The first time I tried this recipe was thanksgiving weekend of last year when I went home to see the family, and my mother made this for dinner. It had grown chilly outside, what with the leaves turning colours and the sun setting early, and we were all wearing sweaters (well, I was anyway) at the dinner table. It had been a long ride home on the greyhound bus, leaving behind the city highrise apartment complexes and streets lined with bus stop signs in favour of a smaller town where the only sounds at night are the crickets chirping and the neighbours’ dog barking.
My mother and I discussed the health benefits of quinoa (did you know it’s a source of complete protein? and high in calcium!) across the dining room table while the crabapple tree out front dropped its tiny tart apples to the ground. My father and my then-boyfriend both ignored the conversation entirely and quickly ate this warm, hearty stew filled with soft lentils, spicy tomatoes and crunchy celery. There was a basket of fresh bread and a container of margarine in the center of the dinner table for soaking up the stew juices left at the bottom of the bowl, and there was an opened bottle of wine.
If this isn’t comfort food, then I don’t know what is.
I liked it so much that my mother photocopied the recipe from her Best Health Magazine so I could make it for myself when I went back to my apartment in Ottawa. She altered it by adding extra quinoa. Any kind of quinoa works, but the red and black varieties add more visual appeal to the dish than golden quinoa does . I cut the original amount of black pepper in half, though you can add up to two teaspoons (or more) if it suits your taste. This goes well with salad and fresh bread for dinner, or you can eat it all on its own for lunch.
LENTIL, QUINOA AND VEGETABLE STEW
- 1 1/2 cups dried lentils (french Dupuy or green lentils are both good choices)
- 1/2 cup quinoa, uncooked
- 1 795-mL can diced tomatoes, no salt added
- 1 cup carrots, diced
- 1 cup celery, diced
- 1/2 medium onion, diced
- 3-5 cloves fresh garlic, minced
- 1 tsp black pepper, or more to taste
- 1 tsp dried thyme or a handful of fresh thyme
- 4 cups of vegetable broth
- 1 cup of water
- salt to taste
Directions (stove top method)
Place the lentils and quinoa in a strainer and rinse under cold water.
Sauté the onions in some olive oil (about 1 tsp) until soft. Add the remaining ingredients, bring to a boil, then simmer until the lentils are tender (about 30 minutes).
Directions (slow cooker method)
Rinse the lentils and quinoa as you would for the stove pot method.
Add lentils, quinoa and all other ingredients into a four-quart (or larger) slow cooker. Stir well. Cover with lid and cook on low for 8-10 hours or on high for 4-5 hours.
This makes about six servings. I like to make a big batch on the weekend and bring some with me for my work lunch all week long. It makes packing my lunch in the morning so much easier!
That’s all for today. Thanks for stopping by!