Red Lentil Stew with Tomatoes, Rice, and Coconut

This wholesome and earthy stew was adapted from The First Mess‘ beautiful and delicious extra recipe bundle that is available when you pre-order Laura Wright’s cookbook (which is by far and away the most inspirational cookbook I’ve bought in a while). I primarily adapted this because I didn’t have all of the ingredients in the house that I thought I did and so….But this is how inspired and new recipes are created.  A little bit of this and that added to the pot.  Stir it up and try it out on your guinea pigs (not that I refer to my loved ones as that usually ;-).

I haven’t come across a recipe in a long time that requires dirtying so few dishes.  It honestly was one pot, one knife, a chopping board, a measuring cup and one or two measuring spoons.  Gluten-free, nut-free, no sugar.

Red Lentil Stew with Tomatoes, Rice, and Coconut

Ingredients

Serves 6

1 Tbsp grapeseed oil or olive oil

1 medium yellow onion, chopped

2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped

2 stalks celery, rinsed and chopped

2 tsp ground turmeric

2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced

1 tsp ground cumin

1/2 tsp dried chili or red pepper flakes

1/2 cup dried red lentils, rinsed

1/2 cup dried arborio rice, rinsed

1 x 15 oz can diced tomatoes (preferably no salt added)

1 x 15 oz can crushed tomatoes (or tomato sauce, which is what I used) – fire-roasted is suggested by Laura to be awesome

3 cups water

1 cup light coconut milk (or just over 1/2 a 15 oz can)

salt and pepper

1 Tbsp lemon juice

 

Directions

  1. Heat a large pot over medium heat with the oil.  As the pot heats, chop up the onion, carrots, and celery. Once the oil is hot, add the onion, carrot, and celery.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are soft, around 4-5 minutes.
  2. Once the onion is soft, add to the pot the turmeric and garlic. Stir to incorporate.
  3. Add the cumin and chili or red pepper flakes and stir. Let sit for 30 seconds as the spices become fragrant.
  4. Stir in the tomatoes and water.  Raise the heat and bring the contents to a boil, then lower heat, cover and let simmer for about 30 minutes.  Stir every 5 minutes or so to make sure the lentils and rice do not stick to the bottom of the pot.
  5. Once the lentils and rice are cooked, it is time to puree the stew.  This is optional, but pureeing at least part of the stew will lend a creaminess to it.  Ladle around half of the stew into a blender with the coconut milk and puree to desired consistency.  I like mine a bit chunkier.  Add back the pureed mixture to the pot, mix, and reheat.  Add in the lemon juice and stir.
  6. Season with salt and pepper.

See! So easy and so so delicious.  Until the next recipe….

Chai Coconut Tart

Sometimes I make food and it sucks.  Or I make it and I think ‘this is not what I was hoping it would taste like’ or even better ‘How the hell did it end up tasting like THIS, I didn’t even add curry?’.  One minor ingredient can be missing that you can’t quite put your finger on that you know would transform a dish.  It can be frustrating to say the least.  I’ve been known to make food and when it doesn’t come out right, put it in the fridge and muddle over what might be missing that could take it to the next level – for days.  I liken food to music.  You have the main chords – or food items- that you like to work with or put you in a certain mood, and then you have a huge range of options that add to those basic notes.  Do you want bright and happy?  How about a little basil.  Thinking romantic?  Add some sweetness.  Feeling sad?  Give me anything with carbohydrates!!

Food combinations are an opera but I don’t like singing every night.  That’s what happened with this little baby, the chai coconut tart.  I started by wanting to make chai coconut pudding.  When I first tried it the texture bothered me and the taste was missing something.  So I added more ingredients and blended it.  I still thought it was missing something and though about it for another day.  Eventually I realized that this pudding needed to be eaten WITH something else.  Enter the tart.  What kind of tart?  Yes, well this cycle is the never-ending quest of the cook.  Meddle, fix, eat, throw out, meddle, fix, eat tentatively, fix again, eat, and eventually voila!  Suddenly the picture in your mind becomes the food on your plate and your taste buds go crazy.

And then sometimes you just throw pasta in a pot, mix with some oil and vinegar and whatever else may or may not be handy and call it a day.

Chai Coconut Tart

Serves: 4

Ingredients

Pudding

1 14oz can coconut milk

2 chai teabags

2 Tbsp maple syrup

1 tsp vanilla

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice

1/4 cup chia seeds

up to 1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk

Crust

1 cup gluten free oats

1 cup dates

 

  1. Gently heat the coconut milk in a saucepan.
  2. Once warm, add syrup, spices, and salt.  Gently mix.  Remove from heat and add the teabags.  Let sit until desired chai-ness has been reached.
  3. Remove teabags and let cool.  Once room temperature whisk in chia seeds.  Put in fridge to set.
  4. Once set (around an hour or so) remove from fridge and add to a blender with almond milk and additional spices if you want more flavour.  Blend until smooth.  Put back in the fridge to set.
  5. Start the crust by adding oats and dates to a food processor and process until chunky and slightly sticky.  Press the oat/date mixture into a mold of your choice.  Place in freezer until serving.
  6. Before serving, remove the mold from the freezer and remove the shell from the mold. Add the pudding into the shells.
  7. Top with coconut cream and fresh mint, raspberries or whatever else you like!

Hearty Lentil Vegetable Soup

So fall has suddenly leaped into being and the trees are quickly dropping their leaves.  The air is brisk and change is in the air.

I’ve been away the last few weeks for work up North.  It is always great to get out of the office and experience  nature at its finest.  However, being away from home, eating differently than I’m used to (sometimes soup straight out of a can!), and working hard outside for 10 to 12 hours at a time can really zap your energy.  I ended up coming home feeling absolutely drained.  I didn’t have the energy to do anything I usually love to do.  Even cooking was a struggle.  So thank goodness after finishing this work week in the office, I have a long weekend to look forward to.  And what have I done to create some balance in my life?  I have slept like the dead.  For hours and hours.  It’s one of the crazy things about me.  I sleep more than is normal and need a lot of it to function.  I’m talking at least 9 hours a night.

What else have I done?  Forced myself in the cold mornings to make myself smoothies chalked full of healthy ingredients, like my favorite green smoothie.  I’ve started taking my multivitamin, calcium and magnesium, Vitamin D drops, maca, spirulina, ashwaganda, etc.  and I’m starting to feel more myself.  Today I sat down with some tea and a good book and just relaxed.  There is nothing better than letting your body and mind let go and have some down time.Relaxing with tea

And what better way to full myself for dinner than a delicious, filling, and heart-warming soup.

lentilvegetablesoup

Hearty Vegetable Lentil Soup

Serves 4

Ingredients:

1 Tbsp grapeseed oil

1 large yellow onion

4 cloves garlic, minced

3 medium carrots, peeled and chopped

2 medium celery stalks, chopped

1/2 red pepper, chopped

2 teaspoons ground cumin

1.5 teaspoons ground thyme

1 teaspoon ground turmeric

1 14-oz can diced tomatoes

3/4 cup dried green or brown lentils, rinsed

5 cups vegetable stock

2 handfuls spinach, torn apart

1 teaspoon white wine vinegar

salt and pepper for seasoning

  1. Heat oil on medium in a large pot.  Once hot, add the onions and saute around 5 minutes, until soft and partially translucent.  Add in garlic and saute another 30 seconds.
  2. Add to pot the carrots, celery, and pepper.  Saute another few minutes.
  3. Add cumin, thyme, and turmeric and mix together.
  4. Add the rinsed lentils, diced tomatoes and vegetable stock.  Bring to a low boil and then simmer for 20-25 minutes or until lentils are cooked.
  5. Add spinach and white wine vinegar.
  6. Season to taste.

This recipe is incredibly easy and goes well with crackers or toasted bread and hummus.  To make even more hearty add in peeled and chopped potatoes with the other veggies.

Enjoy!!