3 Simple meatless main dishes

Red lentils simmer in a flavorful blend of

Red lentils simmer in a flavorful blend of spices, including curry, turmeric and cumin; baby spinach is added just before serving. (November 2012) (Credit: Marge Perry)

Marge Perry

Newsday columnist Marge Perry Marge Perry

Marge Perry, Newsday's weekly 3 Simple columnist, also writes, broadcasts,

bio | email

TIP To remove cooking aromas from your kitchen, simmer white vinegar on the stove for about an hour.

RED LENTIL DAL WITH SPINACH

1 tablespoon canola oil

1 cup chopped onion

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 tablespoon minced ginger

1/2 teaspoon turmeric

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon curry

1/2 teaspoon garam masala

1/8-1/4 teaspoon cayenne

1 cup red lentils

5 cups water

2 teaspoons tomato paste

3/4 teaspoon salt

5 ounces baby spinach

1. Heat the oil in a soup pot over medium; add the onion, garlic, ginger, turmeric, cumin, curry, garam masala and cayenne and cook, stirring, 3 minutes, until onion is slightly softened. Add the lentils and water; bring to a boil. Immediately reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, 25 minutes, until lentils are nearly cooked through.

2. Stir in tomato paste until dissolved, add salt and cook 5minutes longer. Stir in spinach and cook until wilted, about 2 minutes. Makes 4 servings.

Nutritional analysis for each serving 342 calories, 15 g protein, 38 g carbohydrates, 10 g fiber, 5 g fat, 0 g saturated fat, 509 mg sodium

TOFU-BROCCOLI STIR-FRY

1/4 cup hoisin sauce

1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce

1 tablespoon oyster sauce

1 tablespoon rice vinegar

1/2 teaspoon chili-garlic sauce

1 tablespoon canola oil

1 (15-ounce) package firm

tofu, drained and cut into 1/2-inch cubes

2 teaspoons sesame oil

2 cups sliced shiitake mushrooms (about 8 ounces whole)

1 cup thinly sliced onion

1 tablespoon minced ginger

3 cups broccoli florets

1/2 cup cashews

1. Combine the hoisin sauce, soy sauce, oyster sauce, rice vinegar and chili-garlic sauce in a small bowl.

2. Heat canola oil in large, nonstick skillet over high heat. Add tofu and cook until lightly browned on the undersides, about 2 minutes. Turn and cook until browned on the undersides, another 2 minutes. Transfer to a plate.

3. Add sesame oil to the skillet; let it heat 30 seconds. Add the mushrooms, onion and ginger; cook 3 minutes until softened. Stir in the broccoli; cook 3 minutes until bright green. Add the reserved tofu, and hoisin mixture; cook, stirring, 1 minute until hot; stir in the cashews and serve. Makes 4 servings.

Nutritional analysis for each serving 334 calories, 16 g protein, 27 g carbohydrates, 5g fiber, 19 g fat, 2 g saturated fat, 704 mg sodium

BLACK BEAN-AND-VEGETABLE ENCHILADAS

1 tablespoon canola oil

1 cup chopped onion

1 medium zucchini (about 8 ounces) cut into 1/3-inch pieces

1 cup thawed frozen corn

1 tablespoon minced chipotle in adobo sauce

1 (15-ounce) can low-sodium black beans, drained and rinsed

1/2 cup light sour cream

2 (10-ounce) cans enchilada sauce, divided

4 (8-inch) whole-wheat tortillas

1 cup shredded reduced-fat Cheddar cheese

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Coat an 8-by-8-inch baking dish with cooking spray.

2. Heat canola oil in a large, nonstick skillet over medium- high heat. Add the onion; cook 3 minutes until somewhat softened. Add the zucchini and cook until lightly browned on the undersides, about 4 minutes. Add the corn and chipotle and cook, stirring, 2 minutes. Remove from the heat; stir in the beans and sour cream.

3. Pour 1 can of enchilada sauce in the baking dish.

4. Heat the tortillas according to package instructions and keep warm under a damp paper towel or cloth. Working 1 at a time, place some bean filling in a row down the tortilla, leaving 1-inch clear at the top and bottom. Fold those clear edges in to the center; fold a long side over the filling and roll closed. Repeat with remaining filling and tortillas, placing them seam side down in the baking pan as you work.

5. Pour the remaining can of enchilada sauce over the rolled tortillas; sprinkle with the cheese. Bake for 20 minutes, until cheese is melted and enchiladas are warmed through. Makes 4 servings.

Nutritional analysis for each serving 441 calories, 20 g protein, 57 g carbohydrates, 7 g fiber, 16 g fat, 6 g saturated fat, 1,175 mg sodium