What's For Dinner: Slow Cooker Spicy Red Lentils

This week brought a winter storm warning along with over six inches of snow. Middle of April or not, winter still hasn't had its final say up here in the Northwoods. That's what I get for dreaming of long bike rides, a garden full of growing vegetables, and summer nights spent around a bonfire roasting s'mores. Le sigh.

The return of cold weather (Was it really in the 50s last week? Did I really see bare grass?) led to the return of my slow cooker as well. A hearty dinner of spicy red lentils helped to take a bit of the wintry chill away and comfort my return-of-winter-weather blues. You could eat the spicy lentils on their own, or serve them over rice, as I did.

Slow Cooker Spicy Red Lentils (printer-friendly version)
makes 8-10 servings

2 cups red lentils, rinsed
10 ounces fresh baby spinach
1 15-ounce can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
1 white onion, chopped
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
1 tablespoon red curry paste
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons fine sea salt
juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 cup chopped cilantro, plus more for garnish

1. Add all the ingredients except the lemon juice and cilantro to the bowl of a slow cooker. Cook on low for 6-7 hours (or high for 3-4 hours). Right before serving, stir in the lemon juice and chopped cilantro.
2. Serve plain or over the grain of your choice, such as jasmine rice. Garnish with additional chopped cilantro.

(adapted from this Our Best Bites recipe)