Lentil, Pepper & Spinach Supper ♥ with Crispy Tofu & Indian Spices

Lentil, Pepper & Spinach Supper with Crispy Tofu & Indian Spices, another healthy one-pot supper ♥ AVeggieVenture.com, lentils with bright bell pepper and dark spinach, topped with tofu cooked with Indian spices. Weight Watchers Friendly. Perfect for MeatlessMonday. Vegan, filling and satisfying. Adaptable too!
The next time you want to "lighten up" calories but "brighten up" flavor? Choose this vegan one-pot skillet supper, easy to make with pantry ingredients, especially since it's so adaptable. The lentils cook quickly atop the stove, great on their own but for an extra boost, top the lentils with tiny cubes of tofu crisp-cooked in Indian spices.

Year-Round Kitchen Staple. Filling & Satisfying. Great for Meal Prep & Meatless Monday. Very Adaptable. Easy Weeknight Supper. High Protein. Weight Watchers Friendly. Not just vegan, Vegan Done Real. Naturally Gluten Free.

Lovin' Lentils, Yes I Am

May I just say? This vegetarian supper is absolutely delicious! I first made it a year ago with red lentils and remember, yeah, it was good. But with black lentils that hold their shape like French lentils? Stunningly delicious. And compared to many vegetarian dishes, especially often mud-brown lentil dishes, it gets high marks for color, too.

And Tofu Too: But Tofu is Optional

If you or your tablemates aren't excited about tofu, leave it out or substitute cubes of chicken breast or pork or even lamb or even, to keep it vegetarian, roasted sweet potato. And while tofu makes for a hearty vegetarian supper, the lentils alone make a great bed for grilled meat or aside roasted chicken, too. Or a quick lunch. Or topped with a poached egg. Can you tell? I love these lentils!

This is a recipe to come back to again and again, easy to adapt to what you have on hand. The two essentials, to my taste, are the lentils and the spinach. After that? Go to town!


"Even the kids liked it." ~ Carrie
"This was soooooo good." ~ Anonymous

How do you save and share favorite recipes? recipes that fit your personal cooking style? a particular recipe your mom or daughter or best friend would just love? If these lentils hit the mark, go ahead, save and share! I'd be honored ...

Lentil, Pepper & Spinach Supper with Crispy Tofu & Indian Spices, another healthy one-pot supper ♥ AVeggieVenture.com, lentils with bright bell pepper and dark spinach, topped with tofu cooked with Indian spices. Weight Watchers Friendly. Perfect for MeatlessMonday. Vegan, filling and satisfying. Adaptable too!

Just updated. First published way back in 2006!


Hands-on time: 30 minutes
Time to table: 30 minutes
Makes 5 cups lentils

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, diced
1 red pepper, diced
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon minced ginger

3/4 cup (150g) lentils, rinsed well
3 cups water or vegetable stock
2 teaspoons kosher salt

5 ounces (141g) fresh spinach

1 tablespoon peanut oil or additional olive oil
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon curry powder
Sprinkle cayenne pepper or to taste
12 ounces light extra-firm tofu

LENTILS Heat the oil in a large, deep skillet over MEDIUM HIGH. (If you're not cooking the tofu, add the cumin seed, curry and cayenne now and cook for a minute before proceeding.) Add the onion and pepper as they're prepped, stirring to coat with oil and then occasionally, until soft. Stir in the garlic and ginger and cook for a minute. Add the lentils, water and salt. Bring to a boil, then cook, uncovered for about 20 minutes or until the liquid is fully absorbed, stirring occasionally. Stir in the spinach in batches until it's softened.

TOFU Dry the tofu with a paper towel, then cut into cubes. In another skillet, heat the oil until shimmery on MEDIUM heat. Add the cumin, curry and cayenne and cook for 2 - 3 minutes, until fragrant.Add the tofu to the skillet and gently stir to coat with spices and oil. Let cook until browned (or at least warmed through), stirring occasionally.

COMBINE Spread the tofu across the lentils or stir into the lentils if preferred.

LENTILS I've made this with red lentils (for a creamier version), black lentils and French lentils (which hold their shape so well) and even, most recently, with plain brown lentils which can look awfully "brown" but are easily found and least expensive. All taste great! For looks, I go for the black lentils and the French lentils.
TOFU Both firm and extra-firm tofu work, the others are too soft to sauté. If you're watching calories, do check out the huge calorie difference between light and full-fat tofu. The last time I made this, the tofu didn't crisp up at all in a cast-iron skillet but still tasted good.
SPINACH Five ounces spinach may seem like way too much! How will that big pile fit into the skillet? Add it in two or three batches, the tender leaves will wilt into the dish, cooking just from the heat of the lentils.
CILANTRO The inspiring recipe calls for a light sprinkle of chopped cilantro at the end – it's great but half the time, I forget it and it's never missed.

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Day 300!

Allow me a quick look down memory lane? This recipe was first published in 2006, on Day 300 of that first year when I cooked a vegetable in a new way every day for an entire year. This is what I wrote, exclamation points and all. :-)

"On a personal note, allow me to get this out of the way. Day 300? Did you see that?! Day 300???!!! DAY THREE OhMyGosh HUNDRED! How is it possible?!! This blog, this venture, truly started as a lark. And now here it is, Day 300! And I'm still learning, still having more fun than imaginable after 300 days of discovering vegetables in new ways! Thanks for joining this journey!"

Still Hungry?

More Favorite Lentil Recipes

~ Slow Cooker Vegetarian Lentil Sloppy Joes ~
~ Summer Lentils ~
~ Julia Child's Lentil Salad ~
~ more recipes with beans & lentils ~
from A Veggie Venture

~ Simple Lentil Salad with Seasonal Vegetables ~
~ Homemade Lentil Soup ~
~ Two-Way Lentil Skillet ~
~ more lentil recipes ~
from Kitchen Parade, my food column

Looking for healthy new ways to cook vegetables? A Veggie Venture is home to hundreds of super-organized quick, easy and healthful vegetable recipes and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables. Join "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg to explore the exciting world of common and not-so-common vegetables, seasonal to staples, savory to sweet, salads to sides, soups to supper, simple to special.

© Copyright Kitchen Parade
2006, 2015, 2019 & 2021 (repub)

Alanna Kellogg
Alanna Kellogg

A Veggie Venture is home of "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.


  1. Congrats on reaching 300 days and still going strong. This looks great. I love lentils, but so far I haven't been able to find the black ones here. I keep hoping I'll stumble on them somewhere.

  2. This looks yummy. I also like lentils very much and tend to eat them once a week.

  3. This looks amazing...might have to try!

  4. I made this last night for my shared meals group. I doubled the recipe, which was easy,and used little French lentils. Even the kids liked it.

  5. Carrie - You MADE my day! Thanks for letting me know. This is one recipe I keep thinking about!

  6. This was soooooo good. I'm having frozen leftovers for lunch today.

  7. I didn't have a red pepper and didn't want to use my tofu since lentils have plenty of protein, so I subbed a BIG chopped carrot for the pepper and four diced Yukon Gold potatoes for the tofu, tossed with the oil and spices and roasted at 450° till crispy. SO GOOD!

    1. Michelle ~ Brilliant! I especially love the substitution of potatoes for tofu since at least in this house, we are rarely without potatoes and tofu is a special purchase. Potatoes are good texture-wise too. And maybe sweet potato? butternut squash? eggplant? carrot?

      Thanks so much for the great ideas!

    2. I thought about both sweet potato and butternut since I happen to have both in the house, but the butternut is reserved for the butternut lasagne EVERYone loves, and the carrot was easier to prep than my tired sweet potato. But when I have Japanese eggplant from my garden, though, that would be an excellent substitute for – or addition to – the pepper! Thanks so much for your website; I've lost track of how many people I've sent your way!


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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe, whether a current recipe or a long-ago favorite. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. ~ Alanna