Green Lentils With Spinach and Chipotle 4.000

Scott Suchman for The Washington Post; tableware from Salt and Sundry

Weeknight Vegetarian Aug 31, 2015

This flavor-packed lentil dish uses a combination of Indian and Mexican spices, and the result is a particularly complex sort of comfort food.

Serve with rice or flatbread.

Make Ahead: The cooked and drained lentils can be refrigerated for up to 1 week before you proceed with the remainder of the recipe.

4 - 6

When you scale a recipe, keep in mind that cooking times and temperatures, pan sizes and seasonings may be affected, so adjust accordingly. Also, amounts listed in the directions will not reflect the changes made to ingredient amounts.

Tested size: 4-6 servings

  • 1 cup green lentils, sorted and rinsed
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fine sea salt, plus more as needed
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 large red onion (about 12 ounces), cut into 1-inch dice
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 whole star anise
  • 3 whole cardamom pods
  • 1 large tomato (8 to 10 ounces), cored and chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ground chipotle chile pepper
  • 8 ounces fresh spinach leaves, coarsely chopped


Combine the lentils, 3 cups of water and 1 teaspoon of the salt in a medium saucepan over high heat. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low so the liquid is barely bubbling; cook, partially covered, until the lentils are tender, about 25 minutes. Drain them.

Pour the oil into a large saute pan over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, star anise and cardamom pods; cook, stirring frequently, until the mixture is fragrant and the onion begins to brown lightly around the edges, 5 to 6 minutes. Add the tomato and chipotle; reduce the heat to medium-low; cook, stirring, until the tomato breaks down and forms a sauce, 3 to 4 minutes.

Add the drained lentils and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt to the pan; cook, stirring occasionally, until the lentils are heated through and the flavors meld, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in the spinach and cook briefly, just until it wilts. Taste, and add salt as needed.

Serve hot.

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Recipe Source

Adapted from "Indian Harvest: Classic and Contemporary Vegetarian Dishes," by Vikas Khanna (Bloomsbury, 2015).

Tested by Joe Yonan.

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