We love lentils here at the retreat, as they are a fabulous source of vegan protein and slow-release energy. Our vegan lentil stew recipe is hearty, packed with nutrition and really simple to make. This month we are focusing on detox – letting go. Read on to find out why you should include lentils in your diet on a regular basis, to support your body in cleansing and letting go.
Health benefits of lentils
Lentils are known as a pulse, part of the legume family. They are high in fibre and protein and nutrient-dense, being a particularly good source of folate, magnesium and iron. Lentils are a complex carbohydrate, which means they are a good source for stable energy release (minimizes highs and lows in energy), so you can keep going for longer. Eaten regularly, they are low in cholesterol so can help to maintain a healthy level of cholesterol (together with other dietary modifications and a healthy lifestyle).
Research has shown that eating lentils is associated with good heart health (great for your cardiovascular system). They are said to support your bone health. As lentils are high in soluble fibre, they are good for your digestive system, helping to rid your body of waste products and toxins. Lentils also contribute to stable blood sugar levels, so they are a good food to include in your diet if you are diabetic.
Cooking tip: One of the great benefits of lentils is that they absorb the flavours of the food that they are cooked with. That’s why in this recipe we cook the lentils with the onion and bay leaves to give them extra taste.
Time saving tip: If you are short on time, instead of using dried lentils, use the precooked variety; they are usually available in tins or jars. Looking at the recipe, you would start by cooking the onions, then add the leeks, carrots etc. Make sure you give the lentils a good rinse before adding them into the stew at the same time as the chopped tomatoes.
Vegan lentil stew recipe
Calories: 755 (94 per serving)
Allergens: none in ingredients list
1 small red onion, finely chopped
2 cups brown lentils, rinsed well
3 cups cold water
2 bay leaves
2 leeks, cut into rounds
2 carrots, finely diced
4 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp dried oregano
2 tsp paprika
1 large tin chopped tomatoes
1 small amount tomato passata or tomato concentrate
Zest of one lemon
Handful fresh basil, chopped
Large handful fresh parsley, chopped
Sautee the onions on a medium flame until they become soft. Add the dried lentils and bay leaves, cover with water and bring to the boil. Cook the lentils according to packet instructions. Add more water if needed. Drain, reserving the water.
Meanwhile cook the leeks and carrots with the lemon juice, dried oregano and paprika in a large pan for 10-15 minutes. Add the chopped tomatoes, passata (or tomato concentrate) and lemon zest, bring to the boil. Turn down the heat and cook for 15 minutes – the tomatoes should start to thicken.
Add the cooked lentils into the pan with the tomato-leek mixture. Bring back to the boil, then turn down the heat and cook the stew for a further 15 minutes. Add some of the reserved lentil cooking water (or hot water) if the sauce is too thick. The lentils might start to break down, that’s ok. Add corn flour if needed to thicken.
Before serving stir in the fresh basil and parsley and remove the bay leaves.
Serving suggestion: Serve with some mashed sweet potato for the ultimate comfort dish. This vegan lentil stew is also great to accompany millet (like our millet burgers) or even a simple bowl of wholegrain rice (maybe with some broccoli thrown in for colour and texture!).
Need inspiration? Try our other lentil recipes
If you are looking for inspiration for lentil dishes to cook then you might like some of the other recipes that we have published on our health and wellbeing blog:
• Try this plant-based alternative to the perennial family favourite, lentil bolognaise.
• One of our popular dishes, lentil sausages are great for lunch or dinner.
• Another winter warmer and family favourite is our tasty lentil shepherds pie with sweet potato and parsnip mash.
• Try our Lebanese lentil salad, for a light, fresh alternative lentil dish.
Plant-based vegan food at La Crisalida health and wellbeing retreat
All the food served at La Crisalida Retreats is plant-based, meaning that we use lots of pulses, legumes, vegetables, fruit, nuts and seeds. Eating this way at the retreat can provide your body with lots of nutrients, supporting your body as it cleanses and re-balances, meaning that you can feel better from the inside out. Click on this link to read more about the plant-based food served at La Crisalida Retreats.
Introducing some plant-based food into your meals at home can also give your body and health a boost. There are lots more vegan recipes for you to try on our health and wellbeing blog.
I hope you enjoy this recipe. Do let me know how you get on by commenting or sharing.
About the author
- Lisa is one of the founders of La Crisalida Retreats. She is an Epidemiologist, therapeutic hatha and yin yoga teacher and also teaches mindfulness meditation. Lisa has studied NLP and hypnosis, as well as nutrition (she designs the menus).