No-Fuss Lentil & Vegetable Stew
Makes 3-4 Hearty Servings
1 cup uncooked lentils, green or brown
1 jar (25 oz) organic, sugar-free tomato sauce (such as Engine 2 Tomato-Basil) OR 1 Lg can (28 oz) crushed or diced tomatoes
2 cups chopped mixed vegetables* OR 1 package (10 oz-16 oz) frozen mixed vegetables, any variety (or combo of fresh + frozen). *Consider: carrots, celery, mushrooms, peas, “Chinese style” frozen veg medley, "California style" frozen veg medley, red pepper, green beans, garlic, onion, etc.
1 delicata squash, seeded and chopped (alternately use butternut squash or sweet potato, about 1.5 to 2 cups, chunky dice)
1 tsp cumin powder
2 cups water
Optional Heat: 1 tsp crushed red chili, or ½ tsp cayenne pepper, or 1 small Thai red chili.
Optional Salt: ½ to 1 tsp sea salt, Herbamare or Nom Nom Paleo Magic Mushroom Powder
Greens (per serving, after stew is cooked): 2 cups baby spinach or other chopped leafy greens, and/or a generous handful of fresh chopped herbs (cilantro, green onions, parsley, chives or dill)
STEP 1: Soak lentils overnight in 4 cups water. In the morning, pour off soak water and rinse lentils by covering again with fresh water and pouring the water off. Repeat 3 times until water runs clear. I use a large stainless steel mesh strainer to pour off through.
STEP 2: Add rinsed soaked lentils and all other ingredients except greens to a pot or slow cooker. (Greens will be added to individual portions after cooking is complete.)
STEP 3: Bring pot to a boil, then simmer 1 hour or a bit longer. If using a slow cooker, cook on low for 8-10 hours. When cooking is done, taste and adjust seasonings as desired.
STEP 3: Add chopped greens to individual serving dishes and pour hot stew on top, or stir greens into cooked stew and simmer for 2-3 minutes to wilt. Also may use green herbs as a garnish on top of bowl.
Leftovers Serving Suggestion: This recipe makes several hearty (2-cup) servings. If you have leftovers, enliven the base with the addition of fresh or frozen vegetables when reheating. You can toss in a handful or two of bite-size frozen veggies, or add in any leftover veggies you may have in the fridge, or use something fresh and quick (think grated carrot, grated/chopped zucchini, baby spinach, Swiss chard or broccolini). And then, sprinkle a handful of fresh green herbs on top (minced cilantro and chives are my go-tos). Try this add-in method with any leftover soups/stews you eat, as well as all your canned soups. They taste so much better and really improve—both nutritionally and energetically—when freshened up with fresh, new colorful vegetables and herbs.