This dish began as a craving for some sort of lentil taco “meat”—a filling that I could use in breakfast tortillas and burritos and bowls through the week. I’ve made dishes like this before (there’s a recipe in Choosing Raw) and enjoyed having them around as a protein-rich component for meals. This time, I thought, I’d come up with a streamlined formula.
As I was making the dish, I guess my need for time-saving, one-dish recipes took over, as it often seems to when I cook these days. No sooner had I prepared the lentil component than I thought about how likely it would be that I’d pair it in rice, even if it ended up in a burrito or a bowl. And since it was almost dinnertime, and I was hungry, I decided to mix it up with the rice right then and there. This one-skillet spiced lentil walnut rice is what resulted, and while it’s not exactly what I’d planned on, I’m pretty happy about it.
It comes together without too much fuss, especially if you have a can of lentils and the rice pre-cooked. I started by making the lentil walnut “meat” in my food processor: just a mixture of cooked lentils (if you’re not using canned, you’d cook about 2/3 cup dry, which will give you a scant 2 cups cooked), walnuts, tomato paste, nutritional yeast for savoriness, and spices.
You could stop right here and use this as a component for other meals, as I originally planned to. Or, you could sauté some onion, add the lentil/walnut mixture to the skillet and warm it up, add some tomatoes and chopped zucchini (or another vegetable), and then stir in cooked rice. I used frozen brown rice, which has been a time-saving staple for me this year. Thanks to that, the whole dinner was ready in less than thirty minutes.
It’s a simple meal, but it’s been giving me all of the things I need to fuel studying these days: complex carbs for energy, plenty of protein (over fifteen grams per serving), some healthful fat from the walnuts to keep me full, and some vegetables for fiber and phytonutrients. It’s the definition of a power plate, and I appreciate its versatility along with everything else. At this point, I have indeed stuffed it (along with some steamed kale) into a wrap and called it a burrito, and I’ve served it bowl-style with roasted broccoli and some leftover baked tofu.
Lots of possibilities, but a simple bowl of the rice is a very good breakfast or lunch, just the way it is. Here’s the recipe.
Is this supper so vastly different from my rice, beans, tofu and greens? Not really. Is it the most creative dish I’ve made all year? Also no. But I’m grateful for simple things lately, and these kind of nutrient-dense grain skillets are high on the list. This is a particularly nutritious one, and if you try it, I hope it’ll fill you up as well as it has satisfied me.
Continuing to chug away at things here, slowly and with focus. Wishing you a wonderful Labor Day weekend, and I’ll be back on Sunday with recipes and reads!