Dinner in Minutes

Lamb dish inspired by flavors of North Africa

Lamb and Lentil Tagine.
Lamb and Lentil Tagine. TNS

Lamb blends with fragrant spices in this Moroccan dish. Tagines are usually served at home and are cooked in a glazed earthenware tagine, a covered dish with a conical lid. It’s used for slow cooking the ingredients. Steam gathers in the top of the conical lid and falls on the food, keeping it moist without basting. However, any type of skillet or casserole can be used for this dinner.

I’ve shortened the cooking time by using tender lamb cut for lamb kabobs and using a skillet. Lentils do not need soaking overnight and take only 20 minutes to cook, making this a 30-minute meal inspired by the flavors of North Africa. This dish tastes great the second day. If you have time, make double the recipe and save half for another quick meal.

Helpful hints:

Rice can be substituted for the lentils. Use 1/2 cup white long-grain rice; add 1 1/2 cups water and cook in the same manner as the lentils.

A quick way to chop cilantro is to snip the leaves from the stems with a scissors.

If the skillet becomes dry before the lentils are cooked, add a little more water.


Start lentils.

While lentils cook, prepare remaining ingredients.

Complete dish.

Shopping list:

To buy: 3/4 pound lamb cubes (cut for kabobs), 1 medium tomato, 1 small bunch cilantro, 1 small package washed, ready-to-eat spinach, 1 small jar ground cumin and 1 small package dried lentils.

Staples: olive oil, frozen chopped onion, garlic, ground cinnamon, salt and black peppercorns.

Linda Gassenheimer is the author of over 30 cookbooks including her newest, “The 12-Week Diabetes Cookbook.” Listen to podcasts at www.880thebiz.com. Connect with Linda by email at Linda@DinnerInMinutes.com; on Facebook at @FoodNewsandViews; and on Twitter at @Lgassenheimer

Lamb And Lentil Tagine

Yield: 2 servings

Recipe by Linda Gassenheimer

1 tablespoon olive oil

3/4 pound lamb cubes (cut for kabobs), about 1-inch cubes

2 cups frozen chopped onion

2 medium garlic cloves, crushed

1 medium tomato, cut into eight wedges

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 teaspoons ground cumin

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 1/2 cups water

10 fresh cilantro sprigs plus 2 tablespoons chopped leaves (divided use)

1/2 cup dried lentils

4 cups washed, ready-to-eat spinach

Heat oil in a medium-size nonstick skillet over high heat. Add the lamb cubes and brown for 2 minutes, turning the cubes to make sure all sides are browned. Remove to a plate.

Add the onion, garlic, tomato, cinnamon, cumin, salt and black pepper. Cook 1 minute to release the juices in the dried spices.

Add water, 10 sprigs cilantro and lentils. Bring the water to a simmer, reduce heat to medium, cover with a lid and gently simmer 20 minutes. The water should be absorbed.

Remove cilantro sprigs, stir in lamb and spinach and cook 2 minutes. Divide between 2 dinner plates and sprinkle 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro on top.

Nutrition | Per serving: 562 calories (28 percent from fat), 17.4 g fat (4.4 g saturated, 7.3 g monounsaturated), 108 mg cholesterol, 51.7 g protein, 52.5 g carbohydrates, 20.9 g fiber, 175 mg sodium