Brain mush.

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I think I’m just really obsessed with mushy food.

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What a nice way to start a blog post about FOOD, right?? Like, I’m trying to get peeps to keep reading the post, not click off immediately…

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But seriously. Mushy food is my jam. I like oatmeal SO MUCH that it gets me out of bed in the morning. For reals. I lay there going ‘ughghghh it’s dark and whyyyy and I know I have to but uhhhgggh’ and then it hits me… I get OATMEAL for breakfast. And I’m out of my bed like a shot. This is true life, I’m not kidding. It actually works. Every. Single. Morning. And I will be just as excited about it tomorrow as I was yesterday. Or the day before that. Or… well. You get the idea.

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And applesauce. And buckwheat. And any type of porridgy thing besides oatmeal. Is this weird??

I’m making the executive decision that it’s not. Because lentils can also be mushy but lentils are DELICIOUS. Stupidly so. And sooo easy. And cheap. And nutritious so what’s not to like?!

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Also. Too much studying of useless math and endless hours revising grad school app essays have turned my brain into mush so maybe that’s why I’m so fixated on mushy food today? Whatever. I made this for dinner yesterday and it was mushy and delicious and really, calling it mushy is really kind of mean because it is SO delicious. Let’s call it… creamy. And unctuous. And lentily. Spicy, comforting, soul food. There we go. That’s far better than mushy. It has character. I like my food to have character.

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Red Lentil Dal with Creamy Coconut Buckwheat

Gluten free, vegan, full of delicious grains and healthy carbs, and inflammation-fighting turmeric. Serve hot or cold—I like it as cold leftovers the next day. Recipe serves four easily, with leftovers. Buckwheat is my own method, dal adapted from Wholehearted Eats, here!

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For the buckwheat:

  • 1 c buckwheat groats, rinsed
  • 2 c light coconut milk
  • 1/4 c unsweetened shredded coconut
  • salt to taste

For the Dal:

  • heaping 1/2 c diced onion
  • 1 tbsp avocado oil
  • 1 tbsp freshly grated ginger
  • heaping 1/8 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 c red lentils, rinsed
  • 1 c light coconut milk
  • 3 c water
  • 2 carrots, chopped into smallish pieces
  • 1 tsp fine sea salt
  • a few grates of pepper
  • chopped Persian cucumber, roasted cashews, pepitas, unsweetened coconut for garnish

Buckwheat is amazing: In a medium sized saucepan, bring coconut milk to a boil. Once boiling, dump in buckwheat groats, cover, and turn down to a simmer. I usually add a few sprinkles of sea salt here (and more to taste after it’s finished cooking).  Let the groats simmer until they have absorbed most of the liquid, about 30 minutes (though I never set a timer; I just check it periodically. Groats should retain their chewy texture when fully cooked). Add salt if needed. Buckwheat tends to thicken up as it sits, so I usually turn it off when there is just a bit of liquid left.

What is a grain without a friendly topping?? For the dahl: heat avocado oil in a medium saucepan. Add in onion, ginger, cardamom, turmeric, pepper, and cumin and sauté until the onions are translucent. If the spices start sticking, add a splash of water—I find it helpful to stir the onions relatively frequently. Add in lentils, coconut milk, water, and diced carrots. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and let it simmer, covered, for about 40 minutes (Stirring occasionally is probs good). Uncover, add salt (more to taste if that’s your jam) and let simmer for about 20 minutes more. Turn off the heat, let it sit and thicken for a few minutes more.

Serve over buckwheat, with veggie of choice and fave garnishes. I like chopped cashews and pepitas+cucumber and coconut. Leftovers are excellent cold or reheated the next day.

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