As mentioned in previous posts, I have been cooking Vegetarian meals about twice sometimes three times a week.  Recently, we found this at our local grocery store:
No paid advertisement here....just wanting to share something yummy - a lovely basmati rice/quiona blend vegetarian meal. Next to dried pasta, this is the only thing in my pantry that comes in a box.  Even then, I completely change up the dish by adding a whole bunch of other delicious, fresh, organic ingredients.  By the way, any vegetable here will work:  diced green peppers, artichoke, zucchini, to name a few.
Admittedly my way of cooking this Vegetarian Paella takes about 30 minutes cooking time, if you prepare the vegetables and lentils ahead of time.  Still - a time saver compared to some dishes made from scratch. You will notice in the recipe to follow, I have added NO extra salt to this dish as it is salty enough.  By getting the ingredients ready ahead of time this makes for a delicious Vegetarian meal that is fairly quick and simple.  On that note:  I have made a discovery that is new to me.  I cook up 1 cup of green lentils ahead of time:  1 cup lentils, enough water to cover by 1 inch and 1 Bay Leaf.  Cook 20 minutes, lid on at a simmer, then drain and allow to cool.  Cooked lentils freeze beautifully so you can always have them on hand for any number of dishes.
For this dish the recipe is as follows:
2/3 cup cooked green lentils
1/2 a chopped onion
4-5 Tblsp. Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil
4 minced garlic cloves
1/4 cup of diced carrots - dice small
3 Tblsp. diced celery
1 roma tomato - diced small
4 crimini mushrooms, diced
1 box of Vegetarian Paella
3 cups low or no sodium vegetable stock
fresh cracked pepper
In a medium sauce pan, bring the stock to a boil, and add in the Vegetarian Paella - stir with a fork to combine.  Then turn down to a simmer - simmer for 17 minutes lid off stirring occasionally until most of the liquid is absorbed.  Turn off the heat, cover and let sit about 5 minutes.
Meanwhile heat up a medium sized dutch oven on low/medium heat with the EVOO.  Add in the carrots and celery.  Saute about 5 minute.  Then add in the onions, garlic, mushrooms, and fresh cracked pepper.  Continue to saute for 10 minutes.
Add in the diced tomato and continue to saute for another five minutes.
Now the Paella is cooked - add to the sauteed vegetables and mix well.  Serve alongside any side dish of vegetables.  We had lightly sauteed fresh Swiss Chard with this dish...fresh from the farm in February!  🙂

Ina Gawne
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