Mexican Red Lentil Stew

mexican red lentil stew

Hello food lovers! I am really proud to share this one with you guys. It’s pretty much the best stew I’ve ever made. It tastes like tortilla soup- hearty and filling, but without the empty calories from the tortillas. The texture of the lentils really mimics that of the tortillas, but let’s be real, I added some tortilla chips on top after taking this picture. ūüôā

In addition to being totally delicious, this stew is also very filling, totally healthy, and costs about $1.50 per bowl. You get approximately 30 grams of protein per bowl, tons of fiber, and a big dose of folic acid and magnesium. The perfect blood sugar-stabilizing meal to keep you from late night snacking. You can omit the olive oil and cook the veggies in a little bit of the broth to make it fat free if desired. If you are on a budget or too busy to cook dinner every night, this is the perfect week night meal, and it tastes better every passing day.

Let me know what you think of it!

Mexican Red Lentil Stew

Makes about 6 big servings

2 cups dry red lentils, rinsed

4 cups of water

1 tbs olive oil

1 small yellow onion, chopped

1 small jalape√Īo, seeded and minced

1 big carrot, diced

1/2 red bell pepper, diced

1 tsp turmeric

1/2 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp black pepper

1/2 tsp paprika

8 cloves garlic, minced

3 cups vegetable broth

2 tbs tomato paste

1 cup fresh (or frozen) corn kernels

3 sprigs fresh cilantro, chopped, plus extra for garnish

sliced avocado for garnish

1 lime cut into wedges

sriracha for garnish (optional)

Combine the lentils and water in a pot, cover with a lid, and bring to a boil. Once boiling reduce the heat to low and let them cook for 20 minutes. Once done, pour off any excess liquid.

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a deep frying pan over medium heat. Add the onion,¬†jalape√Īo, carrots, and bell pepper and cook for 8¬†minutes or so, stirring often. If at any point the mixture gets too dry and sticks to the pan, add a splash of broth.¬†Stir in the spices and cook an additional minute, then the garlic and stir for an additional minute.

Next,¬†add¬†the 3 cups of broth, cooked lentils, and tomato paste into the vegetable mixture and let it cook until the carrots are tender, stirring often for a few more minutes.¬†Then¬†add the cup of corn and stir it in until¬†heated through. At this point I stuck an immersion blender into the pot and gave it a few pulses to thicken things up. If you don’t have an immersion blender,¬†scoop out one cup of the mixture and put it in the blender for 5¬†sec, then add it back¬†to the stew. This step can also be skipped altogether to save time and clean up.

Finally stir in the chopped cilantro and taste to adjust seasoning.

You could add all the lime juice into the pot of stew, but I think it was nicer to squeeze it over the top and get some layers of flavors to your bowl.

Serve each bowl with some sliced avocado, fresh cilantro, lime wedges, and sriracha, if you can take the extra heat!

Enjoy!

 

 

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Moroccan Spice Stew

Moroccan Spice Stew

I started out wanting to make a simple pureed carrot soup. But then I just kept thinking of more and more ingredients I wanted to add, and I realized that what I really wanted was to recreate one of the best meals I’ve ever had. I’m talking about a giant bowl of assorted Moroccan food that¬†I got from the food court at the Louvre Museum, in France. The first and only time I went to Paris¬†on a college class trip, we were primarily there to visit all the museums and sketch the landscapes.¬†As an art college graduate¬†I’m embarrassed to admit that I found the trip a leeeeeeetle bit dull, but that might have just been because I didn’t really know any of the other students. Besides the Mona Lisa and the Eiffel Tower, the main thing I really remember about that trip was that fantastic Moroccan food in the Louvre food court, from a little spot called Salam. I will never forget it! I think it was the first time I tried cinnamon in a savory dish, or maybe the first time I ever tried anything with that many intense spices, but I was just in heaven. So if you ever go to France, you already know what attraction I recommend. And yes it’s a museum food court buffet. Ah, I’m so classy.

 

Moroccan Spice Stew

Makes about 5 big servings

2 large carrots

1 red onion

1 sweet green pepper (I used a banana pepper)

4 tablespoons of olive oil or coconut oil

20 small green olives, slivered + 5 for garnish

5 dates, slivered (or 1/3 cup golden raisins)

8 cloves of garlic, finely chopped

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp ground ginger

2 tsp cumin

1 tsp cayenne

1.5 tsp salt, or to taste

4 ounces tomato paste

4 cups vegetable stock

1 15 oz can chickpeas (or about 2 1/2 cups soaked from dry beans)

1/4  cup slivered toasted almonds

a few sprigs of fresh parsley, chopped

 

Start by chopping the carrots into a very small dice. I made the mistake of cutting them into to big chunks, and they cook at a much slower rate that all the rest of the ingredients, so I had to cook longer and thus blend the flavors more than I wanted. So a small dice. Next dice up the onion and green pepper. Heat the oil in a large cast iron pot or similar, and add the carrot, onion, green pepper, olives, and dates. Sauté on medium/high heat for about 10 minutes, until everything is softened.

Next add the garlic, cinnamon, ginger, cumin, cayenne, and salt, and stir for 1 additional minute. If it gets to dry and starts to stick to the pan at any point, just give it a little splash of the vegetable stock.

Now add the tomato paste and vegetable stock, stirring well to incorporate everything. After about 5 minutes add the chickpeas and stir them in. Give it a taste, adjust the seasoning to your liking, and continue cooking on medium/high for about 5 minutes.  Test a carrot, if it seems cooked through, you are done! If you want a bit milder tasting stew, you can continue cooking for an additional 10 minutes on medium/low, which will allow all the really striking flavors-like olive and date and onion- to meld together. I personally like the flavor explosion sensation of cooking everything just enough to maintain their individuality.

Serve over a heaping pile of couscous or just in a bowl as is. Garnish with the toasted almond slivers, olive slivers, and chopped parsley, maybe some black pepper. Dig in!

 

 

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