Lentils and Rice

A 'One Pan Wonder'

You buy the wheat, rice, beans and all and properly store it away for when you might need it. But how familiar are you with actually making a meal out of what is in those buckets? I thought I'd take this opportunity to share with you one of my recipes, and the variations on it, that make it one of my favorites.

If you didn't have refrigeration, and had to live off your food storage, do you know how to ensure that you are getting enough protein? Well, a very handy thing is that 1 part bean or legume plus 3-4 parts grain (rice, millet, corn) forms a complete protein. I use rice and lentils because the lentils cook in the same time as the rice. In many parts of the US rice and beans is popular. In Latin countries they primarily eat corn and beans. In parts of Africa it would be millet or sorghum and cowpeas. People have figured out naturally that combining the bean/legume and the grain will keep them alive and healthy even if they don't eat a steak 5 nights a week.

As a vegetarian for many years, I would make rice and lentils because it was EASY – EEEZZZZ!! And it only took one pot (I eventually earned the nickname The One Pot Wonder due to making most meals on only one pan or pot :o)

I'd put 1/3 cup of lentils and 1 cup of brown rice in the pot. (You could also use ¼ cup of lentils and ¾ cup of rice). Since 1 cup of brown rice is usually cooked with 2 cups water, that's what I did with my rice and lentil mix – I added 2 cups of water for the 1 cup of rice, and 2/3 cup of water for the 1/3 cup of lentils.

So into the pot would go:

1/3 cup lentils
2/3 cup water
1 cup brown rice
2 cups water

I'd turn the heat on medium while I chopped up an onion and 2-3 carrots and added them to the pot. Then I'd mince some garlic and toss that in (I LOVE garlic). I would put in a big squirt of Braggs Liquid Aminos instead of salt (this is kind of a cross between soy sauce and miso, tasty and good for you) or I'd salt to taste if I didn't have any Braggs. This is what I consider "The Basic Mix". Once it comes to a boil, turn it down low, and put a lid on it so it just simmers. It will be done in 30 to 40 minutes. Fast and easy.

Just as it is, the Basic Mix version is tasty. The brown rice and the lentils complement each other. The carrots and onions are not only good for you but add to the flavor (and are great keepers for those of you who garden). But sometimes I wanted a Change (I made this a lot back then). To The Basic Mix, I would add a variety of things to make all sorts of different dinners.

Before I get to the variations though, let me now show how this same Basic Mix can be made without fresh veggies, all out of food storage items. You put your same 1/3 cup of lentils and 1 cup of rice and the 2/3 cup plus 2 cups of water into the pot, and turn it on medium. Then I grab a big handful of dehydrated mixed vegetable blend (carrot cubes, onion, tomato, spinach, celery stalk, and mixed bell peppers) and put it in the pot. Add a couple tablespoons of dehydrated minced garlic, add the Braggs Liquid Aminos to season it and we have the same basic mix. I did add about 2 Tablespoons of additional water though because of the dehydrated veggies and garlic.

VARIATIONS ON "THE BASIC MIX"

Sometimes I would add chili powder, a bit of cayenne powder and a can of diced tomatoes to the basic mix and all of a sudden I had Mexican Rice and Lentils.

I would also add garam masala (a spice blend) and toasted sesame oil to the basic mix and have a Northern Indian dish.

One of my favorites was a coconut curry. I would get the Basic Mix simmering, and to it I would add my favorite curry powder. You will have to experiment to see how much you need to make your mouth happy. Once the rice and lentils had cooked for 15 or 20 minutes tops, I'd add a big handful of raisins and a big handful of coconut and stir them in. You'll also want to add salt to taste. You will most likely have to add 2 to 4 Tablespoons of extra water because the coconut sucks the water in the pot right up. After the raisins and coconut have cooked in with the rice and lentils a few minutes, give it a taste. You may be surprised to find that you need to dump in some more of the curry powder. This also will be done somewhere in the 30-40 minute range. Unless you can't stand curry or coconut, this is a yummy recipe.

For a Greek flavor, add olives (black or Greek), diced tomatoes, oregano, a drizzle of olive oil -and if there are still grocery stores, top with some feta cheese!

You can also add fresh green beans from the garden (actually any vegetable that can't run faster than you ;o)

Experiment, try new spices, combinations. This recipe can be changed to taste a 100 different ways, but you are still getting a complete protein that will keep you in great health (and without dirtying every pan in the kitchen).

PRE-MIX FOR YOUR FOOD STORAGE

One thing you can do is get some of the smaller Mylar bags and oxygen absorbers and make up The Basic Mix (dry of course).

Into a quart or gallon size bag you simply put the rice, lentils, dehydrated veggie blend, spices and seasonings and seal it up. Make sure to label the Mylar bag with what is in it and DON'T FORGET TO PUT HOW MUCH WATER TO USE to make up the meal. Don't think "Oh, I will remember to add 1 2/3 cups of water next year when I go to make this up!" Nope. Do yourself a favor and add that little detail to the Mylar bag.

So take some rice and lentils, or millet or sorghum and cowpeas, and have some fun experimenting on what delicious One Pan Wonders you can come up with!

Cheers!

Teri Simpson
Optimum Preparedness
www.OptimumPreparedness.com

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Comments   

0 #1 Lisa Hawken 2013-03-04 04:12
thank you so much Teri, I look forward to trying your recipe.
I am a Ramtha student and I live in the UK and will be giving classes on preserving and storing healthy food. I am doing a great amount of research and preparation, please may I use your recipe for my classes. Thank you very much.
Love and blessings
Lisa

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