I’ve been making this Indian-style lentil stew for clients recently, and it’s seriously amazing. Even though it’s dairy- and gluten-free, it’s uber flavorful and super easy to make. I also love how secretly healthy this stew is. Flavorful spices and creamy coconut milk give this stew richness and depth, but because it’s packed with fresh veggies, healing spices & fiber-packed lentils, it’s also guilt-free and nourishing.
I also love this recipe because it holds up in the fridge, for easy reheating/eating all week. Serve with a cooked whole grain plus some baby greens and you’ve got a plant-based meal that appeals to mind, body, soul and, most importantly, tastebuds!
Lentils, one of my fave ingredients to cook with, are full of soluble fiber, protein and iron. Iron is super important to our health for a variety of reasons, including energy production, brain function and a strong immune system. Additionally, they are low in calories with very little fat, and although I never count calories or fat, this fact makes them great for maintaining a healthy weight.
Ginger is known for it’s strong medicinal properties. It fights nausea, aids in digestion, lowers cholesterol and regulates blood sugar.
Indian Masala Lentil Stew
Serves: 4-5 Start to Finish: 1 hour Active Time: 20 minutes
[ vegan | vegetarian | gluten-free | plant-based ]
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 large yellow onion, diced
1 red bell pepper, ribs and seeds removed, diced
1 medium jalapeño, minced (approx. 1 heaping tablespoon, remove seeds & ribs to reduce heat level)
1 2-3″ piece fresh ginger, peeled and minced (approx. 2 tablespoons)
sea salt, fine grain
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon garam masala (Indian spice blend)
1 teaspoon coriander
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup green or brown lentils
2+ cups vegetable stock (low-sodium, organic variety preferred)
1 28-oz can fire roasted crushed or diced tomatoes
1 cup coconut milk (full-fat)
1/2 cup loosely packed cilantro leaves, plus more for garnish, finely chopped or blended (see notes)
juice of 1/2 lime, plus more lime wedges for serving
cooked grain of choice, optional, for serving (I love quinoa with this dish!)
baby greens of choice, optional, for serving
Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onion, bell pepper, jalapeño, ginger and 1 teaspoon salt. Sauté for 5-6 minutes. If anything sticks to the pan and begins to burn, add a splash of water.
Add garlic, garam masala, coriander, turmeric and cinnamon. Sauté for 3-4 minutes, being very careful not to burn. Add a splash of water if necessary. I add up to a cup of water in increments to avoid any spices burning (the worst!).
Add 2 cups veg stock, lentils, tomatoes, coconut milk and 1 teaspoon salt. Bring to boil, reduce to simmer. Simmer until lentils are super tender, the liquid has reduced to a stew consistency and flavors have come together, about 40 minutes. Add chopped cilantro and lime in the last 5 minutes of simmering, plus salt to taste.
Add water or more stock, 1/4 cup at a time, if the liquid reduces too much too soon (but I didn’t need to do this).
Serve with grain of choice (brown rice, quinoa, etc.) and additional cilantro for garnish.
Instead of chopping cilantro, I like to use an immersion blender to blend the leaves with 1/2 cup of the finished stew. Then I add the blended portion back into the pot, stir to combine and enjoy!