One-Pot Lentils + Quinoa with Spinach
A healthy, vegetarian dish these one-pot lentils and quinoa couldn't be easier. With spinach, mushrooms and lots of herbs, they're flavorful and delicious!
It’s official. I’ve launched us into Fall. I hope you can forgive me.
Even though we’re only a few days into September, and it’s still sweltering here in the City, my mind has moved from light, airy salads and onto the wonderfulness that is autumn cooking.
In particular cozy bowls of beans mixed with hearty veggies and quinoa. Like today’s one-pot lentils + quinoa. They’re warm and comforting like a bowl just wraps you up in a big food hug. Not to mention it’s filled with nutrients. It really is one of those meals that nourish you from the inside out.
The star of today’s show: LENTILS
Now I just have to say, lentils have not always been my favorite thing. They were certainly not on the top of my list when it came to beans (gimme all the chickpeas and black beans), BUT now that I’m eating more plant-centric, lentils have become a go-to protein source for me. I always have some in my fridge ready to be tossed in a salad, wrap or just eating with a bit of salt and pepper. They’re just easy. And SO good!
If you’re new to this little legume, here are 10 reasons why I love lentils:
- They’re a fabulous source of plant-based protein, with one serving containing 11g ????????
- They’re packed with fiber and have 19g (????????) per serving
- They’re really high in iron and one serving contains 20% of your daily value ????????
- They’re in other macronutrients like folate (disease-preventing), thiamin and phosphorus
- They’re quick-cooking unlike most beans and can be made in under 20 minutes
- They’re one of the oldest legumes ever – they’ve been dated back to 7,000BC (say whaaat!)
- They’re a great meat substitute – just try them in burgers????????
- They come in lots of different varieties
- They’re used all over the world from Ethiopia to France to Iran (and NYC!)
- They’re budget-friendly!????????
- You can make an easy, one-pot vegan meal in 30 minutes!????
Oops, that was eleven. But they deserve it.
The lentils I used in today’s recipe are from Bob’s Red Mill and are definitely my new variety. I usually opt for French Green Lentils, but these ones, which are lighter and have a yellow hue to them, are spectacular. They have a milder flavor which I really like because that means you can add them to all sorts of dishes and unlike other types of lentils, they really hold their shape when they’re cooked. They have a super creamy texture and absorb other flavors like it’s nobody’s business.
Since this one-pot meal has loads of dried herbs, the lentils soaked it all up and brought everything together. Super simple and super delicious!
I don’t know why I don’t make many one-pot meals around here. They’re kind of brilliant. Clean up is a total breeze.
If you follow me on Snapchat (????alyssarimmer <– come snap with me!), then you’ve seen my kitchen after a day of recipe testing…not pretty. SO. MANY. DISHES. It’s the worst.
But this meal? Took me 5 minutes to clean my entire kitchen. Woah????
Okay back to the topic at hand: one-pot lentils.
As you’re working through the recipe, I want to suggest that if you can, use a Dutch oven or some other cast iron pot if you have one.
I find that when you make something like this in a traditional sauce pot, you don’t get all those gorgeous brown bits on the bottom which is where a lot of the flavor hides. So using a big pan like this one will really help you capture all the aromas and flavors from the ingredients.
Also, if you don’t need this recipe to be vegan, you could totally use chicken stock in place of the vegetable stock and it would still taste amazing.
Oh and you could also substitute any type of greens you want. I went with spinach because I love it, but it would be awesome with kale, chard or even collards. I’ll let you do you.
Once you’re ready to serve the lentils, might I suggest you drizzle with a generous helping of olive oil, so fresh herbs (I used chives) and some freshly grated parmesan cheese? You won’t be sorry.
But wait…cheese? On a vegan recipe?
Gotcha ???????? That fluffy white stuff on top of these bowls? That’s not cheese!????????????????
It’s freshly grated cashews, which a) totally looks like cheese and b) is freaking amazing! I’m doing this on all my pasta dishes from now until forever.
For this exact moment though, it’s just the perfect ending to this comforting bowl of lentils.
More One-Pot Meals to try:
- One-Pot Moroccan Lentils + Quinoa
- One-Pot Vegetable Chickpea Curry
- One-Pot Root Vegetable + Lentil Quinoa Stew
- One-Pot Quinoa Mac and Cheese with Spinach
One-Pot Lentils + Quinoa with Spinach
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large shallot chopped
- 1 cup chopped carrots
- 2 cups chopped mushrooms
- 2 - 3 garlic cloves minced
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 cup Bob's Red Mill Lentils
- 2 cups vegetable broth
- 2 1/2 cups water divided
- 1 teaspoon miso paste optional*
- 1/2 cup red quinoa or variety of choice, uncooked
- 4 - 5 cups fresh spinach
- Salt + pepper to taste
- Olive oil fresh herbs and grated cashews* to garnish
- Heat the oil over medium heat in a large Dutch oven or cast iron pot. Add shallots and carrots and cook until the carrots have started to soften, about 3 - 4 minutes. Add mushrooms and continue to cook until mushrooms are juicy and tender, another 5 minutes.
- Add garlic, red pepper flakes and herbs. Stir around until the whole mixture becomes fragrant, about 1 minute.
- Pour in lentils, broth, 2 cups of water and miso (if using). Bring the mixture to a boil, cover and reduce to simmer for 15 minutes.
- Remove lid and add quinoa and remaining water. Stir to combine. Bring the mixture back to a boil, recover and reduce to simmer for another 15 minutes.
- Remove pot from the heat, uncover and add spinach, stirring gently to combine. Taste (carefully!) and season with salt and pepper.
- Serve with a drizzle of olive oil, fresh herbs and grated cashews.