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Indian Lentils and Pasta


Recipe Notes

  • Serve topped with light sour cream or plain non-fat yogurt.
Recipe Image
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 45 minutes
Makes: 6 cups
Nutrition Facts: View Label


1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic finely chopped or 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
3 cups water
1 can (15 ounces) diced tomatoes, with juice
½ cup dry lentils, rinsed
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon turmeric
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
½ cup orzo or tiny pasta
¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped


  1. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat (300 degrees in an electric skillet). Add onion and garlic and cook 3 to 4 minutes.
  2. Stir in water, diced tomatoes with juice, lentils, cumin, turmeric, and red pepper flakes, if desired.
  3. Bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to low (250 degrees in an electric skillet). Simmer for 25 minutes.
  4. Add pasta and cook uncovered until pasta is tender, about 10 minutes.
  5. Sprinkle with cilantro and serve warm.
  6. Refrigerate leftovers within 2 hours.


I made this and there was still liquid in the skillet. The lentils and orzo were done at 35 minutes so I didn't cook the liquid off. The flavor was a bit bland, but then I added light sour cream and it was WAY BETTER! I'd try again with more spice.

I made this recipe in one of my classes and participants said it contains too much sodium for her diet but the taste was good.

Your comment about the sodium made us re-check our nutrient analysis.  We made an error by using a packaged orzo mix instead of plain orzo.  So the good news is that the sodium is actually less than the original nutrition facts.  We've updated the nutrition facts.  In this recipe, most of the sodium comes from canned tomatoes.  Using low sodium tomatoes would reduce it some.  It's also possible to freeze fresh tomatoes without any added salt.  See our Food Hero Monthly on Tomatoes.

I liked the fact that with this recipe everything goes into the skillet right from the get-go (except the cilantro). It's super easy! I didn't have any remaining liquid in the skillet as mentioned in an earlier comment. Clientelle at the pantry really enjoyed the recipe. I did serve it with (optional) low-fat sour cream as suggested. I have had folks ask about cumin spice and what kinds of recipes call for it, so the Indian Lentils and Pasta is a good reference.

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