Do you have a recipe that you are good at making? Have you ever thought about adapting it a little or maybe a lot? Consider this idea. You are proficient at a recipe or maybe it is a technique you use often. Therefore, you have a good feel for the mix of ingredients or a good idea of how things react in the pan. For these Mexican Lentils, I adapted the ingredient mix from my Masala Lentils recipe.
As you know, I love the masala lentil dish. It is so flavorful. It packs so much flavor and it is a very hearty meal with no meat. The dish is a mix of spices, tomatoes and cilantro. The cilantro I grab by walking out my back door. How fun. Cilantro is such a common herb in Mexican cooking. It seemed a natural adaption of the Indian recipe I was used to making.
This recipe for Mexican Lentils is 100% made up. No recipe out there that I could find as a base. So this recipe is truly one of a kind. If you ever try this recipe, you will love it. The flavors were very different than its Indian cousin. It has more spice and vegetables. I have a really nice stable of Mexican spices. I used allepo pepper, Mexican hot chili powder, New Mexican chili powder (indigenous to the US obviously) and the sneaky hot spice – Habanero powder. I only added 1/4 teaspoon of the habanero powder and that is all it needed.
The other opportunity with the Mexican flair of this dish is to add peppers. I loved this addition because it adds color and texture. I was sure to not over cook the peppers. I wanted to keep some firmness in the peppers. I think a lot people think peppers are hot. Not true. Typical red, green, yellow or orange peppers are generally sweet. I do not know what adjective to use, but if you do not commonly eat peppers, they might have a little spice for you.
- 1 cup lentils
- 4 tablespoons avocado oil, divided
- 2 teaspoon salt, divided
- 2 teaspoon pepper, divided
- 2 teaspoon New Mexican chili powder, divided
- 1/2 teaspoon hot Mexican chili powder, divided
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 2 teaspoon paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon aleppo chili pepper flakes
- 1/8 teaspoon habanero chili powder
- 2 roasted pablanos
- 2 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1/4 cup packed cilantro
- 1/2 of a medium red onion, diced
- 1/2 each, red, green, orange, and yellow pepper, rough chop
- 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
- 14.5 ounce can of tomatoes with cilantro and lime juice
- In a small food processor, combine the spices (use 1/2 of the stated amount where it states divided). Give a couple pulse to incorporate.
- Next, add 1/2 the avocado oil, tomato paste, and cilantro leaves. Pulse until paste forms and everything is well incorporated. Set aside.
- Heat a skillet over medium heat. Melt avocado oil and add diced onion, cooking until translucent, 4-5 minutes.
- Add in the remaining spices (the divided ones) and stir well..
- Stir in masala paste and cook for 1-2 minutes, then stir in tomatoes. Stir together and bring to a boil and cook out some of the liquid.
- Add in lentils and reduce heat to medium low. Cook, stirring often, until lentils are tender, 20-25 minutes.
- Serve and enjoy!
The onions and spices in the skillet. Then, the peppers added; the Mexican masala paste and the tomatoes and tomato sauce.
The final plating.