Spice Up Dinner With This Red Lentil Stew

January 5, 2017
Warm. Hearty. Easy. And, yes, even healthy. This spiced red lentil dish packs all the warmth and comfort of a slow-cooked stew into a weeknight-friendly vegetarian meal.
Danielle DeSiato
Spice Up Dinner with this Red Lentil Stew | CRAVING BOSTON | WGBH

I tend to crave warm spices all winter long. From gingerbread cookies to braised short ribs — the more warm spices the better. But after the holidays, I find myself craving foods that are a little less...indulgent. Not less flavorful, mind you, just a little less heavy. And this stew really delivers! 

Even if you're not trying to be healthier in the new year, you'll still want to make this hearty spiced stew. It's packed with veggie goodness, but it's not boring or "light" in the least. Unlike regular brown or green lentils, red lentils are meant to break down when cooked, creating a thick, saucy stew. With warm, aromatic spices like garlic, ginger, and garam masala, you'll be salivating at the smell alone. It's also a very adaptable stew. Don't like cauliflower or peas? No problem! Swap them out for red bell pepper or carrots, or whatever you like and happen to have on hand. If you like a spicier stew, add more jalapeno (the one in the recipe doesn't add a ton of heat). 

If you happen to have leftovers, this stew is also great topped with a fried egg for breakfast or lunch the next day. Whatever you do, this stew will definitely warm up your winter! 

2 tablespoons olive or coconut oil
1 leek, cleaned, halved lengthwise, and thinly sliced
1 jalapeno, stemmed, seeded and minced
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger root
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons garam masala
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 cups vegetable broth
2 cups red lentils, rinsed
1/2 head of cauliflower, cut into 1-inch florets
1 cup peas ((fresh or frozen))
2 roma or vine-ripe tomatoes, chopped
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley or cilantro

This stew is also great served over rice or quinoa for an even heartier meal. 


1. Heat oil in large saucepan over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add leeks and cook until softened and translucent. Add jalapeno, ginger, and garlic, and cook until jalapeno is softened, about 2 minutes. Add garam masala, turmeric, and salt, and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Slowly stir in vegetable broth, scraping up brown bit from bottom of pot, and bring to simmer. 

2. Add lentils, return to a simmer, cover, reduce heat to low and let simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in cauliflower and cook, covered, until florets are tender, 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. 

3. Stir in peas and tomato and cook until just warmed through. Season with salt and pepper to taste, stir in parsley, and serve.