A Taste of African Heritage

SFC's The Happy Kitchen/La Cocina Alegre® is thrilled to be partnering with Oldways: Health through Heritage to offer their series, A Taste of African Heritage, here in our kitchen. Oldways’ mission is to inspire good health through cultural food traditions and lifestyles. Their advertising for A Taste of African Heritage reads, “Diabetes is not a part of African heritage. Neither is heart disease. Together, we can claim healthy by reclaiming history.”

The class highlights healthy ingredients, recipes, and cooking styles that form part of traditional African heritage. Because their curriculum is designed to be used across the country, we’ve paired their facilitator with one of our own SFC's The Happy Kitchen facilitators to provide supplemental information about how to find healthy, local food right here in Austin.

Here’s one of the Oldways recipes that comes with this series. It features lentils, which are traditional in Egypt, Ethiopia, and other places of Indian influence. Enjoy!

OldWays Simple Red Lentils Recipe

Serves 8


  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 medium-size yellow onion, diced
  • 1-inch piece ginger
  • 1 ½ tablespoons curry powder
  • 1 ½ tablespoons allspice
  • ¼ teaspoon paprika
  • 2 cups of red lentils, dried
  • 2 medium-size carrots, diced
  • 6 cups of water
  • Salt to taste

1. Heat the olive oil in your pot, using medium heat.

2. Add the onions, ginger, and garlic; sauté until translucent.

3. Add the curry powder, allspice, and paprika; cook for another minute.

4. Stir in the beans and carrots.

5. Add the water and bring to a boil.

6. Once boiling, bring to a simmer and cover. Cook for about 30 minutes.

Note: Dried beans typically have to soak for 6 to 8 hours, or overnight, before they can be cooked. Lentils and black-eyed peas are two beans that don’t require presoaking, so they are great to have in your pantry for easy, quick cooking.