Introduction: Madras Lentils, Low Sodium Version

About: Creating beautiful things in the kitchen and outside it, I'm always working on a new project!

My guy absolutely loves the Tasty Bite Madras Lentils that we usually buy at Costco but recently we have been really trying to watch our sodium intake. When we realized that these have 510 mg of sodium in 1/2 a package, I set out to recreate the dish with as little sodium as possible. By my calculations, each serving of this recipe as prepared has less than 50 mg of sodium.

Making it from scratch and dry beans takes a little advance preparation but it's worth it!

We've found that adding a little salt right before you dig into freshly homemade food works so much better and brings out more of the natural flavors than when it's hidden in copious amounts in prepared foods.

Step 1: Ingredients

8 oz Dry Lentils (cook prior to making dish)

8 oz Dry Red Beans (cook prior to making dish)

1 Onion, Chopped

4 Cloves Garlic, Chopped

4 Cans (~14.5oz) NO SALT ADDED Diced Tomatoes

1 Tbs Cumin

1 Tbs Chili Powder

Between 1/4 tsp -1/2 tsp Cayenne/Chipotle (or none...we like it SPICY!)

1" Ginger Root, Peeled & Chopped

Step 2: Day Before: Prepare Your Beans

I bought a 16oz bag of both the Lentils and Red Beans and only used half of each bag. The rest will keep in the pantry for the next batch.

To cook the Lentils, measure out 8 oz of dry Lentils, examine and rinse. In a large pot place beans and 4 cups of hot water. Bring to a boil and turn down to a simmer with pot lid tilted for about 15-20 minutes. Drain, rinse and refrigerate.

To cook the Red Beans, measure out 8 oz of dry Red Beans. In a large pot place beans and 4 cups of hot water. Bring to a high boil and boil for 4 minutes uncovered. Turn off the heat and immediately cover with a tight fitting lid and leave on the stove for at least an hour. Check for doneness. Drain, rinse and refrigerate with the Lentils.

Step 3: Assembly

Chop Onions and Garlic. Sauté (I didn't even use oil) in a non-stick pan until browned and soft.

Step 4: Making Sauce

In a larger stockpot, add onion and garlic mixture along with THREE cans of the Diced Tomatoes. (save one can for later)

Add in Cumin, Chili Powder and Cayenne.

Simmer, stirring every so often for 10 minutes.

Add in Chopped Ginger and simmer for another 5 minutes.

Step 5: Blend Sauce

This step is not entirely necessary but I was trying to make this as similar to the original as possible.

I used my stick blender and smoothed out the sauce a bit while it was still hot.

Step 6: Finish

Add in cooked Lentils and Beans and 4th can of Diced Tomatoes. If you're going to eat some right away, heat on low until hot (as the beans you put in were cold).

Step 7: ENJOY!

A great addition to this is a little ground beef. I buy bulk packages of super lean Ground Beef (less than 8 g fat/4 oz) brown it up and freeze in little 2 oz containers. I call them my 'little pots of meat'. :)

We'll freeze portions of this dish and we'll take one of them plus a pot of meat for pop-in-the-microwave, high fiber, high protein, flavorful lunch or dinner!

If you like what you see here, check out my other Instructables or my Facebook page Taco Soup where I post lots of other foodie stuff!

Let me know if you make this and your thoughts!