Pink Lentils with Roasted Mushrooms: Countdown to Valentine’s Day

Continuing with our Valentine’s Day countdown, today I have for you a delicious — and perfect– accompaniment to the Asparagus and Saffron Biryani I last shared: Pink Lentils with Roasted Mushrooms.

Mushrooms are prized by vegetarians for their earthy, addictive flavor but also for their satisfying texture that makes them a great substitute for meat. Legend or lore has it that mushrooms have been, for centuries and by many cultures, considered a prized aphrodisiac. They are also low in calories, high in fiber and potassium, and packed with antioxidants, all of which makes them great for your heart too.

Adding lentils to mushrooms sends the heart healthiness of this dish shooting into the stratosphere. Lentils, as you already know, are one of the healthiest foods on the planet. They are not only delicious, but they are also brimming with fiber, protein and friendly carbs. And all of this goodness comes with almost no fat attached. How great is that? Keep in mind that pink lentils cook up yellow, so your dish won’t actually be pink (wouldn’t that have been great, given the theme?)

These are busy days so I cannot chat for long, but stay tuned for more recipes in this series with more arousingly heart-healthy foods that will make Valentine’s Day just that much more special.

Enjoy, all!

Pink Lentils with Roasted Mushrooms

(Makes eight servings)


1 cup pink lentils (masoor dal)

1 pound crimini mushrooms, quartered and then cut lengthwise once more so you have longish slivers

1 large onion, thinly sliced (optional. If you’d rather not eat onions on the big day, no worries. This dish is still delicious without them. Just skip the step that involves caramelizing the onions)

1 tsp sugar

1 + 1 tsp red pepper flakes

2 + 2 garlic cloves, finely minced

1 tbsp garam masala powder

Salt and black pepper to taste

3 tsp canola or other vegetable oil

2 tbsp lemon juice

1/4 cup minced coriander leaves

Heat 1 tsp oil in a heavy-bottom pan and add 2 tsp of garlic and 1 tsp red pepper flakes. Saute for a few seconds, then add the lentils. Stir well, then add 3 cups of water.

Bring to a boil, then place a lid on it and cook until the lentils are really tender, about 30 minutes. (If you have a pressure cooker, you can prepare the lentils in it and cut down on the time required).

Stir in salt and pepper and reserve.

In another pan, heat 1 tsp oil and add the onions and sugar. Cook on a medium flame, stirring, until the onions are caramelized and golden-brown, about 10 minutes. Remove the onions and reserve.

In the same pan, heat the remaining oil and add the remaining 2 tsp of garlic and the remaining red pepper flakes.

Add the mushrooms. Stir-fry the mushrooms until they soften. Add salt and black pepper and garam masala and continue cooking until the mushrooms are cooked but still have a great bite to them.

Set aside a few mushrooms for garnish and mix the dal wth the remaining mushrooms. Bring the mixture to a boil. Check seasoning, mix in fresh coriander leaves and lemon juice.

Top with the mushrooms and caramelized onions. Serve hot with the biryani.

(C) All recipes and photographs copyright of Holy Cow! Vegan Recipes.

16 thoughts on “Pink Lentils with Roasted Mushrooms: Countdown to Valentine’s Day

  1. Permalink  ⋅ Reply


    February 1, 2013 at 3:49pm

    I found your blog and I am so happy!
    I made your recipe for the rainbow chard and tomato chutney quesadilla, my family loved it so much.
    I just wanted to say thank you for sharing it and I look forward to trying more!
    All the best,

    • Permalink  ⋅ Reply

      Vaishali Honawar

      February 4, 2013 at 7:48pm

      Michelle, what a sweet and thoughtful message. Thanks, and glad you liked the quesadillas.

  2. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    Small Footprints

    February 1, 2013 at 4:29pm

    Mmm … this looks delicious! We love lentils … they are so versatile! Can’t wait to try this recipe out … thanks for sharing it with us!

    • Permalink  ⋅ Reply

      Vaishali Honawar

      February 4, 2013 at 7:49pm

      Small Footprints, agreed. I can eat lentils every day because there are so many things you can do with them.

  3. Permalink  ⋅ Reply


    February 1, 2013 at 5:01pm

    yummy and tempting !!! absolutely gorgeous pics !!

  4. Permalink  ⋅ Reply


    February 1, 2013 at 5:18pm

    I am not too fond of mushrooms, but a close friend is in love with them and I just forwarded this link to her. she is going to do her happy dance ( yes, she loves mushrooms ‘that much’)!

  5. Permalink  ⋅ Reply


    February 1, 2013 at 6:32pm

    That sounds delicious! I love mushrooms and never paired them with lentils.

    Love the name of your blog, by the way!

    • Permalink  ⋅ Reply

      Vaishali Honawar

      February 4, 2013 at 7:50pm

      Darjeeling, thanks! And the credit for the blog name goes to Desi who’s famed for his mordant wit. :)

  6. Permalink  ⋅ Reply


    February 1, 2013 at 6:44pm

    Wat a beautiful bowl, pink lentils with roasted mushrooms,the name itself makes me hungry.

  7. Permalink  ⋅ Reply


    February 2, 2013 at 2:26am

    I did not even know pink lentils existed but those roasted mushrooms are gorgeous!

  8. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    Swati Sapna

    February 2, 2013 at 11:00am

    This is such a wonderful combination! I would hve never thought to mix lentils with mushrooms… but i’m quite liking the idea :) you really cook up some unusual, fantastic dishes vaishali!

  9. Permalink  ⋅ Reply


    February 5, 2013 at 7:53am

    I love mushrooms AND lentils. This recipe looks good, and the photos are amazing!

    • Permalink  ⋅ Reply


      April 9, 2013 at 9:19pm

      Are mushrooms vegan? I’m not sure if fungi comes under plant.

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