Sunday, December 28, 2014

Spiced Root Vegetable and Lentil Stew

After arriving home from the stunningly beautiful Turks and Caicos Islands to dreary old New York I was craving some warming comfort food. When the cumin, turmeric, red pepper flakes and fenugreek was generously sprinkled over the sauteing vegetables the aroma alone cheered me up. It's maybe not the prettiest dish ever but it's certainly a deliciously comforting one. The le puy lentils are the perfect meat substitute, they're chewy, have a little earthy texture to them in the best possible way and are sooooo good for you. We had been away for a week and on our return I found a variety of vegetables lurking in the fridge that needed to be used up quickly.

The following recipe sounds like a lot of ingredients, especially the spices but don't be put off, any types of squashes or roots would work well here and use your favorite spices. Necessity was the mother of invention for this particular recipe.

Spiced Root Vegetable and Lentil Stew.
1 healthy gulg of olive oil
2 small - medium onions
3 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
3 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 small butternut squash, peeled, seeded and chopped
1 tablespoon fresh thyme
1 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoons red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon ground fenugreek seeds
1 1/2 cups le puy lentils, rinsed
1 tablespoon tomato paste or harissa paste depending on how spicy you want your stew.
32 oz vegetable or organic chicken stock
1 cup cauliflower florets
1 cup broccoli florets
2 cups baby spinach
Juice of half a lemon
A dollop of plain Greek yogurt or vegan sour cream and a sprig of fresh thyme to serve.

1. Heat the olive oil in a dutch oven or large pan, add the onions and saute on a low heat until golden, be patient it can take up to 15 minutes.
2. Add the garlic, carrots, butternut squash, thyme and spices and saute for another 2-3 minutes. Add the lentils and stir well to coat them in the spices, veggies and oil.
3. Add the stock, tomato or harissa paste, stir well, bring to the boil, turn down to a simmer and partially cover the pot. Simmer for about 35-40 minutes then add the cauliflower and broccoli. Stir well to combine.
4. Simmer until the lentils and veggies until cooked through. Toss in the baby spinach which will wilt and cook in the heat of the stew. Remove from heat and squeeze the juice of half the lemon into the pot. Stir well. Allow to sit for 10 minutes or so for the flavors to meld.
5. This is lovely served with brown rice, quinoa, millet or barley. It will warm your soul - especially with a nice glass of red on the side.


  1. I have to admit I rarely cook with lentils, but your dish looks so inviting! I think I might just pick some up the next time I'm at the market. Happy Holidays, Gerlinde

  2. Looks like a good, warm, re-entry food for a person returning from a tropical island! But don't you miss all the fresh tropical fruit? I like the way DePuy lentils hold their shape, and you used a lot of good spices--- you are making me crave a bowl of this hearty soup!

  3. This looks like a perfect dish for this time of the year! Comfort food at it’s best! I love lentils…I’ll have to give this soup a try. Happy New Year Mary!

  4. A perfectly warming and hearty stew! I would love some for the lunch.
    Happy New Year!


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