Tag Archives: Lentil

Meatless Monday: Moroccan Lentil Stew (Crock Pot)

Since I fairly recently made the “Recipes” page of this blog, I had an opportunity to review what we’ve eaten for the last few months.  I was pleasantly surprised to see how many vegetarian dishes I’ve made–looks like my Meatless Mondays paid off!  I believe that we are now officially out of the “forcing myself to do it” and into the “habit/lifestyle” phase.  Even Fritz doesn’t find it unusual to be eating meatless for a few days in a row (minus his lunchtime pastrami sandwiches, of course).  One of my friends posted a “top 30 health foods” list in her blog recently, and I was pleased to see that Fritz and I eat all of them, minus a few–like chard (ew)–on a regular basis.

So one benefit of food blogging–it’s like an intensive, long-term food diary.  Perfect for a little early-March life assessment.

Here’s a recipe for a sassy Moroccan-style vegetarian stew I made in the Crock Pot for tonight.  Set it up before work/school, turn it on low, and come home to a warm bowl of spicy lentils, beans, and vegetables.  Does it get better than that?

(Although I must say that the site I found the recipe inspiration on is written by a woman who apparently ate Crock Pot meals for an entire year.  Um…no.  I like to vary the texture of my meals, thank you very much.  Once a week, tops, is enough for me).

Moroccan Lentil Stew (adapted from this recipe)

  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1/2 C carrot, diced
  • 1″ piece ginger,peeled and minced (I used a bit more–I love ginger!)
  • 1 can garbanzo beans, rinsed (or 2/3 C dried beans, which soaked overnight will equal about a 15 oz can)
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed (2/3 C dried beans, soaked overnight)
  • 1 C dried lentils (I used red lentils)
  • 1 15-oz can diced tomatoes
  • 3 C veggie broth, plus an extra 2 C water (more if you used dried beans)
  • 1 1/2 t garam masala (recipe coming soon!)
  • 1/2 t cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 t cumin
  • 1/2 t nutmeg
  • 1/4 t cinnamon

Set the stage–plug your Crock Pot in.

Done.

Basically, dump all the ingredients into the pot, turn it on low, and go do what you want for a few hours (7, if you had my schedule). 

The more glamorous version is this: chop the veggies first (onion, carrots, and mince the ginger, too), toss those in.  Add the beans and lentils.  Top with spices.  Pour in the can of diced tomatoes and the broth.  Give it a quick stir.  If you used dried beans that soaked overnight, add a few extra cups of water.  Actually, even if you used regular beans, you might want to add some extra water.  Those lentils will suck it right up–but you can always add more when you get home (I did that, too).

The step you didn’t see?  I actually made the garam masala–I’ll show you how to do that in my next post.  Easy, and it smells so good. 

Like I said, cook on low for 6-8 hours, then serve.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

That’s the antique version of Moroccan stew.  Here’s the regular:

Doesn’t that look heavenly?  This stew is nice and thick because the lentils break down as they cook and basically puree themselves (thank you lentils!). This stew also has a sweeter and warmer taste than most stews I make–I think that’s due to the generous amount of nutmeg and cinnamon.  I loved it.  Not overpowering, but definitely distinct.

Want to know the secret to all these patterned backgrounds?  I swore to myself that I would never tell, but I’ll betray my own confidence because it’s such and easy and cheap way to have fun food pictures when you don’t feel like making an elaborate set-up.  I just thought you would like to know.

I bought a humongous book of scrapbooking papers from Joann’s Fabrics at 50% off for $9.00.  There are a couple hundred square sheets of fabulous patterns–I just choose one, rip it out, toss on the table for pictures, and then stick it back in the book for another time.  I literally stumbled across the idea while I was looking for fabric to make pillow covers for the couch.

I love those cheap and easy inspirations, don’t you?

What’s one of the ways that you use everyday items for unusual and creative purposes?

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Filed under Soups/Stews, Vegetarian

Sweet Potato Curry

My youngest sister (the baby!) got her permit today!

She can drive–supervised–but my little baby J can drive!

Also, she got a 100 on the test.

I’m so proud of my Bleach-obsessed-black-lipstick-wearing-Smallville-watching-Asian-food-gourmet-chef-tiger-tee-shirt-artistic-hand-massage-fiending-driving-big-hearted-little-sister.

I can also tell you that Henry is proud.  That cat is obsessed with that girl.  But I digress! 

On a food blog related note, I made a sweet potato curry as a starchy side dish for dinner the other night.  I always make at least three times what we can eat in one sitting, so that we can pack warm, hearty food for our lunches the next day.  Something about a hot meal is so much more satisfying than a sandwich during a long day of classes–and this is coming from a girl who loves herself some PB&J.

 

This curry has a subtle underlying heat from the vindaloo paste that isn’t even noticeable at first, but incredibly appreciable once you detect it.

Sweet Potato Curry (adapted from 100 Best Health Foods)

  • 1 t canola oil
  • 2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 3-4 small potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 C chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1/2 C lentils
  • 1 T curry paste–maybe less if you are using vindaloo because it is HOT!  Use a mild curry paste if you want a little less heat!

Boil the white potatoes in a saucepan until tender.  Meanwhile, sauté the onion in the canola oil over medium heat until translucent.  Add the sweet potato and cook for about five minutes, when the sweet potatoes are beginning to soften.

Add the potatoes, curry paste, lentils and broth to the sweet potato mixture.  Cover and cook until the lentils are tender, about 20 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

I loved how the sweetness of the sweet potatoes really came through.  If I had some ginger at the time, I would have added that in there too–mmm.  Hearty and healthy.

Tomorrow is destined to be a great day because I have the morning and the evening off from my normal routines–so much free time!  And I deep cleaned the house today when one of my classes was canceled, and there are two bananas rapidly browning (I think we are well past the “freckled” stage) just begging to be baked into something delicious.  So yeah, that’ll be a good day.

I’ll leave you with a photo shoot Henry and I had today.  He was snuggled right up to those speakers and apparently in love with the motivational cleaning music that was playing.

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Filed under Side Dishes, Vegetarian

Lentil Vegetable Barley Soup (Crock pot)

Hello all!

Last semester I loved Tuesdays, and this time it’s Wednesdays.  I just love having late mornings–I can sleep in (’til eight), catch up on our budgeting, clean, and still have time to set up dinner in the crock pot before I have class.  Now that is just amazing.

So here’s the latest and greatest from that lovely little invention known to we mortals as a slow cooker:

Lentil Vegetable and Barley Soup

  • 1/2 large onion or one small onion, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 2 medium summer squash (or zucchini), halved lengthwise and sliced thinly
  • 1 C carrots, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 C red lentils
  • 1/2 C yellow split peas
  • 1/2 C barley
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 3 C vegetable broth (or chicken or beef), plus ~2 C extra water
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1/2 t sugar
  • 1/4 t black pepper
  • fresh or dried basil to top (optional)

As with all crock pot recipes, this is a breeze to put together.  Dice and layer all the veggies, and top with the grains, liquids and the spices (except the basil).  The order I used was: onions and bell peppers, squash and carrots, lentils, peas, and barley, diced tomatoes and broth, salt, pepper, sugar, and finally the extra water.

Aren’t the colors of this soup just gorgeous?  I was lucky and actually got to take pictures in daylight for once (another great thing about late mornings).

Set the crock pot on low for eight hours or on high for four hours.  The lentils, peas, and barley will absorb a lot of water, so you may need to add even more extra (unless you like a nice thick soup like I do–then you will be very pleased when you arrive home from class!).

Top with a sprinkle of basil and some pepper and enjoy!

Before I’m off to bed, I thought I’d share one last thing with you.  It’s a favorite of mine–I have some every day (often two or three times), and it calms me while awakening me at the same time.  It’s warm, it’s comforting, it’s a blast in a glass.

Any guesses?

Nope, not Deena from J-Shore (is it cool that I abbreviated that?).  It’s tea.  The best tea I have even been given the privilege to steep.  I’m nearing the end of the tin and every day I die a little more inside knowing that I’m one day closer to running out (melodramatic, much?).  It was a gift–a great one.

I would like to thank a certain South African for allowing this beautiful marriage between me and Zululand to happen–you know who you are.

Thanks!

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Filed under Soups/Stews, Vegetarian