Tamarind red lentils is the easiest way to use this wild and wonderful ingredient. Tamarind is not a very common ingredient here in the US, but it features prominently in other cuisines from around the world. Tamarind grows in pods on large trees that are part of the legume family (along with carob, peas, beans and mesquite and more!). This amazingly flavorful plant produces pods that are ground down to create a sticky, savory and tangy sauce.
Learn more about how to use tamarind here!
This tamarind recipe is one of the easiest ways to feature it, and the simple ingredients make it easy for this crazy flavorful ingredient to shine! Tamarind can be found at Asian markets or in the Asian section of your natural foods store. Be sure to check the ingredients for nasties like preservatives and stabilizers. The best tamarind paste will have only tamarind and water. And here’s a How-To from the Kitchn to make your own tamarind paste.
Use red or brown lentils here, and make it with whatever veggies you have on hand. The recipe pictured below shows some carrots and some leftover frozen spinach. The lentils had been previously cooked and frozen too, making this tamarind recipe a super quick meal!
Tamarind Red Lentils
2 cups red or brown lentils
Water, as needed
¼ cup non-dairy milk or vegetable broth
2-3 Tablespoons Tamarind paste
Salt, to taste
Honey, to taste
2-3 cups chopped, diced or sliced veggies and leafy greens
- Add lentils to a saucepan. Rinse in cool water to remove dust and debris. Cover with water and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and cook until soft (about 15 minutes for red lentils and 20-30 minutes for brown lentils). Red lentils will be totally mushy, while brown lentils might retain their shape slightly– either way is fine for this recipe! Drain any excess water.
- Add milk, tamarind, a bit of salt, and a tiny bit of honey. Stir together until tamarind dissolves. Taste, and adjust seasonings as needed.
- Stir in veggies and cook until softened slightly.
- Serve with rice, quinoa, or in a wrap as shown below! This makes excellent leftovers! Makes about 4 cups.
Tamarind plant image from Shutterstock/ keerati, food images from Vibrant Wellness Journal