Colombian Coconut Lentil Rice
This Colombian rice side dish makes an amazing entree for us vegans, or anyone looking for a light and nourishing meatless main course. Serve alongside a cabbage salad and your favorite hot sauce.
Tip: Many Colombian meals tend to be on the mild side, so I’ve added the option of including non-traditional habanero peppers to spice it up. Warning, tread lightly with habañero peppers if you’re not acquainted with their intense, fruity heat!
1 cup uncooked brown lentils
1 large yellow onion
2 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon coconut oil or vegetable oil
2 cups white long grain rice
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
¼ teaspoon ground allspice
generous pinch cayenne pepper
1 ¼ cup vegetable broth or water
One 14 ounce can coconut milk (light works well here)
3/4 teaspoon sea salt
1-2 habañero chile peppers (optional)
1. In a small bowl soak lentils with 1 cup of hot water for 30 minutes. Drain off excess liquid.
2. While lentils are soaking (start about 15 minutes into soaking), peel onion and dice very fine. Peel garlic and mince. In a heavy 3 quart pot with a tight fitting lid saute onion, garlic and coconut oil over medium heat until onion is soft and golden, about 4 minutes. With a wooden spoon stir in rice and cook for another 3-4 minutes or until rice is toasted and just starting to turn golden.
3. Stir in ground spices, then add vegetable broth or water and bring to simmer, stirring constantly. Add lentils, coconut milk and salt and increase heat. If using habañero chiles, pierce whole chile several times with a fork and add to the pot. Bring mixture to a boil, stir one more time, then reduce heat to low and cover tightly. Cook for 26-30 minutes or until liquid is absorbed and rice and lentils are tender. Remove from heat and let stand covered for 10 minutes. Remove chiles if using, fluff with a fork and serve.