This is a Variation on a Root Formula, a simplified recipe that shows which ingredients
are core and which can be changed to create different flavor combinations or use what you
have on hand. See our other Lentil Stew variations at the bottom of the Root Formula page.
As the cool weather sets in, many in our community had asked us for more lentil recipes. With winter here we decided it was finally time to develop a lentil stew recipe.
In our work with Lentil-Walnut Mix, we knew that you could cook up lentils much quicker using this simple trick. First, soak a pound of lentils into salted water for four hours (or up to twenty-hours). Then, the rehydrated legumes will cook in a mere cup of water in three to four minutes. With that knowledge, we set out to develop a stew formula that started with cooked lentils, making it possible to make stew from scratch on a busy weeknight in about twenty minutes.
In our lentil stew research, we noticed that many lentil stew recipes—regardless of origin—called for similar ingredients. They all had onions, celery, carrots, garlic, broth, tomatoes. Only the spices changed, which made it easy for us to develop a Capsule Kitchen Formula.
Capsule Kitchen Lentil Stew
Finally, in thinking about lentil stew from a Capsule Kitchen perspective, we developed a Formula that calls for Capsule elements—Soak and Cook Lentils and Vegetable Tomato Sauce. That way, if you make these two Capsule Kitchen components, you’ve got dinner sorted for the week. By making these two elements, you’ll have enough lentils to make two completely different stews. And to make those two lentil stews, you’ll only use one quart of tomato sauce. You’ll have enough leftover sauce to make three very different meals throughout the week. Choose among Creamy Homemade Tomato Soup, Quick Bean and Corn Vegetarian Chili, Pasta e Fagioli, or Coconut Curry with Chickpeas and Spinach, all of which come together very quickly because the tomato base has already simmered.
If you already happen to have a quart of Garlicky Tomato Sauce made, you can omit the garlic from the following recipes. Then simply sauté a diced small onion, celery stalk, and carrot with the spices before adding the tomato sauce, lentils and broth to the pot.
Creamy Lentil Stew with Italian Seasonings
- 1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 teaspoons Italian seasonings
- 1 teaspoon ground fennel or chopped seeds
- 12 ounces cauliflower florets, cut or broken into small florets
- 2 cups vegetable or chicken broth your choice
- 2 cups Vegetable Tomato Sauce from A Vat of Tomato Sauce
- 1/2 recipe Soak and Cook Lentils, scant 3 cups, cooked
- 1 cup coconut milk
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- Salt and ground black pepper
- Heat oil in a soup kettle over low heat while mincing garlic and measuring spices. When ready to cook, increase heat to medium-high and add garlic, Italian seasonings, and fennel; cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, a minute or so. Stir in cauliflower to coat. Add broth, tomato sauce, and lentils; bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, until cauliflower is tender and liquid has reduced to stew consistency, 10 to 15 minutes. Stir in coconut milk and return to a simmer. Stir in parsley and balsamic vinegar. Taste and adjust seasonings, including salt and pepper, and adding extra water or broth if you prefer a juicier stew. Serve.