Spicy Lentils with Tomatoes


These lentils have been my go-to recipe for years.  They are quick, easy, delicious, and healthy.  I first had them when my stepmom made them for New Years as a good luck food item.  I have eaten them plain, with tortilla chips and with brown rice.  This recipe is adapted from a Cooking Light soup recipe.  Instead of pureeing some of the lentils to make a soup, I just use less broth and eat them whole.  The process takes about 15 minutes to prepare and an hour to cook and like magic you have lunch for a week!  The lentils freeze well and you can adjust the amount of red pepper flakes to get the desired level of heat.

Spicy Lentils with Tomatoes

adapted from Cooking Light


  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cups of chopped onion
  • 1 tsp ground tumeric
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (this is about a medium spice level, add more if you like things extra spicy or leave it out entirely if you like things mild)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup water
  • 4 cups of chicken or vegetable broth
  • 2 1/3 cup brown lentils
  • 1 (28 oz) can of petite diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • *optional: chopped cilantro or cilantro sprig for garnish


Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion and sauté for 3 minutes.  Add the turmeric, cumin, chili powder, red pepper flakes, salt, pepper, and garlic and sauté for 1 minute.  Add water, broth, lentils, tomatoes, and cilantro and stir mixed evenly.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer 1 hour uncovered.

Garnish with chopped cilantro or a cilantro sprig, if desired.  Serve by itself, with tortilla chips, or over cooked brown rice.


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