Tomato-Lentil Stew Over Cooked Grain

Created 30 Oct 2012 16:15, Updated 11 Jan 2016 20:23

Tomato-Lentil Stew Over [Cooked Grain of Choice]

Based on a recipe found in One-Dish Vegetarian Meals, by Robin Robertson (but improved quite a bit by ME. :)

Note: like most soups/stews, this can get really salty, really fast. I typically buy low-sodium or no-sodium-added products, if available, but it's probably a good idea to go easy on the salt the first time you make it.

This has become my go-to for lunch at work. It's delicious, nutritious, and freezes well. I cook what probably ends up to be the equivalent of a double batch, and freeze it into portions (usually 1.5 cups) in old sour cream containers. Along with a quarter cup of brown rice (which I make ahead and freeze into portions as well), it's a wonderfully tasty and easy lunch.

The original recipe puts the stew over couscous, which does absorb the juices well and thickens the stew up nicely, but I prefer the flavor of brown rice with this recipe overall.

This stew is open to all sorts of variance and substitutions. All the optional ingredients below are things I decided to try/add at one point or another, and they are all fabulous. Eggplant in particular seems to impart great flavor. The ratios are all just guestimates. I don't make it according to the recipe except in the loosest sense, just to make sure I don't forget something important. Enjoy!

2 T olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 leek, cleaned and sliced (optional)
2 ribs of celery, chopped (optional)
2 carrots, peeled and chopped (or ~10 big baby carrots)
2 bell peppers of whatever color you happen to have, chopped
28 ounces of canned tomatoes, diced
2 c kale, chopped (optional)
2 c eggplant, chopped (optional)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 c dried lentils, rinsed and picked over
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained (optional)
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp dried marjoram
1 tsp paprika (optional)
1/4 tsp cayenne (optional)
3 c tomato juice
3 c vegetable stock or water (I use Better than Boullion low-sodium vegetable base)
2 T minced scallions and 1 T minced freshed Italian parsley or cilantro, for garnish if desired

Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion, carrot, garlic, celery, and leek (if using) and cook until the onion is softened, about 5 minutes.

Add the tomatoes, bell peppers, lentils, salt, marjoram, bay leaf, any other spices or herbs you want to, and enough stock or water to cover the lentils by 1 inch (this will be hard to guage with the veggies floating in there, so I usually just go with 3-4 cups).

Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer, partially covered, for 20 minutes, or until the lentils are almost tender.

Add the tomato juice, beans, zucchini, kale, eggplant, and any other vegetables that need less cooking time, return to a simmer and cook 5-10 minutes more.

While the stew is simmering, prepare some sort of grain product, such as couscous, quinoa, or brown rice. Serve stew over bowls of the cooked grain and garnished with scallions and parsley, if desired.

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