After making a few heavy dishes this past week (meatballs, stroganoff, chorizo breakfast bowls), I was really craving something lighter and full of veggies (but still really hearty and satisfying, of course). After browsing the web, I decided on a vegetarian lentil stew. I began with this recipe for Spicy Red Lentil and Tomato Soup and tweaked it to my liking. As it turns out, this tomato based soupy stew is exactly what I was craving! Even better yet, it was incredibly easy so it could easily be a weeknight dinner. Be warned, this recipe is huge, yielding a whopping 18 cups so I think next time Ill definitely half the recipe. This time the rest will just end up in the freezer!
Mexican Lentil Stew
- 2 cups dry red lentils $1.65
- 2 Tbsp olive oil $0.21
- 1 medium onion $0.30
- 3 stalks celery $0.45
- 4 cloves garlic $0.24
- two 14.5 oz. cans fire roasted diced tomatoes $2.34
- 4 cups vegetable broth $2.72
- 14 tsp each turmeric and cumin $0.10
- 1 tsp each chili powder $0.05
- 10-15 dashes hot sauce $0.15
- 1 medium lime $0.33
- 1 bunch cilantro $0.69
- In a medium pot, bring the 2 cups of lentils and 4 cups of water to a boil. Once it reaches a boil, turn off the heat and let sit with a lid on for about 20 minutes.
- While the lentils are cooking, begin the stew. Finely dice the onions and cook over medium heat in 2 Tbsp of olive oil. While the onions begin to cook, finely dice the garlic and add to the pot. While the onions and garlic cook, finely chop the celery and then add to the pot.
- Cook the onions, garlic and celery until they are soft but not brown. Add the cans of diced tomatoes, vegetable broth, turmeric, cumin, chili powder and the hot sauce. Continue to cook over medium heat until hot.
- At this point, the lentils should have absorbed the water and become soft. Add the lentils and any remaining water to the soup mixture. Stir well and slightly mash using the back of your spoon.
- Once the entire mixture is hot, add a handful of chopped cilantro and taste test to see if you want any more heat (hot sauce) or salt and pepper.
- You can either add the juice of lime to the pot or serve the bowls of stew with a wedge of lime. I like the wedge of lime because it makes for a pretty presentation and that way people can choose whether or not they want it.
Fire roasted tomatoes make a big difference in the flavor, so get them if you can find them.
STEP 4: Add the cooked lentils and any remaining water to the soup mixture. Stir well and slightly mash using the back of your spoon.
STEP 5: Once the entire mixture is hot, add a handful of chopped cilantro and taste test to see if you want any more heat (hot sauce) or salt and pepper.
STEP 6: You can either add the juice of lime to the pot or serve the bowls of stew with a wedge of lime. I like the wedge of lime because it makes for a pretty presentation and that way people can choose whether or not they want it.
NOTE: It wasnt until after I got home that I noticed I had bought organic vegetable broth which was probably considerably more expensive than regular. Also, if you cant find the fire roasted tomatoes, dont fret. They are great and have a wonderful smokey flavor but regular will do great as well (and be about 20 cents less per can).
I had some extra tortilla chips left over from a party (you know how I like to use up leftovers) and they were great dipped in this stew. You could also add a dollop of sour cream or a sprinkle of shredded cheddar cheese. If you have some frozen corn kernels they would also taste great in this stew. Basically, anything that goes well with chili will also taste great with this stew! Its delicious!!