Indian-Spiced Lentils with Spinach and Rhubarb Recipe | Vegetarian Times Skip to main content

Indian-Spiced Lentils with Spinach and Rhubarb

Rhubarb’s fruity flavor complements the Indian spices, sweet raisins, and velvety spinach in this dish. For a more complete dinner, serve over a cooked whole grain, such as quinoa or brown rice.



Ingredient Line: 
2 Tbs. olive oil, divided
Ingredient Line: 
2 Tbs. yellow mustard seeds
Ingredient Line: 
2 ½ tsp. whole cumin seeds
Ingredient Line: 
3 Tbs. minced fresh ginger
Ingredient Line: 
3 cloves garlic, minced (1 Tbs.)
Ingredient Line: 
1 medium red onion, chopped (1½ cups)
Ingredient Line: 
½ cup golden raisins
Ingredient Line: 
1 cup brown lentils, rinsed and drained
Ingredient Line: 
3 ½ cups low-sodium vegetable broth
Ingredient Line: 
½ lb. fresh rhubarb, cut into ¼-inch slices, or ½ lb. frozen sliced rhubarb, thawed
Ingredient Line: 
6 cups baby spinach leaves
Ingredient Line: 
½ cup chopped cilantro


1. Heat 1 Tbs. oil in nonstick skillet over medium-low heat. Add mustard and cumin seeds. Cover skillet, and cook 2 minutes, or until seeds begin to pop. Cook 1 to 2 minutes more, or until popping stops, shaking skillet often. Remove from heat, stir in ginger and garlic, and season with salt and pepper, if desired. Cover, and set aside.

2. Heat remaining 1 Tbs. oil in saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and raisins; sauté 10 minutes, or until onions begin to brown. Stir in lentils and 3 cups broth; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer 25 minutes. Stir in rhubarb and remaining 1/2 cup broth; cook 6 minutes. Add spinach, cover, and cook mixture 6 minutes more. Stir mixture to incorporate rhubarb and spinach leaves, then stir in spice mixture. Serve garnished with cilantro.

Nutrition Information: 

11 g
Total Fat: 
6 g
Saturated Fat: 
<1 g
41 g
0 mg
130 mg
11 g
13 g
Serves 6

Comments on this Recipe

You can substitute some apples for the rhubarb, and I think then it's not quite so tart. I also kept the raisins and apples (in my case) separate, and then let the lentils cook down until most of the liquid was gone. Then it wasn't quite so muddy when I added the rest of the mixure. Turned out good, but I would advise less ginger, I only used 2tbs and it was a bit too strong. I think some fried Paneer would also go really well with this dish. Thanks for the recipe!

I made this exactly like it was & thought it was delicious! I used 1-1/2 cups of fresh rhubarb and it retained some color and wasn't too tangy. I love ginger and didn't think 3 T. was overpowering. Served it over a quinoa/rice blend with the cilantro on top. Num num!

This turned out great! My only changes were that I used about half the ginger and used brown lentils instead. Next time I would serve it with either sour cream or strained, plain yogurt. YUM. =)

While the dish was interesting and tasty, it didn't look anything like the picture. It was the typical lentil dish: everything was brown. It looked like a pot of mud. If there is a secret to making it look like the picture, please let me know.

WAY too tangy. WAY. The tanginess of the rhubarb overpowered the entire dish. I could have totally left out the chaunce of cumin and mustard seeds as I couldn't even taste it! I would advise using half the amount of rhubarb called for. Mine also looked more like brown mud. ;)

I love lentils, as well as Indian cuisine, but I have never seen a combination like this. I was not sure how the flavors would combine, but I must say, it was surprisingly delicious! I was unable to find rhubarb, so I substituted frozen whole cranberries, which have a similar tartness. I also used French green lentils, as I prefer them to brown. I will definitely make this again when rhubarb becomes seasonally available.

Ooooh, looks like a perfect recipe to make to use up the kale from my CSA box as a substitute for the spinach and I LOVE lentils! I've never cooked with rhubarb, so I'll be looking for it at the farmer's market! Yum

I made the recipe, except I used kale instead of spinach. I thought there would be too much ginger and garlic, but the taste was superb and the rhubarb was indescribable! I loved the tang. What a great recipe. Thank you

I was intrigued by this flavor combination, and it is delicious! The liquid didn't cook all the way down, so I had to drain some. Otherwise it's great!


Were dried or canned lentils used in the recipe?

This is a tasty recipe. Like Sandra mentions, sometimes VT recipes leave the reader having to make some guesses. I pre-cooked the lentils, thinking they were canned in the recipe. If you read the recipe straight through (not a strength of mine), you'd see you cook them during, but no harm was done by my having cooked them (I just skipped the stewing in the middle). It was very good with distinct flavors, but nothing too overwhelming. I'd recommend it.

I'm trying to eat more kale and this looked like a good recipe; I made it following all the directions to the letter, and was not impressed. I served it over rice, which was really the saving grace; the taste is pretty dull, even with all the ginger, and the rhubarb basically wilted into mush, losing all its color and flavor. Definitely will not be making this again.

***I mean spinach, not kale. My bad.

I used Better Than Bouillon's No Chicken Base in place of the veggie broth, and served it over brown rice. This dish was bursting with flavor! It was a hit at home!

My family really liked this dish. Plus, it was a great way to use up some of the rhubarb (not a ton but a couple of stalks!) I precooked the lentils in the morning with the broth and then just added them and continued on with 1/2 cup of broth and the rhubarb. It was a big time saver. In fact, I doubled the amount of lentils and froze half for another recipe that calls for lentils. The rhubarb did cook down (as it usually does I think... sort of like a compote) but I thought the flavor was still there. Served on quinoa with a few chopped tomatos on the side.

very delicious. The combination of tastes was delightful. Not spicy. I also could not find any rhubarb so subbed cranberries. Pretty as well as tasty.

This dish certainly was interesting, with the rhubarb and raisins...but it worked. I would definitely make this again. However next time I will let the lentils cook most of the way (more like 35 minutes instead of 25) before adding the other ingredients - the spinach was cooked down to nothing by the time the lentils were actually cooked.

I made this but sauteed the spices in only 1 tsp of oil and then added the onions to the same pot sauteed those, added one dried red chili. I also used a pound of lentils, 4 cups of vegetable broth and 2 cups of H2O and a bunch of Swiss chard (didn't have spinach) and 3 stalks of rhubarb. The rhubarb gives it a nice tangy flavor, kind of like if you added a squeeze of lemon. Topped with fresh cilantro and added salt and pepper to taste.

I also left out the raisins

Absolutely delicious! I used red lentils and also added 1/2 cup of fresh cranberries so it looked really colorful served over basmati rice. I loved the unusual flavors and will definitely make again.