Vegan sausage and lentils and are a compatible duo in a tasty dish that cross several cuisines — a little bit Italian, a tad Spanish, and maybe even a touch Caribbean. Whatever its origins, this dish is hearty, unpretentious, and totally satisfying in a plant-based rendition.
This is a veganized version of a classic dish that’s not the prettiest in and of itself, which is why it’s often accompanied by yellow rice and embellished with a small amount of greens and herbs. Somehow, lentils and vegan sausage have a fantastic synergy.
What type of lentils to use: Use any variety of lentils in this dish other than tiny red lentils (which cook to a mushy consistency and are best for soups and dal). Ordinary brown/green lentils do quite nicely, but you can also go with French lentils or black beluga lentils. To save time, there’s also an option for using canned lentils.
Vegan sausage brands: The most widely available are Tofurky, Field Roast, Amy’s, Beyond, No Evil, Morningstar, and Dr. Praeger’s. They’re all good! You won’t be afraid to find out “how the sausage gets made,” as the saying goes, as the main ingredients are usually vital wheat gluten and/or tofu (be alert, though, if you have gluten or soy sensitivity).
Barbecue seasoning: Barbecue seasoning blends are available in the spice section of most supermarkets. They add a deliciously smoky flavor and aroma, to this and any dish they embellish, Varieties include smokehouse maple, mesquite, chipotle, and there are lots of others. Discover your favorites, and keep a couple on hand. If you prefer smoked paprika, you’ve got that option as well.
Recipe adapted from Plant-Powered Protein: 125 Recipes for Using Today’s Amazing Meat Alternatives © 2020 by Nava Atlas. Reprinted by permission. Photos by Hannah Kaminsky, BittersweetBlog.com.
- 1 1/2 cups rice, preferably white Basmati or Jasmine rice
- 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 14-ounce package vegan sausage, sliced 1/2 inch thick
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 medium red or orange bell pepper, finely diced
- 3 to 3 1/2 cups cooked brown or green lentils or two 15-ounce cans, drained and rinsed
- 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes (try fire-roasted)
- 1 tablespoon barbecue seasoning (see Note) or smoked paprika
- 2 to 3 big handfuls baby spinach or other baby greens
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley or cilantro
- Said and dried hot red pepper flakes to taste
- Combine the rice with 3 1/2 cups water in a saucepan. Bring to a slow boil, then sprinkle in the turmeric and stir to distribute. Lower the heat and simmer gently until the water is absorbed, about 15 minutes. If the grain isn’t done to your liking, add 1/2 cup more water and cook until absorbed. Remove from the heat.
- Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large skillet or steep-sided stir-fry pan. Add the sausage and sauté over medium heat for 5 minutes, stirring often.
- Add the garlic and bell pepper and continue to sauté for 2 to 3 minutes longer. Add the tomatoes and barbecue seasoning. Cook over medium-low heat for 10 minutes.
- Stir in the spinach and parsley and cook just until wilted and bright green, a minute or so longer. Season with salt and dried hot red pepper flakes. Serve at once over the hot cooked rice.
Barbecue seasoning is available in the spice section of most supermarkets. Varieties include smokehouse maple, mesquite, chipotle, and there are lots of others.
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