I was itching for a one pan recipe tonight. I knew it had to be some sort of grain, with veggies and maybe some lentils to make it worth my while ... !! I also got some Barley the other day and had been wanting to use it. So this evening's research yielded a rather interesting recipe - Barley and Lentil Pilaf with Mushrooms & Spinach. Now that seemed like the perfect thing to make tonight and I was looking forward to trying barley .. except, I caught sight of a packet of Near East Long Grain and Wild Rice Pilaf, which has been sitting in my pantry for a while ... so quite serendipitously my plans for a barley and lentil pilaf turned into a risotto. I used the same recipe, only I used rice instead of Barley and green lentils instead of brown.
Prep Time: 20-25 min
- 1 Pack of Near East Long Grain and Wild Rice Pilaf
- 1/3 cup Split Mung dal (Green lentils)
- 2 sachets of Swanson Vegetable Flavor boost
- 1 cup water
- 1 small Red onion, diced
- 1 cup baby spinach
- 4-6 large mushrooms, sliced
- 1 tbsp pine nuts
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 1 tsp fresh Thyme leaves.
Line a dutch oven, or deep (non-stick) stock pot with half cup of water and mix in both sachets of flavor boost. These are small sachets of concentrated broth, that can be stored at room temperature. I like using these because I can use one, or more, depending upon my recipe, and I don't need to worry about the rest of the carton of broth going bad in the fridge. Once the water comes to a boil and the flavor boost paste is mixed in, add dal and allow to simmer for 5-7 minutes while preparing everything else. Then, mix in the packet of rice, with provided seasonings. I did not use any oil for the rice.
Turn the heat to medium low and let rice and dal simmer. Dice onions and add to the pot. Mix in and let simmer. Then add baby spinach, sliced mushrooms and pine nuts and continue to let it simmer until the rice and dal and both tender. If it begins to look a little dry, add a splash of water, as many times as needed. Given the slightly grainy nutty texture of the dal, the final dish should be a very moist, almost runny risotto, not a dry pilaf. I found that if you let it get too dry it doesn't taste as good. Once both the rice and dal are tender, add the thyme leaves, mix in, cover and let sit for 5 minutes to allow the flavors to meld together. Serve garnished with freshly cracked black pepper.
My Assessment: I liked it .. and the best part, its a one-pot dinner, with enough leftovers for lunch too! My picture looks a little dry and not as moist as it should. My dinner sat for a few minutes while I ran around after Nik :) .. oh well! Life as a mom!!