Lentils are a typical dish I always ask for when I visit my mom. She literally makes the best kind. Hearty and so packed with flavor. I consider her a flavor master. Growing up with the way she’s flavored food has inspired me in more ways than one. That’s why you’ll typically see an array of spices in my dishes. Essentially, further homage to my mother and what she’s taught me about good flavored food. This hearty Spiced Lentil Stew is an easy and super flavorful dinner loaded with protein-packed lentils. It’s me paying more homage to my mom and what she’s taught me about food. It also happens to be easy to meal prep and freeze!
Let’s start by learning a little bit about lentils, especially since there are 2 kinds in this dish.
Types of Lentils
Lentils come in a ton of different shapes and sizes. The common thing about them is that they all cook quick and don’t require soaking, which means more time saved in the kitchen. Here are some different varieties of the most common lentils you’ll find, with some fun facts about them.
- Green Lentils: The most common variety you will see in store. Nice and tender. Great as a stew or soup base or as a great salad topper.
- Red Lentils: Love to use these to thicken stews. The longer they cook, the more they “melt” into the stew.
- French Lentils: Petite lentils that have more of a bite to them. Of lentils, they tend to hold their shape the best with cooking.
- Black Lentils: Small and dark in color. Another lentil that holds it’s shape well to cooking and can be added to salads or grain bowls as a hearty protein source.
For a tiny legume, they also are very nutrient dense. And most often if you are pairing them with other vegetables and grains, you will get even more complimentary nutrients.
Key Nutrients from Just the Lentils in this Spiced Lentil Stew
- Iron (TIP: The addition of bell pepper to this provides Vitamin C. This vitamin helps to better absorb iron!)
Between the flavor, the nutrients and the fullness, I’m always drawn to this dish and it never disappoints. Note that this dish is also perfect to freeze. So, if you make a big batch like I like to do, you can freeze individual portions to use for easy go to meals throughout the week.
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This hearty Spiced Lentil Stew is an easy and super flavorful dinner loaded with protein-packed lentils. Easy to meal prep and freeze!
- 1/2 cup dry red lentils, rinsed well
- 1 cup dry green lentils, rinsed well
- 1 green bell pepper, diced
- 1 stalk celery, chopped
- 1/2 medium onion, diced
- 1 15oz can crushed tomatoes
- 2 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp ground ginger or 1 inch fresh ginger
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tsp dried basil
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- 2 tsp sazón
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 tsp sugar
- 1 small sweet potato, diced
- 3 cups low sodium vegetable broth
- In a large sauce pan, add in celery and onions and sauté until onions are softened.
- Add in green bell pepper, sweet potato, garlic and ginger then saute for 1 minute.
- Add in paprika, ginger, basil, cinnamon and sazón and saute an additional minute to allow the spices to become fragrant.
- Add in lentils and crushed tomatoes. Stir together well then add in the vegetable broth.
- Bring mixture to a boil and add bay leaf. Return the mixture to a simmer and cover with a lid.
- Allow to cook for 25-30 minutes or until lentils are tender, cooked through and thickened.
- Remove from heat and stir before serving.
- A majority of the ingredients are coming from a host of different spices. I like to just measure these out in a bowl before I get started with this recipe. Literally, just have to dump in and you’re good to go.
- If you’d like to cook this dish in the instantpot, I would suggest setting the instantpot to saute mode, and following the steps similarly until the point where you add the vegetable broth. Once you add the vegetable broth, lock the lid, seal properly and set the pressure cooker to manual for 15 minutes. Allow to release pressure naturally. Stir than serve.
- The sugar is optional, but it helps to cut down on the acidity coming from the tomatoes.
- You can enjoy the lentils on their own or paired with brown rice.
Keywords: basil, bay leaf, bell pepper, brown sugar, celery, cinnamon, garlic, ginger, lentils, onion, red lentils, sazon, smoked paprika, sweet potato, tomatoes, vegetable broth
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