Main Dishes

Spicy Lentils with Coconut Cauliflower Rice & Mint Salsa Fresca

July 24, 2015

cauliflower rice & spicy lentils

 

I’ve been logging more mileage this past month. Now that my injuries have healed and my body is coming back into balance, I’m excited to head out on long runs along the ocean. In the morning, I lace up my shoes and head out on the pavement. Nervousness is usually sitting on my shoulder, no matter how many miles I run. At this point, I’m used to the rhythm of my feet hitting the pavement, but each run carries unexpected pains and joys. Last Sunday was warm and sunny. At 6 am the air was already thick like syrup and the birds were determined to wake up the entire neighborhood. Sometimes, I think that I love the mix of air and warm sun on my skin more than the road. Other times, I’m enchanted by the way my body (and all bodies!) can move through space and time. Sure, this probably sounds bizarre, but I find it liberating – to be able to walk out my door on my own two feet and cover 20 miles. Some days, running is about feeling strong in my own skin, and other days it’s about leaning on my friends. Running is a peaceful practice that helps me feel present in my body, but it can unexpectedly bring up the painful stuff.

I’ll occasionally crash a few days after my long runs where I feel generally moody and mad hungry. Does this happen to other runners? I’m trying to figure out if this has to do with nutrition or it’s my body naturally coming back into balance. This week, I turned to Pema Chodron and Tara Brach for wisdom, took long baths, and fell asleep on the couch at 9 o’clock. If you’re at a stage in your life where you want to look deeper into physical and emotional pain, then check out this episode about exploring pain through meditation. In all honesty, I have a fickle relationship to meditation, but it’s always there to pick back up when my head feels turned upside down. Sometimes my practice is woven into my long runs and other times I just need to stop and give myself the space to sit.

Despite the digital milieu that often encourages unhealthy competition, consumerism, and general nastiness – I’m grateful for these digital oases. Whether I’m listening to the Rich Roll Podcast or Jessica Murnane’s One Part Podcast or browsing through recipes and stories from Happyolks and The First Mess, I’m thankful for all of their awareness, gumption, and generosity that keeps me moving and inspired.

Last weekend brought up some of the painful stuff, like feeling uncertain and small. These are early warning signs that I’ve been spending too much time hiding behind a screen and not enough time chatting on the phone with friends, calling my sister to let her know that I love her, or having those tough conversations that expose my heart. It’s easy to feel small and hide away with the curtains drawn. There are so many wonderful people in this city that I’ve been too shy to ask out for dinner or jog alongside down by the river. Last night, I finally found breathing room in the kitchen over lentils, spice and mint, which have become some of my favorite summer flavors. Sometimes, it just takes the quiet of my apartment kitchen to help me reconnect with the parts of myself that want to be imperfect & unafraid.

 

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Prep Time: 20-30 min | Cook Time: 15-20 min | Serves: 2

We eat a lot of rice around these parts, so I’ve been looking for something else to change it up and came across this idea to turn cauliflower into rice. Instead of olive oil, I used coconut oil to give the rice a lighter flavor. I also wanted a somewhat sweet oil that would pair well with spicy cumin and coriander in the lentils. As always, summer is about lightening up, opening the windows, and and making meals that won’t bog us down in the heat. I like this meal because it’s filling, but not too heavy, with the right amount of kick.

1 head cauliflower, ground
1 tbs coconut oil

1 cup lentils, cooked & drained
1 sweet onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 large carrots, diced
2 tbs extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon chili pepper flakes
pinch of sea salt & cracked pepper

1 sweet onion, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped
2 ripe vine tomatoes, chopped
1/2 lemon, juiced
handful of cilantro & mint
pinch of sea salt

  1. Chop cauliflower into florets. Leave the large stems behind and place the small florets into a food processor. Pulse until finely ground.
  2. In a medium saucepan or skillet, heat coconut oil. Add ground cauliflower and cook for 5-8 minutes, or until cauliflower is soft and fluffy like rice.
  3. In a food processor, pulse carrots and onions until finely chopped, set aside. In a skillet, heat 2 tbs of extra virgin olive oil. Once oil is warm, add garlic and onions. Cook for 1-3 minutes, or until onions are translucent.
  4. Add cooked lentils, carrots, and spices. Cook for 10-12 minutes so that your spices have time to season your ingredients.
  5. In a medium-sized bowl, mix together chopped sweet onion, bell pepper, tomatoes, lemon juice, cilantro, mint, and sea salt. Add julienned mint and cilantro.
  6. Put this dish together by placing your spicy lentils on top of your cauliflower rice and finish off with mint & cilantro salsa fresca on top.

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You’ve broken all the promises you ever made
and few that you did, and they turned around
and broke you right back.
So bet it.

-Mindy Nettifee, Rise of the Trust Fall-

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  • This is beautiful! And thank you so much for including my podcast in this post! I’ve really been digging the cilantro + mint combo a lot lately too.

    • Thanks so much Jessica! Loving the podcast, it gives me all the feels. Thanks for stopping by and reading, means a lot 🙂

  • i feel that way sometimes, like a mini hibernation.
    i saw a recipe yesterday that turned cauliflower into rice and then i stumbled upon this one. do you think a blender could do the job too? looks delicious.

    • A mini-hibernation is a great way to look at it. Hmmm, I’ve never tried with my blender, but I imagine it will work similarly. My only worry would be that the blender will pulse everything at the bottom and have a hard time working its way to the top without any liquid. I would try smashing it down into small bits before putting it in the blender so it’s easier for the blender to process.