flakes (optional)
First, finely chop your onions. Or, if you’re like me, test out your brand new food processor on the onions and marvel at the fact that they were chopped in literally 2 seconds! It’s like magic!
Pour the oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat, then add the chopped onion, lentils, mustard seeds and ground cumin. Cook until the onion has softened, around 7-10 minutes, but be careful to make sure that the spices don’t burn.
Whilst the lentils and onions are cooking, prepare your broccoli. Rinse, then chop the florrets into chunks and add to the food processor. You can also peel off the outside of the stems, before chopping them roughly and adding these too to the processor. Whizz (a very technical term) until fine.
If you don’t have a food processor, channel your inner axe-murderer and chop with a sharp knife until all your pieces of broccoli are very, very small.
Next, add the broccoli to the saucepan, followed by the vegetable stock. Cover and let simmer for 20-25 minutes, keeping an eye on the liquid levels.
Now, the original recipe (or rather, the adaption I first read) used less vegetable stock than I’ve suggested, and therefore warned about the liquid reducing too much and needing a top-up. For my recipe, this is unlikely to be the case. I cooked with the lid on for the first 20 minutes, then took the lid off in order that some of the liquid would cook off.
My main reason for making this wetter is that I knew I was cooking this to be kept – both in the fridge for the next day and in the freezer for even-further-away future consumption. Liquid will continue to evaporate from the dhal as it cools, and I didn’t want to have to worry too much about adding too much more water in the future-portions (and potentially diluting the flavour).
After 25 minutes or so, with the lid off for the last 5, add the rest of the spices and the almond milk. Mix thoroughly and continue to cook for a further 10-15 minutes, until at your preferred consistency. If you prefer it thicker, leave it cooking for longer.
To serve, there are multiple options. Eaten as-is is just fine, but I do love (and the original adaptation suggests) a dash of paprika sprinkled on top.
Another variation is a tablespoon of nutritional yeast flakes mixed into a bowlful of the dhal. This adds a delicious nutty flavour, and gives the dish a completely different vibe to the paprika-version. It’s also full of vitamins and other healthy goodness too!
And there you go. A fairly quick, cheap, delicious and healthy dhal. Perfect for when you need a bit of extra warmth over the next few months, or need to make the pennies stretch a bit after some crazy impulse-buying!
- 1 cup red lentils
- 2 medium-large heads broccoli
- 1.5 medium onions
- 1 tsp black mustard seeds
- 1 tsp yellow mustard seeds
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1.5 tsp garam masala
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 1 tsp chili powder (I used mild, but you could use medium to taste)
- 5-6 cups vegetable stock
- 2 cups almond milk
- 1.5-2 tbsps extra virgin olive oil
- Paprika (optional)
- Nutritional yeast flakes (optional)
- First, finely chop your onions.
- Add the oil to a large saucepan over a medium heat, then add the chopped onion, lentils, mustard seeds and ground cumin. Cook until the onion has softened, around 7-10 minutes, but be careful to make sure that the spices don’t burn.
- Prepare the broccoli - rinse, then blitz in a food processor (or chop) until fine.
- Next add the broccoli to the saucepan, followed by the vegetable stock.
- Cover and let simmer for 20-25 minutes, keeping an eye on the liquid levels.
- Add the rest of the spices and the almond milk.
- Mix thoroughly and continue to cook for a further 10-15 minutes, until at your preferred consistency. If you prefer it thicker, leave it cooking for longer.
- To serve, there are multiple options. Eaten as-is is just fine, but I do love a dash of paprika on top. Alternatively you can sprinkle on nutritional yeast.