Sweet potato, spinach, and lentil stew

Lentils.  They are not a particularly sexy ingredient and I honestly don’t enjoy eating them that often.  But if they are cooked correctly or added to a soup or stew, they can actually be quite tasty and of course majorly contribute to the overall health and nutrition content of a dish.  If you are wary of lentils, this would be a great way to try them out for the first time.  There are other lovely colours in this meal from capsicum (that’s the Australian word for pepper my American friends), sweet potato, and zucchini, and the variety of vegetables along with the spice mixture makes for a dish that is filling and delicious with multiple textures and even more health benefits.

Not sold? Come on.  You can’t go wrong with the other ingredients, and the lentils add protein, fiber, and Vitamin B.  If you can’t find them or just think they are weird, you could make this soup with everything else in it and at the end add in a cup of cooked quinoa or cooked brown rice.  Give lentils a chance though – they may surprise you!

Sweet potato, spinach, and lentil stew (adapted from Dough Eyed Girls)

Ingredients

  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 2 cups low sodium chicken broth (or veggie broth)
  • 1 cup of dried green lentils
  • 1 large sweet potato, cut into small cubes
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 green or red capsicum (pepper), diced
  • 1.5 teaspoons cumin
  • 1.5 teaspoons tumeric (or if you have curry powder you can add in a little of that or use 1 tbsp curry powder in place of the cumin and tumeric)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 bag of spinach, with the stems removed where possible
  • 2 cups water (more or less, depending on if you want it soupier or stewier)
  • 1 small zucchini, quartered and diced
Saute onion in a small amount of olive oil or just put in a large pot coated with non-stick spray (add a splash of water if things start to stick). Add sweet potato, garlic, and curry powder after 3 minutes. Saute for about 5 more minutes, until everything is tender. Add can of tomatoes, lentils, broth, and a cup of the water.  Simmer on low heat for 30-45 minutes or until lentils are tender.  You don’t want to eat sort of uncooked lentils because they are gross, so taste to make sure!  Once the lentils are tender or almost tender, add the zucchini and red pepper and stir well.  Let it simmer for about 5-10 more minutes and  then add the spinach at the very end, stirring in thoroughly.  At this point either remove from heat or only keep on the heat for about 1-2 more minutes since the spinach will wilt fast. Voila, done!  One paragraph of description to a super healthy detox stew.

IMG_4952Sauteed onions with sweet potatoes and spices added

IMG_4953Adding the canned tomatoes, broth, and lentils

IMG_4954Starting to get cooked…
IMG_4955
Add zucchini and red pepper after the lentils and sweet potatoes are almost tender

IMG_4956At the very end add in spinach and only cook for a few more minutes before removing from heat and stirring well

This is definitely one of those meals where you feel quite virtuous eating it, as every ingredient is designed to boost your health in some way.  So it’s a great detox sort of meal when you want something that will fill you up but also be really healthy.  I’ve eaten it for both lunch and dinner as it is certainly filling enough for a bigger meal.  Feel free to play around with the vegetables – different colours of peppers, perhaps the addition of butternut squash or pumpkin or carrots, and kale instead of spinach!

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