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Spicy Lentil Stew

November 6, 2012

french and red lentils

Lentil stew has been a favorite of mine since I transitioned to vegetarianism. That summer, I left my parent’s nest and gleefully spread my wings as a newly minted vegetarian, hoping the east coast would be friendlier to my kind than the meat and potatoes midwest. Having never really learned how to cook much, however, and not having the cash to visit all those vegetarian friendly restaurants I’d heard about, I often found myself heating up canned soup. In this way I became quite the connoisseur of canned vegetarian soups. My favorite, by far, were the lentil soups, so when I finally started braving the kitchen to prepare my own meals, mastering a lentil soup was a priority. After years of tinkering, this is my favorite – a spicy, filling, fool proof, crowd pleaser of a stew that I always crave after we set our clocks back for daylight savings. Serve this up with twisted onion rolls and a side of musalmani and you’ve got a delicious, healthy winter meal!

spicy lentil stew

Spicy Lentil Stew

serves 3-4


2 Tbs. butter or oil

1 onion, chopped

1 large or 2 small carrots, 1/4 inch coins (halved if using particularly large carrots)

1 medium red potato, 1/2 inch dice

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 tsp dried cumin

1/2 tsp coriander

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1 bay leaf

1 tsp fresh thyme. minced

1 can undrained fire roasted diced tomatoes

3/4 cup lentils

1/4 cup dry white wine

2 cups vegetable broth

3/4 cup water

Juice of 1 small lemon

Handful of cilantro, chopped

Yogurt or sour cream


First, melt your butter or oil in a dutch oven or large pot over medium high heat. When hot, add your onion, carrot and potato and cook, stirring frequently, for two minutes. Add your garlic and dried spices and cook while stirring for another minute or so until fragrant. Add your tomatoes, bay leaf and thyme and cook another minute before adding your lentils and salt and pepper to taste. Cover, reduce heat to medium low and cook for ten minutes.

Increase the heat to high, add your wine and bring to a simmer, then add your water and broth. Bring the stew to a boil then partially cover and lower the heat to achieve a simmer. Cook until the lentils and vegetables are tender  but not mushy – 20 to 30 minutes depending on type of lentil and size of vegetables. Add your lemon juice and allow to continue simmering an additional 2-3 minutes to allow the flavors to meld.

Serve hot, garnished with a generous sprinkling of cilantro and a dollop of yogurt or sour cream.

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