Winter Stew for Meatless Monday
I've been inexplicably craving a lentil stew lately, but just haven't seemed to hit on the right recipe. Luckily one of my challenge group participants posted a recipe last week, and I knew right away that I had to try it.
I find that lentils add such a richness to soups and stews. They are a common ingredient for me in the winter months. It actually took me a bit of trial and error to cook them just right, and I'm always looking for helpful resources on new recipes and types! One of the more comprehensive guides to lentils can be found here. Check it out and be ready to become a lentil expert!
This recipe incorporates just the right amount of veggies, stock and lentils to comprise a creamy and bright stew that surely will be part of my rotation this winter. I typically am looking for more hearty meals this time of year, and this one fits the bill without the meat. It's also vegan, which means it's going to potentially play a larger role in our dinners, as I start transitioning us to a more plant-based diet (more on that to come).
The original recipe can be found here. My modifications are below! Enjoy!
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion, diced
- 3 stalks of celery, washed and diced
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon curry paste
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 large can (28 ounces) whole or diced tomatoes, drained
- 1 cup brown lentils - I used the pre-cooked kind from Trader Joe's to save time
- 4 cups vegetable broth
- 2 cups water
- 1 teaspoon salt, more to taste
- Pinch red pepper flakes
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup chopped spinach (you can also use kale here)
- Juice of ½ to 1 medium lemon, to tast
- Warm the olive oil in a large Dutch oven or pot over medium heat.
- Add the chopped onion and celery and cook until the onion has softened and is turning translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, cumin, curry powder and thyme. Cook until fragrant while stirring constantly, about 30 seconds. Pour in the drained diced tomatoes and cook for a few more minutes, stirring often, in order to enhance their flavor.
- Pour in the lentils, broth and the water. Add 1 teaspoon salt and a pinch of red pepper flakes. Season generously with freshly ground black pepper. Raise heat and bring the mixture to a boil, then partially cover the pot and reduce heat to maintain a gentle simmer. Cook for 30 minutes, or until the soup has gotten a bit thicker.
- Transfer 2 cups of the soup to a blender. Make sure to place a paper towel or dish towel over the lid to protect from the steam! Pour the puréed soup back into the pot and add the chopped greens. Cook for 5 more minutes, or until the greens have softened a but
- Remove the pot from heat and stir in the juice of half of a lemon. Taste and season with more salt, pepper and/or lemon juice if needed. Serve immediately.
Let's talk about all the lovely ways you could eat this soup. I see a lazy Sunday family lunch with snow falling outside, a comforting taste of home eaten in the office between meetings or a weeknight dinner prepared on Sunday and simply re-heated after a busy day of activities. Give it a shot, and let me know how YOU decide to eat it!