Curried Lentils & Spinach

By Jill Nussinow
Lentils like many other legumes are chameleons. They’re traditional in Indian cooking. You can use the box of frozen spinach because it’s more available but I also like keeping a bag of chopped spinach in my freezer for recipes like this. Those bags are 16 ounces so I use 2/3 of the bag or about 3 ¼ cups. This is mildly spiced so if you like things hot, you might want to double the spices and add a hot pepper when cooking or more cayenne.


    • canola or other neutral oil
    • Cilantro or mint
    • cumin seeds
    • curry powder
    • frozen spinach
    • garlic
    • grated ginger root or 1/2 teaspoon powdered ginger
    • lemon juice
    • lentils
    • onion
    • Pinch of cayenne pepper
    • if desired
    • Salt and pepper
    • vegetable broth


    1. Heat the oil in a medium (1 1 /2 to 2 quart) saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté for 2-3 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté for 30 seconds, then add the ginger, curry powder, cumin seeds and cayenne, if using.
    2. Saute another 30 seconds and then add the lentils and stock. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cover. Simmer for 30 minutes and test to see if lentils are cooked through.
    3. When the lentils are close to being thoroughly cooked, add the spinach and cook until hot. Remove from the heat, add the lemon juice. Taste, and add salt and pepper. Top with chopped cilantro or mint. Serve on top of rice or other cooked grain.
    4. Tips & Techniques