Red Lentil Dal with Coriander-Pear Raita

Serves 6 (makes about 8 cups).

Note: Some of the best meatless cuisine comes from India, where long traditions of plant-based cookery have given us flavor combinations that satisfy. To clean lentils, pour them on a sheet pan and sort through them with your fingers, looking for any foreign objects. Place in a fine mesh strainer and rinse briefly. From Robin Asbell.

• 1 tbsp. canola oil

• 1 medium onion, chopped

• 1 tbsp. fresh minced ginger

• 2 tsp. brown mustard seeds

• 1 tsp. cumin seeds

• 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes

• 1 tsp. turmeric

• 1 c. red lentils (see Note)

• 5 c. water

• 1 whole carrot, chopped

• 1 1/2 c. chopped turnip (1 medium)

• 2 c. cauliflower, small florets

• 1 tsp. lemon juice

• 1 tsp. salt

• 1/2 c. fresh cilantro, coarsely chopped

• 1 c. plain yogurt (or nondairy yogurt)

• 1/2 tsp. ground coriander

• 1/2 small red pear, chopped


To make the dal: In a large pot, heat the canola oil and add the onion and ginger. Cook over medium heat for about 10 minutes, until softened. Add the mustard seeds, cumin seeds and red pepper flakes, and stir over medium heat until they are fragrant. Add the turmeric and stir for 1 minute.

Add the lentils, 5 cups water, carrots, turnips and cauliflower, and turn the heat to high to bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer, and partly cover. Let simmer, stirring every 10 minutes or so, for about an hour. Check to make sure there is enough water; if it starts to get too thick, add more.

When the lentils are falling apart and tender to the bite, add the lemon juice, cinnamon and salt. Stir and simmer for about 5 minutes. Adjust seasonings and add the cilantro just before serving.

To make the raita: In a medium bowl, combine the yogurt, coriander and pear, and stir.

Serve 1 cup of dal topped with 3 tablespoons of raita.

Nutrition information per serving:

Calories 196 Fat 4 g Sodium 470 mg

Carbohydrates 31 g Saturated fat 1 g Total sugars 8 g

Protein 12 g Cholesterol 2 mg Dietary fiber 8 g

Diabetic exchanges per serving: 2 starch, 1 lean protein, ½ fat.




Arugula and Sun-Dried Tomato Calzones

Makes 8 calzones.

Note: Everybody loves Italian flavors, especially when you get your own personal meal in a pocket. Arugula is a bargain compared with fresh basil this time of year, and gives you a wonderful herbal note. If you don’t want to make your own dough, you have the option of purchasing frozen whole-wheat roll dough, and pressing two (2-ounce) portions of dough into one piece for each calzone. For this recipe, you would thaw 16 pieces. From Robin Asbell.

• 2 oz. (about 2 c., or 18 pieces) sun-dried tomato halves

To make calzone dough (see Note) :

• 2 c. unbleached flour

• 1 1/2 c. white whole-wheat flour

• 2 tsp. instant yeast

• 1 tsp. salt

• 1 1/4 c. hot water

• 1/4 c. extra-virgin olive oil

To make filling:

• 1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

• 2 medium onions, chopped

• 1 tsp. salt

• 3 c. arugula (about 2 1/2 oz.), chopped

• 1 lb. ricotta cheese

• 1 c. shredded Parmesan cheese, plus more for topping

• 1 egg, for topping


Pour warm water over the sun-dried tomatoes to rehydrate, let stand while you make the dough.

To make calzone dough: In a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, or in a large bowl, combine the unbleached flour, white whole-wheat flour, yeast and 1 teaspoon salt, and stir to mix.

In a small bowl, combine the hot water and 1/4 cup olive oil, and mix into the flour mixture. Stir to make a soft dough, and knead for 3 minutes if using a dough hook and 5 minutes if using your hands. Oil a large bowl, and transfer the dough to the bowl, then cover loosely with a damp towel. Let rise for an hour.

(If using frozen dough, count out 16 pieces and thaw according to package instructions.)

In a large sauté pan, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium high heat and add the onions. Stir until they sizzle, then reduce to medium-low. Stir in 1 teaspoon salt. When the onions are tender and golden, about 8 minutes, spoon half of them into a medium bowl. To the pan, add the arugula and stir until just wilted, then scrape into a large bowl. Add the ricotta and Parmesan. Drain the sun-dried tomatoes and wring out, then chop finely. Add to the sautéed onions in the medium bowl and mix well; reserve.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line 2 sheet pans with parchment.

Lightly flour a counter, and divide the dough into 8 equal portions. Shape each into a ball and place on the counter to rest while you shape the calzones. (If using frozen dough, press 2 portions together to form each ball, then proceed.) Roll out each ball to a 5- by 6-inch oval, and portion 1/3 cup of the ricotta filling on the bottom half of each, then measure 2 tablespoons of the sun-dried tomato mixture on top. Dampen the exposed edge at the bottom, and fold the dough over, pressing the dough to seal. Use the tines of a fork to seal the dough, then transfer each to a prepared sheet pan, and pierce the top once with the fork. Leave 2 inches between calzones. Continue until all are filled and formed. Let the calzones rise for about 20 minutes.

Crack the egg into a cup and whisk, then brush the tops of the calzones, if desired. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

Bake for 20 minutes, reversing the position of the pans at 10 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes before serving.

Nutrition information per calzone:

Calories 460 Fat 21 g Sodium 99 mg

Carbohydrates 49 g Saturated fat 9 g Total sugars 6 g

Protein 20 g Cholesterol 56 mg Dietary fiber 5 g

Diabetic exchanges per serving: 3 starch, 2 medium-fat, 2 fat protein, 2 ½ fat.


Sesame Crusted Tofu and Vegetables with Honey Sriracha Sauce

Serves 4.

Note: If you order tofu in a Chinese restaurant, it will probably be fried in a generous amount of oil. That is delicious. This version has a coating of sesame seeds and it’s baked on a lightly oiled sheet pan, creating a crispy exterior and a fluffy, tender center. While the tofu bakes, you stir-fry some crunchy vegetables and glaze them in a sweet and spicy sauce. Black rice, sometimes called “Forbidden Rice,” is a whole-grain rice that cooks in about 20 minutes, making it almost as fast as white rice to prepare. It’s available at natural food stores and many supermarkets, usually found with either the rice or in the bulk section. Black sesame seeds are often sold with Asian foods; if unavailable, substitute the more common white ones. From Robin Asbell.

• 1 c. black rice (see Note)

• 2 tbsp. canola oil, divided

• 1 lb. extra-firm tofu, drained

• 3 tbsp. arrowroot or cornstarch

• 2 tbsp. soy sauce, divided

• 1/4 c. sesame seeds

• 1/4 c. black sesame seeds (see Note)

• 2 tbsp. honey

• 2 tbsp. minced fresh ginger

• 1 tsp. dark sesame oil

• 1 tsp. Sriracha sauce, plus more for the table

• 1 large carrot, halved and sliced

• 1/2 large red bell pepper, seeded and sliced

• 6 oz. snap peas (3 c.), trimmed

• 2 large green onions, sliced on a diagonal


To cook the rice, bring 1 1/2 cups water to a boil over high heat in a 1-quart pot. Add the rice and return to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and cover tightly. Cook for 20 minutes, until the water is all absorbed and the rice is tender. Keep warm on the back of the stove until time to serve.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Spread 1 tablespoon canola oil on a sheet pan and set aside. Drain tofu and wrap in a kitchen towel, then press under a cutting board as you prep the vegetables (5 or 10 minutes is fine).

In a medium bowl, combine the arrowroot or cornstarch, 2 tablespoons water, and 1 tablespoon soy sauce. In another medium bowl, mix both kinds of sesame seeds.

Slice the tofu into 4 long slices, then stack the slices and cut into 4 even piles. Dip the slices of tofu into the arrowroot mixture, then dredge in the sesame seeds. Place on the oiled sheet pan. When all are coated, bake for 15 minutes, then use a spatula to turn the slices, and bake for 15 minutes more.

While the tofu bakes, combine the honey, ginger, sesame oil, Sriracha sauce and remaining 1 tablespoon soy sauce. Whisk until smooth.

Heat a large skillet or wok over high heat for a few seconds, then swirl in the remaining 1 tablespoon canola oil. Add the carrots and bell pepper, and stir for a few seconds, then add the snap peas. When the peas are a slightly darker shade of green and the carrots are crisp-tender, stir the sauce and pour over the vegetables. Stir and cook; the liquids will evaporate and glaze the vegetables.

To serve, top each plate with rice, and then with vegetables and tofu. Top all with green onions and drizzle with more Sriracha sauce, if desired.

Nutrition information per serving:

Calories 545 Fat 28 g Sodium 500 mg

Carbohydrates 60 g Saturated fat 3 g Total sugars 14 g

Protein 22 g Cholesterol 0 mg Dietary fiber 8 g

Diabetic exchanges per serving: 1 vegetable, 2 starch, 1 ½ carb, 2 medium-fat protein, 3 ½ fat.