08 February 2012

Hearty Zesty Lentil and Veggie Stew


This hearty stew has a really different flavor! There's a little heat from the dried chilies and  fresh citrus kick from the lemon zest. The heaviness from the lentils is softened by the fresh spinach and cilantro that's added towards the end of the cooking. Make sure to taste the soup before salting it though, since the coconut spread** is pretty salty on its own. Instead of the coconut spread, try olive oil or peanut oil. This stew tastes even more delicious the next day. Heated or chilled!

2-3 Tbsp Earth Balance coconut spread **
1 onion, diced
1 large carrot, peeled and diced
2 small celery stalks, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 fresh Bay leaf
2 small dried chili peppers
4 tsp ground coriander
2 tsp garam masala
1.5 tsp Italian spices
1 tsp ground fenugreek
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 veggie bouillon cube
1 cup butternut squash puree
1 tsp tamari
7 cups water
1 heaping cup dried French Du Puy lentils
1/3 cup dried red lentils
5 cups raw spinach, chopped
2 cups corn kernels
1/4 cup packed fresh cilantro, packed
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
1-2 tsp lemon zest, preferably from an organic lemon

Heat the coconut spread over medium-high heat and stir fry the onion, carrot, celery, garlic, Bay leaf and chilies until browned.
Add the spices : coriander, garam masala, Italian spices, fenugreek and black pepper to the pot and cook for 1 minute, always stirring to prevent sticking.
Add the bouillon cube, squash and tamari and cook for another few minutes.
Add the water and lentils.
Bring stew to a boil without the lid on and then reduce to a simmer with the lid on.
Cook until lentils are as tender and soft as you want them to be. I simmer this stew for about 30 minutes. The red lentils will have dissolved, thickening the stew, while the French lentils will retain their shape.
Towards the end of cooking, add the spinach, corn, cilantro, balsamic vinegar and lemon zest to the soup and cook for a couple of minutes or until the spinach is wilted but still bright green! :)
Before serving, remove Bay leaf and chilies.

Try adding some grated ginger, orange juice, dried apricots,
chopped tomatoes, potatoes, cabbage............


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