Thursday, February 11, 2010

vegan red lentil stew

quick and easy

I recently received a box of cookies from my dear friend Leslie.  Every time I think of Leslie, I'm reminded me of this amazing lentil stew recipe she gave me a long time ago.  It has since been modified a few dozen times and the recipe below is for our favorite version.  It doesn't have strong or complex seasonings and usually I prefer it like that; mellow and understated.  However, occasionally I'll use it as a base to improvise with what I have on hand and what I'm in the mood for (perhaps adding a little adobo seasoning, cumin and lime to give it a southwestern flair or a bit of berbere and nitter kibbeh for an Ethiopian kick).

Vegan Red Lentil Stew
serves 4
  • 1 cup red lentils, rinsed and drained
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 15 oz can of diced tomatoes
  • 1 T soy sauce
  • 1 T vegan Worcestershire sauce
  • 1-2 bouillon cubes
  • 1 onion
  • 3 celery stalks
  • 2 carrots
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1-2 jalapenos (optional)
  • 1 t dried basil
  • 1/2 t dried oregano
  • few sprinkles red pepper flakes
  • a few handfuls of fresh spinach or a box of frozen chopped spinach
  1. In a medium sauce pan, combine lentils, water, diced tomatoes, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce and bouillon.  Bring to a boil, then turn down to low and simmer.  
  2. Meanwhile, roughly chop onion, celery and carrots.  Add them, with the garlic cloves and jalapeno (if using), to a food processor and pulse until finely diced (or finely dice by hand).
  3. Add vegetables to sauce pan along with the basil, oregano and red pepper flakes. 
  4. If using fresh spinach, chop and add to lentils.  If using frozen spinach, defrost in microwave, wring out extra water and add to lentils.
  5. Simmer for 30 minutes total (start timing once you turn the temperature down to simmer), stirring every once in a while.

Out of the goodness of her heart, Leslie shipped me a box of her delicious cookies. This batch was mint chocolate chip and they were just perfect. Slightly crispy around the edges and chewy in the centers with a hint of mint to make them extra special.

For a very reasonable price, she will happily mail you some cookies too! She's not only a terrific baker but she's also a very talented jeweler. Check out her etsy shop, Piece by Peace or her Facebook Fan Page!

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