Easy Weeknight Lentil Stew

October 1st, 2018

It's finally fall, and I just cannot get enough of these crisp, beautifully warm days that fade gently into sweatshirt weather in the evenings. On days like this, I want to come home and fill myself up with something warm, hearty, and delicious, and this particular version of whatever-we-got-from-the-market lentil stew was easily one of the most delicious I've ever made, even if it wasn't the most beautiful. 

I like to cook more by whole ingredients than to a recipe, and this easy, seasonal lentil stew is a perfect example of mix-and-match cooking at its best. What you're seeing here is actually a bowl of leftover stew I had for lunch several days later, because I completely forgot to photograph the original! Not that it mattered, it's even better warmed up than it was right out of the pot because the flavors have more time to meld in the refrigerator. Bonus? It made plenty of leftovers, so we have easy lunches ready to go for busy work days. 

Though you'll definitely find me taking on more complex recipes now and then, most of the time I'm all about the one pot meal: chop everything once, throw it in, and then clean up while it cooks. After dinner you only have one pot to deal with, and then you're done! As busy professionals who love to eat AND side hustle, we're not trying to spend all of our precious time in the evenings cleaning up the kitchen after an epic gourmet meal. Save that for date night! 

All you need for this epic-but-easy one-pot stunner are some good fresh ingredients, the right mix of spices, and some solid pantry stand-bys. The best part? You never have to make it the same way twice -- mix it up with whatever YOU have on hand right now. 

Here's what I used:

For the protein base...

1 c red lentils, rinsed
1 c hard red winter wheat berries, rinsed
6 cups of water (2 for the lentils, 2 for the wheat berries, 2 for the pot. You could add more if you want, but this will make it thicker like a stew)

For the vegetables...

1 red onion
4 large cloves of garlic
1 japanese sweet potato
1 c oyster mushrooms
1 red pepper
1/2 bunch turnip greens, chopped
1/2 bunch lacinato kale, chopped

For the spice...

1 tsp mustard seed
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp coriander
1/4 tsp cinnamon
salt and pepper (~1/4 tsp each for me)

  1. Chop up your onions and garlic first. In a large soup pot, melt some coconut oil (or oil of your choice) and start sauteing your onions and garlic over medium heat.
  2. While these are going, chop your sweet potato and throw it in as soon as it's ready. Smaller chunks = shorter cook time. 
  3. Add the spices, and give it a good stir to make sure everything is coated. 
  4. Add everything else but the greens, bring to a boil, and then cover and turn down to a simmer for about 20 minutes or until the lentils and wheat berries/grains are soft. As long as you kept your sweet potatoes small, they should be done at this point too -- check. 
  5. Once all the hard stuff is soft, add your chopped greens. I like to just throw these on top and cover the pot to steam them for a few minutes before I stir them in to keep the greens green, after which I turn off the heat and serve. You could also go ahead and stir them in and let it all cook together to better incorporate the flavors, but the tradeoff is they lose their color. Up to you! 
  6. At this point, its ready to serve! You could keep simmering (again, longer simmer = more flavor), but if you're like me and you just want to eat it already, go for it. I like to drizzle with a bit of olive oil, and this time I also sprinkled on a bit of this vegan almond parmesan I made the other day (check out The Simple Veganista for more awesome vegan recipes!) SO GOOD. 
If you try this yourself or come up with your own variation, I'd love to see it! Tag @the.architects.kitchen on Instagram and let me know what you come up with! 

For the love of plants,
The AK


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