My budget friendly Lentil Stew has a powerful punch of flavor and uses lentils in place of meat for a budget friendly mealtime solution.
For those of us who love dried legumes, lentils are the eighth wonder of the world. They are protein rich, inexpensive, hearty and filling, and extremely versatile when it comes to cooking. But what sets them apart from other members of the legume family is the game changer for me – cooking time. Those who are used to cooking other dried legumes are used to overnight soaking, day long cooking times, and lots of waiting around. Dried lentils are a true anomaly because they require no soaking and can be ready to eat in as little as 15 minutes. No, that is not a type-o. But before we get into the recipe, I want to offer special thanks to Ignite Social Media for inviting me to participate in the #LentilsForTheSoul campaign, sponsored by Lentils.org. I really appreciate their support of Southern Plate and am grateful for this special opportunity to bring my love of lentils to you! Although I have been compensated for my work in this post, all opinions are my own. Now let me show you more of why I love lentils and then I’ll share this quick, delicious, and budget friendly stew that even my picky eater enjoyed with zeal.
In addition to the nutritional benefits of lentils, they satisfy my Southern need for a “hot bowl of beans”. I like to put on a little chicken broth and cook me up a cup or so of them for a quick lunch. On cold days like today, they are one of my go to comfort foods.
Note: There are two primary types of lentils, whole green and split red. Either works fine in this recipe but I have to admit I’m partial to whole green. They will usually just be marked “lentils” in the grocery store and have a pale green color. Split Red lentils are usually marked as “split red”.
This meatless stew recipe is what I used to win my family over – and cut my grocery budget in the process.
I like to use a few shortcuts in this stew to make it come together in a flash. To begin with you’ll need whole green lentils, chicken broth, a bag of frozen vegetable mix (your choice but I like the “soup mix” that has okra in it), tomato paste, small onion, a little cayenne, a little paprika, and an envelope of Italian Dressing Mix for a burst of flavor.
Rinse your lentils with water and then place them in a medium sized stockpot and add chicken broth. (Entire recipe along with measurements is at the bottom of this post, as always). Place this over medium high heat and bring to a boil until lentils are tender, about 15-20 minutes.
Add all other ingredients and bring just to a boil again. Reduce heat and continue simmering, stirring from time to time, until veggies are tender and stew is thickened, about thirty minutes.
This stew is delicious on it’s own but even better with a side of thick, toasted and buttered bread. I usually make a double batch and freeze individual servings for protein packed lunches later. I hope you get to try out this recipe soon and if you aren’t already familiar with the convenience and flavor of lentils, make it a point to introduce yourself and your family!
- 1 cup whole green lentils
- 8 cups chicken broth
- 6 ounces tomato paste
- 12 ounce bag vegetable soup mix (try to get the one with okra in it)
- small onion, chopped
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- 1 ounce envelope Italian dressing mix
- Rinse lentils with water and place in a medium sized stock pot. Add broth and bring just to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until lentils are tender, about fifteen minutes.
- Add all other ingredients. Return to a boil, reduce heat again, and simmer until thickened, stirring from time to time.
Lentils have so many more uses than this! Visit Lentils.org for more great recipes and information.