From Scratch: Time to look forward to more ‘Meatless Mondays’?

It’s time to play in the kitchen with recipes that include lentils, tofu, beans and rice.

Whoa – is anybody else sticker shocked by the sudden increase in the price of meat?

As a restaurant owner, I was made aware of the price increase but did not expect it to hit the grocery stores so quickly. (There have been a few sneaky things done, such as bacon being the same price but the packages weighing less.)

Now this has me thinking… how do I adjust our family food budget to maintain the protein we all need to stay healthy? Looks like ‘Meatless Monday’ now has become a couple other days as well in our household.

It’s time to play in the kitchen with recipes that include lentils, tofu, beans and rice.  Many of the world’s cultures use meat as a garnish or for celebrations.

Perhaps this is our wake-up call to cut back on meat for more than just monetary reasons. There has been much hype about bettering our health by lowering cholesterol and increasing energy by eating more plant-based whole foods.

I read a lot of cookbooks and as long as it tastes fabulous, I will happily devour it.

Some of my favorite vegetarian food is East Indian. Try this recipe and enjoy your meatless meals.

Lentil Curry


½ cup moong dal

½ cup masur dal

7 ½ cups water

1 Tbsp salt

1 tsp turmeric


¼ cup ghee

1 Tbsp cumin seeds

¾ cup finely chopped onions

1 Tbsp finely chopped ginger

¾ cup finely chopped tomatoes

½ tsp ground cayenne

3 oz chopped spinach leaves

½ cup finely chopped cilantro


• Sift through lentils to make sure there are no tiny stones or debris.

• Combine lentils in a large bowl. Wash and drain in cold water two times.

• Place lentils, water, salt and turmeric in a large pot with a tight fitting lid and stir.

• On medium to high heat, bring lentils to a boil, then stir and cover most of the pot with a lid. Leave a one inch slit through which the steam can escape, otherwise.  It will foam over.

• Reduce heat to low and cook for another five to eight minutes.

• Cover the pan fully with the lid and cook lentils for another 30 minutes until tender.

• While lentils are cooking, make the masala.

• In a shallow frying pan, heat the ghee on medium- high heat for 45 seconds or until completely melted.

• Add cumin seeds and allow to sizzle for 15 seconds.

• Reduce the heat to medium, stir in the onions and sauté till brown – eight to 10 minutes.

• Add ginger, tomatoes and cayenne.  Sauté stirring regularly,  for five minutes until oil glistens on top.

• Pour masala into the pot with the cooked lentils and stir well.

• Stir in spinach and top with chopped cilantro when serving.

Recipe copyright from Vikrim Vij.

Lara McCormack is one of the owners of From Scratch – A Mountain Kitchen in Fairmont Hot Springs, where one can savour fabulous seasonal food, sip from a selection of beverages including B.C. wines and enjoy the views of our gorgeous valley landscape.

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