Slow Cooker Curried Lentils with Pistachios

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Sometimes I wish the month of December had more hours in the day than the other 11 .  I’m always looking for the easiest way to do…well everything, because there is just so little time to pack in all the things that need to get done before Christmas Day.  That includes using my slow cooker for suppers, which allows me to get a little bit fancy but still make things easy and efficient when it comes to using my time.  Adding garnishes like holiday nuts to a simple dish makes it festive and takes it up a notch for the Christmas season.

There is something about the holiday season that brings around all that nostalgia of days past.  I had been thinking a lot lately of the time I spent in India during some of my ‘gap year’ between high school and university.  Maybe it’s because of the little girl we recently started to sponsor there or the meals we packed for Feed the Hunger at our church just before Thanksgiving.  Regardless, I had a hankering for some Indian inspired food!  One of things I remember most about the dishes from the Tamil area, besides their aromatic spices, was the way they looked all Christmas-y with their colors of red, greens and whites.

Okay so as I said I like things easy and efficient, so I headed to Walmart to pick up ingredients for this recipe.  Smack dab in the middle aisles what do I see, but this large display of Planter’s seasonal nuts.  Talk about multipurpose, I grabbed this Planter’s Holiday Collection Tin of mixed nuts, because I needed pistachios and this tin had them – and then I could use the rest of the nuts for serving at our holiday gatherings!

Lo and behold – there was exactly 1/3 cup of pistachios in this tin…just the amount required in my recipe (no joke, how perfect was that?!).

I was actually really impressed with how many premium nuts were in this mix – the almonds, cashews, pistachios weren’t overwhelmed by peanuts.  You know what I’m talking about!  I remember my mom buying cheap nut mixes at Christmas years ago and we would all rifle through it picking out the ‘good nuts’   Those of you that #GoNutsForNuts will have no need to pick over this tin!

So without further ado, here is the recipe!

Slow Cooker Curried Lentils with Pistachios

Tamil inspired curry spices make this a fragrant dish.  The colors from the tomato paste, peas, and rice give it a festive look.  The pistachio garnish adds to the flavor and presentation.
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Serves: 6
Cook Time: 5 to 8 hours

Merry Slow Cooker Curried Lentils

2 medium shallots, peeled and quartered
1 six ounce can of tomato paste
1 teaspoon minced garlic
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons nutmeg
1 cup of water
2 cups of Thai Ginger broth (if you cannot find this you can use 2 cups of vegetable broth and add 4 tbsp of fresh chopped ginger to the blended tomato paste mixture)
1 lb. lentils
1 thirteen to fourteen ounce can of light coconut milk
1 lb. bag of frozen cauliflower
1 cup frozen peas, thawed
1 tablespoon lime juice
Cooked white rice for serving
1/3 cup chopped shelled pistachios

• In a food processor/blender, mix shallots, tomato paste, garlic, cumin, nutmeg and 1 cup of water (add the ginger here also if you are using vegetable broth rather than the Thai Ginger broth) until the ingredients are smooth, transfer to large slow cooker bowl.

• Add the broth, lentils, coconut milk to the slow cooker bowl and combine.  Pour frozen cauliflower on top.  Cook on high 5 hours or on low 8 hours.

• When done, stir in peas and lime juice.  Serve plated over rice and garnish each serving with about 3/4 of tablespoon of chopped pistachios.

If you have a smartphone you must download the Blippar app.  It is so much fun to use with the Planter’s products.  Just bring the app up and scan the logo, once it recognizes it, a little overlay will come up with a menu of things you can do with it from taking a Selfie to Holiday Tips which include recipes and gift packaging ideas to use with the Planter’s Seasonal Nut varieties.

If you need more inspiration, check out the Cooking Up Good website. They have recipes, sweepstakes, loyalty programs, coupons and more! What’s not to love? If you’re looking for a new dinner idea or a chance to win some awesome prizes, be sure to check it out!