This quick, tasty vegan dish is great for meatless Monday
Need meatless savor in a hurry? Something nutritious and comforting?
Say hello to lentil and cabbage curry. The hearty umami of lentils will tickle the taste buds of even the most confirmed carnivore.
Chew on that.
Recipe: Lentil and Cabbage Curry
We generally eat this dish as a main course, but it would also work as a side. It’s hearty enough for a complete meal as is, though you could add rice or bread (we’d opt for using naan or another flat bread). Or you could start the meal with a salad.
Prep time for this dish is about 10 minutes. Cooking time adds 30 minutes or a bit more.
This recipe makes about 3 large main-course servings (double that number if served as a side). Leftovers keep for a few days if refrigerated in an airtight container. They’re great reheated for lunch (or breakfast).
- ½ cup lentils (we use the ordinary brown lentils, but see Notes)
- ¼ teaspoon turmeric
- 1½ cups water
- 1 medium onion
- 1 red bell pepper
- 2 cloves garlic (or more to taste)
- 1-inch piece of fresh ginger
- 1 to 2 jalapeño peppers (to taste)
- ~½ small green cabbage (about 10 or so ounces once trimmed)
- 2 tablespoons cooking oil
- salt to taste (see Notes)
- 1 tablespoon curry powder (or more to taste)
- garnish of sliced jalapeño peppers (very optional)
- Pour the lentils into a bowl of water, swish them to remove any dirt or grit, then drain them into a strainer. Add the lentils to a saucepan (use one that holds up to 2 quarts), then add turmeric and water. Bring the lentils to a simmer, then set a timer for 25 minutes.
- Meanwhile, peel the onion and slice it thinly or cut it into dice of ½ inch or so. Set aside.
- Wash and dry the bell pepper, core it and remove the seeds and ribs, then cut it into dice of ½ inch or so. Set aside.
- Peel the garlic and add it to a mini food processor. Peel the ginger, chop it roughly, then add it to the mini food processor. Whirl until the garlic and ginger are finely chopped. Set aside.
- Wash and dry the jalapeño pepper. Cut off the stem ends, then cut it in half lengthwise. Using a small spoon, scrape out the seeds and white membrane (the oil from these carries much of the jalapeño’s heat). Chop the jalapeño finely and set it aside; alternatively, you could chop the jalapeño roughly and add it to the garlic and ginger mix in Step 4, whirling it in the mini food processor. (We often reserve a few sliced jalapeño rounds for garnish.) Then wash your hands with soap and water to remove the spicy jalapeño oil from your skin.
- Remove the tough outer leaves from the cabbage half and cut away the core. Cut the cabbage half into quarters lengthwise, then cut across the width of each quarter (no need to shred as finely as you would for coleslaw; just cut into pieces of about an inch). Set aside.
- Place a large frying pan over medium stovetop heat. When the pan is hot, add the cooking oil. When the oil is heated (about 15 seconds; it’ll shimmer), add the chopped onion and red bell pepper. Add salt to taste (about ½ teaspoon for us). Sauté for 5 minutes, until the onion just becomes translucent. Push the onion mixture towards the sides of the pan, then add the garlic and ginger mixture to the middle. Add the chopped jalapeño. Sauté for 1 minute. Then add the curry powder and stir to combine. Let the mixture cook for 30 seconds or so, then add the cabbage. Turn the heat to high and sauté for 2 minutes or so, then add ~¼ cup of water and stir to combine. Turn the heat down to medium low and partially cover the pan. Let the mixture cook until the timer for the lentils goes off (Step 1).
- Test the lentils to make sure they’re tender, or nearly so (if not, continue cooking until they’re tender enough for your taste). Add salt to taste, then pour the lentils into the frying pan with the cabbage. Stir to combine and continue cooking until the cabbage is tender.
- Taste the lentil and cabbage mixture, adjust the seasoning if necessary, and serve.
- Sometimes we stir a handful of chopped cilantro into this dish right before serving.
- We often garnish each serving with a sliced jalapeño round.
- Speaking of jalapeños: They’re not the only option for this dish. You can substitute another type of small spicy pepper if you like.
- We always have ordinary brown lentils on hand, so that’s what we use for this recipe. But red lentils would also work well, as would other types of lentils. Just remember that different types of lentils cook at different rates, so you may need to adjust the cooking time.
- We sometimes add a teaspoon of whole cumin right before adding the curry powder (Step 7).
- In the past, we always made our own curry powder blends. We sometimes still do, but we’ve also found commercial blends that we like. We suggest trying a few until you find one that suits you. The flavor of some commercial blends is quite good, and using them makes for easier meal prep.
- We use ordinary green cabbage in this dish, but Savoy cabbage would work well too.
- BTW, we add water to the frying pan (Step 7) so that the steam it generates as it evaporates will help cook the cabbage. We often cook cabbage until it’s just al dente (we like the flavor, and shorter cooking time helps preserve some of its green color). You can of course cook the cabbage longer if you prefer.
- You can alter this recipe to suit your taste – and the ingredients you have on hand. We sometimes skip the red bell pepper, instead adding a 14-ounce can of diced tomatoes when we add the cabbage. You could also substitute cauliflower (or another vegetable) for cabbage. We think eggplant or zucchini would work. Or winter squash. Or green beans. Or . . . you get the idea.
- We use kosher salt in cooking. It’s less salty by volume than regular table salt (the crystals are larger and more irregular, so they pack a measure less tightly). If using table salt, start with about half the amount we suggest. But always season to your taste, not ours.
“Mmm, savory,” said Mrs. Kitchen Riffs. “And the lentils play so well with vegetables.”
“Guess you could say they’re the pulse of this dish,” I said.
“I’m not even going to dignify that with a groan,” said Mrs K R. “Sometimes I wonder about your lentil state.”
Maybe I’m just suffering from an exist-lentil crisis.
You may also enjoy reading about:
This is totally new to me, John. I love all the ingredients, though, so I have a feeling I'd love this dish.
Hi Jeff, this is one of those dishes we created just messing about in the kitchen. :-) Thanks for the comment.
This looks so colourful and inviting with all the veggies. I like its easy and fuss free preparation too.
Hi Angie, we like to make this sort of dish a lot. Easy, tasty, and pretty healthy. :-) Thanks for the comment.
I stocked up on lentils in March. This sounds delicious!
Hi R, yup! :-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi Debra, we always cook with lentils a lot, but we stocked up too. So we've had to get inventive. :-) Thanks for the comment.
We're not giving up meat, but we are trying to cut back. And we love lentils and cabbage. This dish sounds right up our alley. Thanks, John!
Hi Terry, we love meat, but it turns out most of the meals we make are meatless. Or contain meat more as a seasoning. Weird. But that's us. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Oh I could definitely eat this as a main course! it looks delicious
Hi Pat and Dahn, it IS delicious. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Cabbage never seemed like a curry ingredient to me, but I need to reconsider that. The flavors here appear very nice.
be well... mae at maefood.blogspot.com
Hi Mae, you should definitely reconsider -- it works really well in curry. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Great flavors, textures, and colors in this healthy dish.
Hi Pam, we really like color and texture in food. And flavor too, of course! :-) Thanks for the comment.
Wow! I have never used cabbage in any kind of curry. This fascinates me. Love love love this.
Hi Mimi, cabbage isn't the first thing you think of when you think curry, but curry and cabbage really work together well. And the lentils add a lot, too! :-) Thanks for the comment.
A wonderful combination of ingredients for a curry. I've only added cabbage to curry once and it turned out quite well. With the lentils, I'm sure it is a great complement. Nice colorful dish John.
Hi MJ, we don't often add cabbage to curry, but always like it when we do. And love lentils with cabbage! Thanks for the comment.
This sounds like a fun curry-flavoured combo unlike any I have made also ! Red lentils are my general go-to here and Chinese cabbage is the usual one waiting in the crisper. I rarely use curry powders for my fave curries but keep a few in the pantry for instance for morning sandwich egg salad . . . so they are there. Methinks I would add the extra cumin and perchance asafoetida (hing powder) which is priceless with vegetable curries . . .
Hi Eha, we've grown to like commercial curry powders more and more. Lazy, probably. :-) Asafoetida is good stuff -- it'd be good in this. Thanks for the comment.
I love cabbage! I feel like I'm coming out of the closet (again!) with that declaration. But it's true. I just know how savory and silky it will be in this preparation. GREG
Hi Greg, :-) cabbage isn't appreciated nearly enough, is it? Thanks for the comment.
Always nice to have a meatless meal and this is one where I almost always have the ingredients on hand! Cabbage is a staple in our house!
Hi Abbe, we have cabbage around a lot, too. Hence, this recipe. :-) Thanks for the comment.
This sounds like a great and fantastic fall meal
Hi Anne, it's mighty tasty. :-) Thanks for the comment.
I love all of these colors! Yum!
oh me oh my. lentils and cabbage. just as well you both ate it! otherwise it may have been somewhat ... interesting in bed after a meal like that.
Unfortunately, the cabbages grown in Ontario are enormous so I generally have to plan 4-6 cabbage dishes in a short period of time to use it up. In Arizona, some stores sell half a cabbage, which still would be too much, but a lot easier to manage. We just love lentils and I feel lentils du puys would be a wonderful substitution, I particularly love them because they hold their shape very well throughout cooking, you needn’t be as careful. The spices in your dish sound warm and comforting, perfect for a chilly fall night.
Lentil and cabbage curry is a new one to me, which is a good thing. I see a double batch of this hitting the table soon. Leftovers for breakfast sounds great. That way I could lentily start my day...
Hi Natalia, we do like color in food. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi Sherry, LOL! It really is a terrific combo of flavors. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi Eva, we haven't made this with lentils du puys, but think they would be terrific. I know what you mean about those huge cabbages -- we were able to buy one that wasn't too big, thank goodness. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi Ron, we often eat dinner leftovers for breakfast. Or brunch more like it -- not hugely hungry first thing in the morning. Thanks for the comment.
Cabbage is one of my favorite ingredient.This curry looks so good John. We make cabbage and potatoes once a week but have to try cabbage and lentils together.
Hi Priya, we love cabbage and potatoes! Such a great combo. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Interesting combination of flavors and textures. Have never tried cabbage with lentils before. Thanks for the recipe.
Hi Amira, it's a good combo -- worth a try. :-) Thanks for the comment.
John and Mrs. Riff, you are both a hoot! I could not even help but laugh at your end antics. These are always our favorite. Love lentils and your spices and veggies do make this a lovely meatless meal any day of the week. Stay well and take care
Hi Bobbi, those endings are our favorite part of each post. Well, that and all the research. :-) Thanks for the comment.
This looks very delicious,I am reminded of a vegetarian version of kedgeree. I love that you have added green cabbage, a very economical meal as well. Definitely on my list of must dos.Great ending as well, ha,ha. Thanks so much.
Hi Pauline, glad you enjoyed the ending. :-) And this really is a nice dish -- the sort of thing we make all the time for weeknight dinner. Thanks for the comment.
This sounds and looks really good, John! Unfortunately, many years ago I had something with a lot of curry and decided I would never add it to anything I made. I should really try this and bet it will change my mind as I love lentils and cabbage. Curious about which curry you would buy.
Hi Pam, the Spice Islands brand really isn't bad and you can find it in any supermarket. Kind of mild flavor, but it sounds like that might be a plus for you! Thanks for the comment.
Cabbage is so under-appreciated. In these pandemic times, I love how it keeps for weeks in your veg drawer, too, so it's always handy. Can't wait to try it with lentils.
Hi Carolyn, this is definitely a pantry-style dish. :-) Thanks for the comment.
What a fantastic combination of flavors. One might actually forget this is a healthy meal! Nice job, John!
Hi David, what we really like about this recipe is you can play with it so easily -- alter the spices (Mediterranean herbs and spices work well), make it hotter or milder, switch out the veggies. :-) Thanks for the comment.
I love how green this is with the cabbage, lentils and chilli. Sounds like a great winter warmer!
Hi Caroline, it's a wonderful warmer! :-) Thanks for the comment.
Going meatless a few times a week is such an easy way to save money... and with your wonderful curry we still get to enjoy all of the savory flavors we are craving! Perfect!!
Hi Heidi, we're big fans of savory flavors! :-) Thanks for the comment.
Your closing comments always make me laugh, John, and these ones are no exception. I love the idea of this meatless dish and all the wonderful flavours you have going on in here - I would devour this any day!
Hi Katerina, we enjoy writing those endings. :-) And like this dish, a lot! Thanks for the comment.
Love all of these ingredients, and curried foods are so wonderful during the cooler months. Happy Thanksgiving, John! :-) ~Valentina
Hi Valentina, we love this sort of dish at this time of the year too. Happy Thanksgiving, and thanks for the comment. :-)
The lentils would give it some nice flavours and textures
Hi Raymund, we really like lentils, and this is a great way to use them. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Looks delicious, I would serve soft rolls on the side, we like brown lentils here, we make its soup and also make it with rice. Thanks for the recipe it's a great healthy dinner!
Looks amazing! Just the sort of meal I like. I'm trying it as soon as I've been to the market.
Hi Muna, we make lentil soup a lot! It's good stuff. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi Amalia, this is a pretty typical meal for us -- easy and really flavorful. :-) Thanks for the comment.
This looks seriously tempting with all the spices you've added in this curry! so healthy too, goes so well with many dishes, wonderful recipe!
Hi Aarthi, we love curried cabbage! Thanks for the comment.
Post a Comment