With bold, Indian-inspired flavors, Vegetable Curry and Lentil Rice is pilaf meets dal. Full of veggies and legumes, it’s a satisfying dish.
I have a little more than seven months left in my 30s. A decade ago, as I approached the end of my 20s, I was panicked. Despite having two young kids, a thriving freelance writing career, a house and a generally good life, I didn’t feel like I had accomplished enough.
Or really much of anything. I was nothing like the person I imagined I would be at age 30.
Sure, I had graduated from a great college, launched a career I loved and worked for some amazing publications. I had two great kids too. But the starter house I owned had long since gotten too small, I had zero books to my name and I wasn’t in a place where we traveled much and saved lots. I’d disappointed myself.
Maybe, though, I was too hard on myself. Maybe I couldn’t see just how much I had done already. Maybe I wasn’t ready to accept that sometimes our imaginative self and our real self differ because of the choices we make.
Now, as I approach 40, I don’t feel the same mixture of disappointment and sadness. I am not mourning the end of my 30s or worried that I have missed my potential.
In fact, I’m at peace with who I am. More than that, I am okay with this passage of time. And I can see all that I have done in the last 10 years.
Over the last decade, I have grown Sarah’s Cucina Bella, freelanced for just about every publication I’d ever wanted to, moved to Maine for a job that fulfilled so many life goals, taught college courses, sold that house, got divorced, learned to live on a budget and save money, traveled, wrote books and cookbooks, won awards and … I’m not done yet.
So what that I haven’t bought another house yet? So what that I haven’t delved into writing children’s books or fiction yet? So what that I didn’t do other things … I’ve done so much.
In the last 10 years, I have learned that I am not defined by what I do or do not do. I’ve also learned not to beat myself up over the things that aren’t perfect. And I have learned to celebrate the things that are.
Maybe this is precisely what folks told me about turning 30 versus turning 40. Leaving my 20s was scary. Approaching the end of my 30s is … comforting. Happy. Good.
And so is this recipe for Vegetable Curry and Lentil Rice.
With bold, Indian-inspired flavors, this dish falls somewhere between a pilaf and a dal. It’s packed with onions, carrots and peas, along with lentils, ginger, garlic and spices. And it’s delicious. But don’t take my word for it. Try it yourself.
Yes, it takes about an hour to make. But it’s also an all-in-one, self-contained, nutritious, filling, robust dish. And that makes for a delightful dinner.
Dishes like this Vegetable Curry and Lentil Rice aren’t just for dinner though. It’s also an excellent make-ahead dish that can be portioned out for perfect lunches. And if there’s something I have learned in the last decade, it’s the value of good, homecooked lunches. They save money and are pretty satisfying too.
I wonder what else I can accomplish in the next seven months or so before I turn 40?
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 yellow onion, diced
- 1 cup diced fresh carrots
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tbsp finely chopped ginger root
- ½ cup dried lentils, rinsed
- 2½ cups water
- ½ cup basmati rice
- 1 cup frozen peas
- 2 tsp garam masala
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp salt, plus more to taste
- 1 tbsp lightly chopped fresh cilantro
- In a medium skillet set over medium heat, heat the oil. Once hot, add the onion and carrots and cook, stirring frequently, until softened -- about 5-7 minutes.
- Add the garlic and ginger to the skillet, stirring to combine. Cook for 3-5 minutes until fragrant. Stir in the lentils and toast for 2-3 minutes.
- Add the water to the skillet and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes.
- Stir the rice into the skillet until moistened, and then stir in the peas as well. Season with garam masala, cumin and salt. Cover, and cook for 15-20 minutes, until the rice is tender and the liquid is absorbed.
- Remove from heat, stir and taste. Season with additional salt, as needed.
- Sprinkle with cilantro just before serving
Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 149 Total Fat: 4g Saturated Fat: 1g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 3g Cholesterol: 0mg Sodium: 643mg Carbohydrates: 24g Net Carbohydrates: 0g Fiber: 6g Sugar: 5g Sugar Alcohols: 0g Protein: 6g
Sarah Walker Caron is a cookbook author, freelance writer and founder of Sarah’s Cucina Bella. She is the author of several cookbooks including The Super Easy 5-Ingredient Cookbook and One-Pot Pasta, both from Rockridge Press. A single mother to two kids in middle school, Sarah loves nightly family dinners, juicy tomatoes plucked fresh from the vine and lazy days on the beach. She also adores reading and traveling.