Spiced Lentils and Rice with Garlicky Yogurt Sauce

Spiced Lentils and Rice with Garlicky Yogurt Sauce

This is my go-to quick and easy meal for when I get home and have nothing planned for dinner. It only requires a few ingredients that you probably already have on hand in your fridge and pantry. It also freezes really well — I usually freeze half for easy future meals!

The ingredients couldn’t be simpler or more affordable!

  • Spiced Lentils and Rice: oil, onion, salt, spices, brown rice and lentils

  • Garlicky Yogurt Sauce: plain yogurt, lemon juice, garlic, salt, pepper

  • Fresh cilantro or parsley (optional)

  • Fried Egg (optional)

This meal may seem basic, and it is, but it’s also jam-packed with flavor and loaded with nutrition. The warming spices are toasted in oil and infuse the rice and lentils with tons of flavor and the browned onions add a little touch of sweetness. Don’t skip the the tangy, garlicky yogurt sauce — it makes the dish. SO GOOD!

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What are the health benefits of lentils?

Lentils are a nutrition powerhouse! They are loaded with protein, zinc, iron, and fiber just to name a few. The list seriously goes on and on. By far my favorite legume!

How do you make a yogurt sauce?

There isn’t a simpler sauce than a yogurt sauce. All you need is yogurt, water, salt and pepper for the most basic version. I like adding lemon juice and garlic for a more punchy flavor!

Does it matter what kind of lentils I use?

You you should use green lentils or black (beluga) would also work I think. Don’t use red lentils as they break down too much and are better for soups.

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Spice Lentils and Rice with Garlicky Yogurt Sauce

Serves 6

Ingredients:
3 tbsp avocado oil, divided
1 onion, sliced into half moons
1 ½ tsp salt, divided
2 tsp coriander
1 ½ tsp allspice
1 ½ tsp cinnamon
1 ½ tsp cumin
½ tsp turmeric
1 cup dried brown lentils
1 cup brown rice
4 cups water

Garlicky yogurt sauce:
1 cup plain whole milk yogurt
2 tbsp water, or more to thin it out
1 tbsp lemon juice
2-3 cloves garlic, crushed or minced
¾ tsp salt
Black pepper

Garnish (optional): fresh cilantro, paprika, fried egg

Instructions:
In a large pot, warm 2 tablespoons of oil over medium heat. Add the onion and ½ teaspoon salt and cook over high heat for 4 minutes, or until they start to turn light golden brown (see picture above).

Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil and spices and stir constantly to toast them, about 15 seconds.

Add the brown rice and lentils and remaining 1 teaspoon of salt and stir to coat them in all of the spices and oil.

Add the water, bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer covered for 40 minutes, stirring halfway. If there is still water left in the pot, remove the lid and turn to heat up to boil it off.

Meanwhile, make the yogurt sauce by mixing together all ingredients in a small bowl. Taste and add more salt or lemon if needed. You may need to add more water to thin it out depending on the thickness of the yogurt you used.

Serve the lentils generously slathered in the yogurt sauce and topped with cilantro, paprika, and/or a fried egg, if desired.

Tips and tricks for the perfect spiced lentils and rice

  1. Cooking times can vary due to different factors: type of stovetop, brand of brown rice…so make sure to taste the rice to make sure its done. If there is still water in the pot and the rice is done, remove the lid and boil it off. If it needs more time to cook, just add more hot water.

  2. The lentils cook faster than the rice so they will be done sooner, but that’s fine, trust me!

  3. The lentils might rise to the top while cooking, that’s why its good to give it a stir halfway through so that the rice can cook evenly.

  4. This will stay good in the fridge for 5-7 days. It also freezes really well — just pop it in the microwave until thawed and quickly whip up some yogurt sauce!