1-1/4 pounds fresh or frozen leaf spinach
1 medium-sized onion, peeled
5 T. vegetable oil
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1 cup dried lentils, picked over, washed, and drained
1-1/2 to 1-3/4 t. salt
1 t. ground cumin seeds
1/8 t. freshly ground black pepper
Separate the fresh spinach leaves and wash well. Do not discard the pinkish roots. Wash them as well. (They will taste very good when cooked.) Bunch up a few leaves at a time and cut them crosswise into 1/2-inch-wide strips. Cut each root into 2 to 3 pieces. If using frozen spinach, cook according to directions, drain and chop coarsely.
Cut the onion in half lengthwise, and then cut the halves into fine half rings.
Heat the oil in a heavy, wide, casserole-type pot over a medium flame. When hot, put in the onion and garlic. Stir and sauté for 2 minutes. Now put in the lentils and 3 cups of water. Bring to a boil. Cover, lower heat and simmer about 25 minutes or until lentils are just tender. Add the spinach leaves and roots, salt, and cumin. Stir to mix and bring to a simmer. Cover and simmer another 10 to 15 minutes or until spinach is tender and well-mixed into the lentils. Stir gently a few times during this period. Put in the black pepper and mix again. This dish may easily be made ahead of time and reheated.