We are finding gorgeous tomatoes in our Ranui Gardens CSA box this month. You could use them in this stew-like dish, but I like to savor the rarity and freshness of the heirlooms in salads, sandwiches and raw—and use canned tomatoes here. I choose quinoa as the bed underneath the vegetables—feel free to substitute rice or any other cooked grain.
Precook the kale in another saucepan and add it at the last minute to the lentils.
1 ¼ cups red or tri-color quinoa
1 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 onions, chopped
2 tablespoons smoked paprika
2 teaspoons ground cumin
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 cup green lentils, sorted and rinsed
1 (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 bunch Lacinato kale, stems removed and discarded
Freshly ground black pepper
Rinse the quinoa well to wash away the saponin coating. (Saponin is a natural pesticide quinoa produces so birds won’t eat it. It doesn’t harm humans; it just makes the quinoa bitter if not rinsed well.)
Bring 2 ½ cups of water to a boil and add the quinoa. Cover and reduce the heat to low. Simmer until the water is absorbed, about 30 minutes. Just as with rice, do not stir—tilt the pan to see if there is any water left. Set aside.
Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium flame. Add the onions and cook, stirring often until the onions are translucent, 10 to 15 minutes. Stir in the paprika, cumin and red pepper; cook and stir for several minutes.
Add the lentils, the tomatoes and 3 cups of water. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat; cook and cook for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, adding more water if needed. The lentils should be tender to the bite.
Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add the kale leaves and simmer them until the greens are tender to your tongue, 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from the water and let the kale cool on a cutting board. Chop—about 1 inch apart with your knife, in both directions to cut the leaves. Stir the kale into the lentils. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve over the steamed quinoa.
Makes about 4 servings.