The Best Vegetarian Lentil Stew

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Lentil Stew: What I've Learned So Far

Soup is tricky. In fact, this recipe was originally for soup but it turned into lentil stew instead. Which, honestly, is fine, but if you make soup with an ingredient that likes to soak up liquid (think pasta, rice, barley - pretty much any grain), just be ready to have stew. Even if it's soup the first time you eat it, after it sits in the 'fridge for a couple of days it might be stew. For this recipe, if you want more of a soup you can add additional liquid or not drain the tomatoes.

Lentil Stew ingredients from recipe by Vegetarian Atlas.
The biggest reason soup is tricky is the broth, or stock. Most soups use a chicken or beef stock, which of course by definition is not vegetarian. Homemade vegetable stock is often pretty bland (I've heard the secret is a lot of celery but even then, I've ended up with weak stock). Commercial vegetable stock generally has more flavors, but also more chemicals and ingredients you don't want to eat. Be cautious in restaurants - vegetable soup often uses a meat-based stock, so unless you're confident the restaurant really understands what "vegetarian" means, you might want to steer clear.
This smelled really amazing while it was cooking and when I dished it out, and like most soups/stews it got better after a few days went by and the flavors had a chance to marry. I found it best when it had a little something on top - like sour cream, feta or parmesan cheese, or even scooped up with tortilla chips or crackers.

The Ingredients and Recipe

You'll Need:

• 2 Tbl butter

• 3 cloves garlic, minced

• 2 shallots, sliced

• 3 stalks celery, chopped

• 2 large carrots, finely chopped

• 2 Russet potatoes, peeled and chopped into 1/2 inch cubes

• 2 tsp flour

• 1 C water

• 4 C vegetable broth

• 2 14.5 (or 15) oz. cans diced tomatoes

• 2 C French green lentils

• 1 tsp ground cumin

• 1 tsp dried oregano

• 1/4 tsp salt

• 1/4 tsp white pepper

• 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes

• 2 bay leaves

• 1 Tbl Dijon mustard

Do This:

1. Heat the butter in a large pot over medium-low heat. Stir I the garlic and cook for 30 seconds, and then add the shallots and cook 2 to 3 minutes.

2. Add the celery, carrots and potatoes, and cook for about 10 minutes.

3. Whisk the flour into the water until fully dissolved. Add all ingredients except the Dijon mustard to the pot and mix well.

4. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 45 minutes.

5. Remove bay leaves, and then stir in the Dijon mustard.

Lentil Stew Notes

  • Some people peel their carrots, but I like to leave the skin on for all the vitamins. Just give them a really good scrubbing, and you won't need to peel.
  • There's some good commercial stock out there if you want to substitute that for the water and see how it turns out.
  • If you want this to be "soupier," avoid adding plain water as it will literally "water down" your stock and make the finished product bland.
  • Lentil Stew recipe by Vegetarian Atlas.

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