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Savory Spiced Tamarind Lentils

Posted Apr 22 2013 4:24pm

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A few weeks ago, I blogged about my first official experiment with tamarind paste . In that post, I asked for some suggestions on how to enjoy this tart and delightful flavor. I got lots of great feedback: some of you mentioned stir fries, others curry dishes. One of you even mentioned adding tamarind to banana soft serve! In the end, the recipe that immediate caught my eye was Janet’s tamarind lentils , which are inspired by Isa’s tamarind lentils in Veganomicon . I love savory legume dishes, and the addition of something tart and unusual sounded irresistible.

I made a few tweaks to Janet’s recipe. I left out the onion, because I didn’t have any and it’s not my favorite. I also adjusted the spices a bit, since I didn’t have all of the ones called for on hand. I also added sun-dried tomatoes and canned tomatoes in place of tomato paste (again, this is just what I had around), though I imagine tomato paste is great in the recipe. In the end, it was a delicious meal that made for flavorful leftovers. As you’ll see in a moment, this is also a relatively easy dish to make, so it’s perfect for dinners in a pinch.

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Savory Spiced Tamarind Lentils (Inspired by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and The Taste Space)


  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp fresh ginger, minced
  • 1/4 tsp cloves
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1 cup dried lentils (I used green, but brown or black is also fine)
  • 6 sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 cups water or vegetable broth
  • 1 tbsp concentrated tamarind paste
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup chopped tomatoes (fresh or canned)
  • 1/2 tsp salt


  1. In a medium sized pot, sautee the garlic and spices in the coconut oil for 2-3 minutes.
  2. Add the lentils and sun-dried tomatoes to the pot and quickly mix all ingredients together. Add the broth or water and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and let the lentils cook for 25-30 minutes, or until the lentils are tender.
  3. Whisk together the tamarind, maple syrup, tomatoes, and salt. Add them to the lentils and continue heating over gentle heat till everything is fragrant and well combined. Serve with a sprinkle of fresh herbs, if desired.
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In the days after I made this recipe, I discovered that these lentils are particularly good with a big, fresh salad and a nice hunk of avocado. Nutritional yeast also makes a perfect topping (but then, what isn’t better with nutritional yeast?). I hope you’ll give the lentils a try. I’m sure you’ll find, as I did, that a little fridge time makes them even more flavorful.

Before I go, a big thank you for some thoughtful comments on yesterday’s GMO post . Lots of nuance and insight, for which I’m grateful!


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