Looking for a healthy warming winter dish? This vegetarian lentil stew will spice up your cold evening and satisfy a hungry man.
As autumn turns to winter in the northern hemisphere November is a time when stews, crock pots and soups take over from the salads of summer. Here on the island the days are still reaching 20C in the sun but the nights are definitely getting cooler. People have started lighting fires in the evening and everyone is getting ready for the much cooler months of January and February.
We both love warming stews on a cold day and I’m always looking for different ones to try. On Sunday’s I plan our meals for the week and decided to cook up some lentils while looking for inspiration on the web I came across this recipe for vegan lentil sloppy Joes which had the spice kick I was looking for.
Spice is something I often to add to our food and the combination of Sriracha sauce, chilli and balsamic works really well. It was made on the stove on Sunday morning, transferred to a casserole dish and when cool stored it in the fridge until Monday evening. Some foods like stews and curries always seem to taste better the next day. Maybe that’s because the cook hasn’t had to cook that day?
Served with warm garlic pitta bread this was a delicious, warming a filling meal. There was even a little left over for another day.
Monday was also an important day in the Greek Orthodox calendar. A celebration of the Virgin Mary and a day when traditionally women cook up legumes you can find out more about it here.
If you’re not sure about lentils… They are said to be one the world’s healthiest foods with claims that they do everything from reducing cholesterol, helping manage blood sugar to being a great source of fibre, vitamins and protein.
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 small red onions finely chopped
- 1 hot red chilli deseeded and finely chopped
- 2 sticks of celery finely chopped or a handful of celery tops
- 2 carrots chopped into small chunks
- 4 large tomatoes finely chopped
- 3 cups of vegetable stock
- 1 tbsp Sriracha sauce
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 bunch of beetroot tops or wild greens or spinach
- 1 cup of brown lentils washed
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1 handful fresh coriander (cilantro) finely chopped
- Heat the olive oil in a large skillet on a medium heat. Add the chopped onion, celery and carrots and cook, stirring occasionally for about 5 minutes, until they begin to soften.
- Add the tomatoes and continue to cook for another 5-10 minutes until the tomatoes start to break down and create a sauce.
- Next add the stock, lentils and spices cover with a lid and allow to simmer for an hour. Check occasionally and add a little more water if you think it’s getting too dry.
- Stir in the balsamic and salt and greens cook for a further 5 minutes until the greens have wilted. (At this point you can store the stew until your ready to eat it)
- When you’re ready to eat, heat up your stew, season to taste and served with a sprinkle of chopped coriander.
We find a wide choice of greens on the island and our beets always come with the tops still attached. They taste a little spinach like and can be substituted with any wild greens or spinach.
Here it’s often difficult to get good fresh celery sticks but celery tops are often on sale. Coriander or cilantro are a rare find on the island, I picked some up last week at the main market in Rhodes town. We’ve attempted to grow it though not very successfully. You could substitute it with fresh parsley, tarragon, dill or a combination of all three.
You could add any number of extra or different vegetables into this dish, I simply used what was in the house on Sunday.
Do you have a favourite winter stew? If you enjoyed this recipe and found it useful please comment and share. Thank you.