Lentils with Butternut Squash

Growing up we ate lentils pretty much every day as they were nutritious, cheap, and filling. I didn’t appreciate lentils as much back then but now crave it often and miss my Mom’s cooking. My Mom tried to change things up so we didn’t get too bored with the lentils. She would find different kinds of lentils and would use different recipes to make lentils interesting. One of my favorites was fried pakoras, sometimes with vegetables or meats, that I plan to write up as a recipe in the future.

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Dal with Zucchini

Growing up I ate masoor dal (red lentils) virtually every day and loved it for its taste. Now that I’m older I also realize it’s great because it’s affordable and very nutritious as well. Another thing that I love is zucchini, which I never tasted before coming to the U.S. Dal and zucchini are not a common thing to eat together, but I’ve discovered over time that they go great together! Now I want to share this with you in a recipe.

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Awesome Chili That Happens To Be Vegan

I have been trying to incorporate more beans, lentils, and vegetables into our daily meals. With the right combination of spices, you can turn boring canned beans into something really spectacular. In my university job I was tasked with creating new and exciting vegan and vegetarian recipes for college students. One of the dishes that proved really popular was a special vegan chili that I created.

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Begun Bhaji (Fried Eggplant)

I love eggplant for its delicious taste and smooth and velvety texture. It doesn’t hurt that it’s healthy too. Growing up, my Mom used eggplant in many dishes. She would either deep fry it in a chick pea flour batter, stir fry it, or pan fry it in a skillet. The pan-fried version of this dish is called Begun bhaji, which is what I make in this recipe.

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Saag Bhaji (Spinach fry)

Saag bhaji is a spinach dish widely eaten all over Bangladesh. This is probably the easiest Bengali dish you’ll ever make. If you don’t have any spinach, you can substitute in other greens like mustard, swiss chard, beet greens. The taste may differ from regular spinach, as spinach has a very mild flavor. I like to use radish greens because they give the dish a spicy kick.

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Bangladeshi-Style Aoo Bhorta (spicy mashed potatoes)

During my youth, I ate potato dishes every day in my Bangladeshi household. Potatoes were super cheap and easy for my family to get ahold of.

My love for potatoes came from my Mom. She made fried potatoes with spices to eat with rotis (homemade flour tortilla) for breakfast. She also made bhortas to go along with lentil dishes. Aloo bhorta was our comfort food.

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Sambar (Lentil and Vegetable Stew)

My garden is still going strong even in October. I have been harvesting vegetables like beans, eggplant, okra, and tomatoes. I eat more veggies than anyone else in my family as others are a bit picky. I am always trying new ways to cook veggies for my family. One dish I thought they would like is called Sambar. It has no meat and tastes great with just about any vegetable that you add.

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